From the Left



Heartland terrorists want Trump fans on their jury

By Mary Sanchez, Tribune Content Agency on

That explains why the defense motion also refers to "a political difference between the two parties also extends to their respective ideologies regarding the appropriate size and power of the federal government and the individual rights of its citizens."

"Additionally, this case will require the jury to evaluate and weigh evidence regarding whether the alleged conduct constitutes the crimes charged or whether it was constitutionality protected speech, assembly and petition, and/or the right to bear arms," the motion added.

What nonsense. These violent extremists and their lawyers are essentially substantiating Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" conceit during the 2016 presidential campaign. When Clinton used the term to describe certain Trump supporters, there was outrage that this liberal elitist would dare disparage salt-of-the-earth conservatives. Now we're supposed to believe that one man's bloodletting is another man's exercise of his constitutional rights.

Don't see the distinction? Well, you must be one of those elitists who think Trump voters are deplorable. The argument is absurd, but the calculation is transparent. The defense team clearly hopes to find jurors so irredeemably bigoted against Muslims that they will hang the jury

For argument's sake, let's assume they win their point with the court and the jury is pulled from both the area of Wichita and from Dodge City.

Yes, many people in western Kansas voted for Trump, disregarding his flagrantly conspiratorial, sexist and outright daft thinking. But they've also lived among many Vietnamese, Mexicans and now Somalis in that portion of the state for decades. It's a remarkably dynamic area, partly due to the need for workers in the meatpacking industry.

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This trial will surely be sensational. But it also proves the more modest point that words do matter -- not in the sense that Trump can be held accountable for what these despicable men plotted but rather in the sense that sick people look for inspiration. The vile invective that Trump unleashed during his campaign spoke to many people who merely enjoyed the false bravado -- sane people who would never harm another in violence.

But it also spoke to people like these three -- men so disassociated from any sense of humanity that mass murder was appealing, even called for.

There's a lesson here that is bigger than the courtroom where it will be heard


(Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via e-mail at



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