The news media gets more online hits, higher ratings, etc. when it sells fear.
So we get news stories, like those documented by Sarah Kendzior, that “link,” without evidence, alleged perpetrators to shadowy networks of enemies: waiting might make it clear no such tie exists, so they pounce on it right away, especially when xenophobia makes it easier.
Elected representatives in a democracy worry about being blamed for violence committed against their constituents, and demonize those who commit such attacks by also tying them to shadowy networks.
The Symbionese National Liberation Army
Many of them succumb to the temptation to undermine the rule of law, which exists in no small part to protect the innocent from state persecution, by calling for the suspension of rights because we are “at war,” national security is at risk, etc.
Candidate Obama ran against George Bush’s use of the enemy combatant designation and enhanced interrogation, arguing that these undermined American legal practice and were a threat to US security.
As President, Obama has failed to close Guantanamo, thus sustaining the Bush Adminstration’s practice of the enemy combatant designation.
I leave you with John Adams, speaking as the defense attorney for British Troops (enemy combatants?) at their trial for the Boston Massacre:
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.
But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.