News & Politics

White Militiamen Who Planned Kansas Terror Plot Try the 'Knucklehead' Defense

(Image via Sedgwick County Sheriff)

The attorney for three Kansas men charged with planning to murder Muslims is shaping his defense around the fact that the three men are “knuckleheads.”

Racism is inherently stupid, I get that. Islamophobia is inherently stupid, too. Thinking you can get away with planning a terrorist plot that involves murdering immigrants and get away with it is also stupid. There’s no denying that the three defendants are “knuckleheads.” But they’re also knuckleheads who are charged with felonies.

HuffPost, the only media outlet at the trial, reports:

Patrick Stein, Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright are currently on trial in Wichita, charged in a plot to use bombs to kill Somali immigrants living in an apartment complex in Garden City around the time of the 2016 election. The prosecution rested on Monday following testimony from an FBI informant as well as an undercover officer who posed as an arms dealer and extensively interacted with Stein about his plot to blow up a Muslim community.

[…]

During cross-examination, Rich Federico, a federal public defender representing Allen, asked why the FBI didn’t inform the local police department about the domestic terror plot, so that local officers could knock on the plotters’ doors and, essentially, tell them to cut it out.

The comment from Federico, who has represented detainees in Guantanamo, illustrates an ongoing theme ― that the three men, swindled by fake news about Muslims, had merely engaged in hateful locker room talk. Defense attorneys have argued that the plot never would have moved forward without the federal government’s involvement.

Pushing back on the “knucklehead” theme, the prosecutor asked the undercover agent:

“Have you ever heard of law enforcement responding to a plot to commit mass murder by going to the person’s house and knocking on the door and saying ‘Hey knucklehead, knock it off’?” Berkower asked Brian. He hadn’t.

“Have you ever heard of a law enforcement officer responding to a plot to blow up a building by saying ‘Hey knucklehead, knock it off’?” He hadn’t.

When Stein discussed plans to use a fertilizer bomb to level an apartment complex, did Brian consider him a mere knucklehead? He did not.

Look, I won’t argue with their lawyer; yes, those three men are most likely idiots. However, I would like to add that their lawyer might be a “knucklehead” himself if he believes that the “idiot defense” will work.

Being stupid and not knowing right from wrong are two separate things. Even if the lawyer is able to prove the three men’s idiocy, which I don’t believe will be hard to prove, the three idiots are still terrorists that are responsible for plotting to murder people. Undoubtedly, upon the pronouncement of the verdict, these three idiots and their idiot lawyer will learn that truth.