It’s weird how the year’s weirdest news story – and its sparse coverage – are getting weirder and weirder.
Let’s recap the facts so far:
- Five adults arrested in a compound in New Mexico, accused of training children to become school shooters.
- Large number of weapons recovered.
- Eleven malnourished and neglected children rescued.
- The body of a 3-year old who apparently died during an “exorcism” ceremony also found.
- Among the arrested are the son and two daughters of a New York imam who is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. and also happens to be Linda Sarsour’s mentor.
- Imam’s son’s wife is an illegal immigrant 20 years in the United States.
Then it gets really strange
- The judge releases all five on bail because the authorities “had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that the claims of school shooting training was valid, or that the group was a danger to the community.”
- The authorities bulldoze the compound, which is a crime scene and clearly figures in an ongoing court case.
Now there is this in the state’s motion for the court to reconsider the bail for the accused:
Meanwhile, CNN, keen to prove it is still the premier news organisation and not a fake news propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, discovers a brand new angle on the terrorist camp in the desert:
Poor people! They struggled. Coincidentally, I’m pretty sure that no one at CNN has picked up the double irony of their own coverage, since struggle in Arabic, as most of my readers by contrast would know, is jihad.
Individuals from society’s periphery have long sought refuge in this part of the state, where cheap land far from the nearest power line or shopping center is easy to find. The region’s history of welcoming outsiders has contributed to cross-cultural exchanges and a tolerant attitude that locals consider points of pride. Many are quick to distance the state’s countercultural vibe from the compound and its inhabitants, who are accused of training the children to commit mass shootings. But they also fear that the publicity around a case infused with allegations of terrorism, child abuse and faith healing might contribute to a rise in racism and Islamophobia.
I don’t know about the “many”, but I would probably be more worried that my neighbours were mistreating children and training them to become terrorists to shoot up hospitals and schools rather than about the spectre of racist and Islamophobic backlash. But clearly I’m not sufficiently “from society’s periphery” to understand.
“People come here and they want to be left alone and sometimes they do things that are unconventional,” said Malaquias “JR” Rael, whose family arrived in the Taos region in the mid-1800s. Newcomers are drawn to the area for its proximity to nature, breathtaking views and simple way of life, he says. Other families like his — predominantly Hispanos — have been here for generations.“It can be difficult to be alarmed or judgmental, because people have been doing this kind of stuff for a long time.”
It appears to have been a life that the family on the compound struggled with. Authorities say a break in the case came when a member of the compound sent a note to a friend saying they were starving. Defense lawyers have argued that their clients are being judged based on their skin color instead of their lifestyle, and that if were white Christians, more people would be defending their First and Second Amendment rights.