So I saw this in the Chron this morning, and I got to thinking…
Last Wednesday’s decision by the International Court of Justice, the World Court, ordering the stay of the executions of several Mexican inmates in Texas, pending review and reconsideration of their convictions, was the right thing to do. Before Gov. Rick Perry rejects this decision out of hand, he would do well to consider how defiance of the World Court ruling will affect the safety of Americans abroad who rely on the same treaty protections that Texas violated in these cases. Gov. Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles should concur with the World Court and order a reprieve of the executions until those convictions are reviewed and reconsidered.
American officials can provide a number of services for Americans in trouble to assure proper and fair treatment. And on countless occasions, U.S. consular officials have interceded with foreign authorities to protect the rights of wrongly detained Americans. But in order to secure this access for Americans traveling abroad, the United States had to ensure that it would provide access for foreigners in the United States. This is what it did in signing and ratifying the treaty.
Our good faith goes a long way in securing the good faith of other nations. This is not a capitulation of sovereignty, as has been suggested by agenda-pushing commentators. Indeed, it is the ultimate exercise of sovereignty for the United States to accept treaty obligations which will benefit Americans abroad.
I can almost understand their point, but for the severity of the crime that Jose Medellin participated in. It just seems outrageously simple to me, but then perhaps that’s because I am not a politician — if you don’t wanna pay the ultimate penalty, don’t commit the ultimate crime. I’d argue that the same principle applies to American citizens in foreign lands as well — if they stay out of trouble then they really shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Which is more or less what this guy said, with this great closer:
…especially for Mexico: when you accept our Second Amendment as a valid defense for being in possession of a gun in Mexico, we’ll (maybe) listen to you about the death penalty….
A-yep. Speaking of Second Amendment rights being infringed upon…yeah, it’s bad enough that it happens, but what about when it happens due to an honest mistake? Reading this op-ed piece this morning, I was reminded of the fate of onetime Southeast Texas FFL holder Thomas Lamar Bean…
Bean, 62, was a licensed gun dealer, who had never been in trouble with the law except for a few minor traffic violations. Those who know Bean say he is an upstanding citizen of Orange County, Texas.
On March 12, 1998, Bean attended a gun show in Laredo. After the show, he decided to have dinner across the border, in Mexico. Prior to entering Mexico, Bean emptied his Suburban of all firearms except on the backseat Bean had forgotten to remove a box that contained 200 rounds of ammunition.
Bean was stopped at the border crossing of Nuevo Laredo, Tamulipas, Mexico. Mexican authorities saw on the backseat, in plain view, the ammunition box.
Bean was arrested for importing the ammunition into Mexico. Just nine weeks later, on May 27, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in a Mexican prison. In all, he was incarcerated in Mexico for approximately five months before being released to the custody of the United States under the International Prisoner Transfer Treaty. He spent another month in La Tuna Penitentiary, a federal prison in Anthony, Texas, before his nightmare ended on Oct. 21, when he was released from prison under supervision.
After Bean was released from prison, he took action to get his FFL and 2A rights restored. However, as the story states, in 1992 Congress prohibited the ATF from using funds appropriated to it to even investigate applications for relief. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which basically ruled that inaction by the ATF on Bean’s application did not equate to a denial of Bean’s application, therefore there was effectively nothing for the court to reverse.
The long and short of all that is this: Thomas Bean served time in prison and was stripped of his God-given right of self-defense, protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, for an honest mistake. (Unlike, of course, this piece of shit Medellin, who made a conscious decision to do what he did.) And through a loophole effectively passed by the United States Congress, there’s absolutely nothing Mr. Bean can do about it. Yet as far as I’ve seen, absolutely no one has stood up for him. Why don’t Ellis, Jackson and their ilk push for justice for those like Mr. Bean?