4/00 Lessons Elian Can Teach Us

Lessons Elian Can Teach Us
Larry Pratt

The continuing saga of Elian Gonzalez’s perilous pilgrimage to freedom has already produced a number of important lessons.

Hopefully Elian can teach us about the rule of law. Certainly it sticks in the throat when President Clinton, a convicted perjurer and obstructer of justice lectures the country about the rule of law.

The Florida family courts have all along been the proper place to determine legal custody of a boy whose mother died bringing him to freedom. It would be relevant in such a court to point out that Elian’s father has no parental rights because all such rights belong to the Cuban totalitarian state resting on the systematic murder of tens of thousands of people.

Evidence could have been entered that Mr. Gonzalez would have no more control over the education, religion or disposition of Elian than a slave father on a Georgia plantation in 1835.

Instead, Attorney General Janet Reno has sent troops she personally controls — agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service — on a raid using a fraudulent warrant. All during this time negotiations between the government and the Gonzalez family were under way.

Of perhaps the greatest concern was the unwillingness of Miami Police Chief William O’Brien to reveal his advance knowledge of the raid from Mayor Joe Carollo. In fact, assistant chief John Brooks went on the raid to order the street cops to let the agents through police lines.

Brooks’ explanation is hauntingly similar for those who recall the Nazi defense after World War II: “I had a job to do. I did it in the most professional way I could.” Brooks added, “This was a police issue, not a political issue.”

No doubt Mr. Brooks would also have us believe another episode in the raid was just a police issue. A justification for the paramilitary style storming of the Gonzalez house was that one of the Gonzalez friends was known to have a concealed carry permit. Mario Blas Miranda earlier told the cops that he has such a permit. Mr. Miranda is a private investigator and a former police officer. To handle this dangerous man during the raid he was knocked to the ground, forced spread eagle and doused with pepper spray while a shotgun was put to his ear. Agents never even bothered to search Miranda for his gun.

Hopefully the people of Miami will not rest until Chief O’Brien and Assistant Chief Brooks are fired.

Hopefully also, all Americans will not rest until we rein in and fire federal officials that abuse their authority.