Lon Horiuchi's tax-paid attorneys, having maneuvered state manslaughter charges against their client into federal court, now claim the supremacy clause of the Constitution makes all federal employees exempt from all state law, as long as the employees are acting "in the line of duty." The supremacy clause states:
"This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof...shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
To anyone but a lawyer this merely means that when a state law conflicts with (constitutional) federal law, the federal law will prevail. Idaho's manslaughter laws don't conflict with any federal statutes.
Charles Curley, gun-rights activist and legal buff, points out that the lawyers' bold move is actually covered in another section of the Constitution -- and not covered in their favor. This section reads:
"No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States."
A title of nobility isn't just an honorific such as "Sir" or "Lord." The essence of nobility is creation a separate class with innate privileges -- private laws -- of its own. "Laws" that say federal employees have to obey no one and nothing outside their own class clearly enshrine and protect an American nobility.
Federal employees have already assumed privileged status by default. If Horiuchi's government attorneys succeed in making their private law official, then we might as well bow down and call Horiuchi what they will have made him: our Lord and Master.
In the line of duty
In the line of duty is another interesting claim. Horiuchi is immune from state prosecution, his lawyers say, because he was acting in the line of duty. This argument got his case transferred to federal court in the first place.
Now, let's see. At Ruby Ridge, in 1992, Horiuchi was ordered to shoot any armed male on sight, whether or not that person was endangering anyone. It's an illegal order, as any schoolchild should know. And it's a highly unorthodox order, as any professional sniper would certainly know.
Since the claim, "I vass only following orders!" was demolished at Nuremberg, Horiuchi had both a moral and legal duty to refuse any such order. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.
What did he do next? While nearly a dozen other snipers held their fire, Horiuchi elected to make two shots. He fired the second one into a house full of children -- an absolutely verboten procedure. He fired it through a window in a door. His own debriefing sketch shows he knew there were at least two people on the other side of that window.
In other words, he disregarded "duty," "orders" or anything else, and simply decided that anyone in that house was a fair target for his sharpshooting.
So, was he operating "in the line of duty" when he decided to kill Vicki Weaver?
You be the judge. But it might help to look at some similar, hypothetical situations.
Let's say you were being audited and, in the course of examining your receipts, the IRS auditor found evidence you were having an affair. He blackmails you.
Line of duty?
Well, he found the evidence in the course of an audit, didn't he? And as long as his blackmail was done on IRS time and in the IRS office, by the standard applied by Horiuchi's lawyers, he would be operating "in the line of duty."
Let's say BATF agents came to your house in the course of an investigation. One of the agents decided to lift your really cool AR-15 for her personal collection. But she's still operating in the line of duty, isn't she? I mean, she was sent to your house to take your guns and that's what she did. So what if, like Horiuchi, she decided to give a slight personal interpretation to her orders?
Line of duty? Sure, why not!
And now you're in federal prison and a guard decides to, say, sodomize you with a toilet plunger. Hey, as long as that old guard is on duty, in uniform, and committing his sodomy in the name of keeping order, I guess that would be line of duty.
At least by government lawyer standards.
Here's an idea: plead guilty
This has gone on too long, and the potential damage to freedom from these lawyer tactics is too great. One person has the ability to end this travesty right now: Lon Horiuchi himself.
A syndicated columnist wrote, several years ago, that his friend Lon Horiuchi was being misjudged. He said Horiuchi was not the ice-blooded monster he was reputed to be, but was, in fact, more like Randy Weaver than like Janet Reno -- a religious and political conservative who homeschooled his children as a matter of principle.
I don't know Horiuchi, but I don't see any reason to disbelieve the columnist, who does know him.
So, okay, Lon, if you're such a principled and religious fellow, why don't you just do the right thing?
Five and a half years ago, you pointed a high-powered, scoped rifle through a window and calmly (by your own description) pulled the trigger. The .308 bullet plunged through Vicki Weaver's right cheek, pulverized her teeth, severed her tongue, and exited through the left side of her neck, ripping out her carotid artery, leaving a three-inch exit wound, and just missing the tiny skull of 10-month old Elisheba Weaver. Bullet and skull fragments bore into Kevin Harris, causing lifelong pain and disability.
And for this bloody deed, a county prosecutor finally, after five years of indecision, got up just barely enough courage to slap your wrist with an involuntary manslaughter charge. That's the charge brought when one drunken buddy stupidly, but unintentionally, runs over another with his pickup truck in the parking lot of a bar. It's not the charge brought when one decides to go sniping through the windows of houses. You should kiss the ground that kindly prosecutor walks upon.
And instead you're maneuvering to duck the charge, even if the cost is what's left of the U.S. Constitution.
Why? If you're such a good guy...if you believe in the same god Vicki Weaver did...if you believe it's wrong to shoot nursing mothers...why don't you just plead guilty, pay for your crime, atone for your sin, and vow to do better in the future? Why, if you are such an alleged "principled conservative" would you allow your lawyers to use the most Constitution-twisting tactics -- to hell with the law, to hell with the country, to hell with freedom, as long as your little ass gets saved from even a day in jail or a month of probation?
Why not plead guilty and get it over with? Is it because you believe it was okay to do what you did? Because you're scared to go to prison, like any other murderer?
Or is it that your true god is the federal government, and you believe yourself anointed to smite anyone who refuses to bow to it? Is it because you operate under a "higher law" -- a private law, Lord Horiuchi?
(c) 1998 by Claire Wolfe. Permission to reprint for non-commercial purposes freely granted, provided that the article is reprinted in full and accompanied by this copyright statement.