Coast Guard Nazi Going To Prison. For The Mass-Murder Planning, Not The Racism.
White supremacist Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, 50, was sentenced on Friday to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty in October to four federal weapons charges.
Hasson was arrested in February of last year after authorities found a massive cache of guns and other weapons in the former Marine's home, along with various other materials detailing his plans to commit a massive domestic terrorist attack against American citizens— but primarily against journalists, commentators and Democratic legislators, whom he listed on an Excel spreadsheet. These targets included Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Angela Davis, Van Jones, Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, and the entire DSA.
"Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads," Hasson wrote in an email found in his drafts folder. "Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world."
In his writings and letters to various white supremacist thought leaders, Hasson detailed his dream of using "forced violence" to create a "white homeland," believing that protests and demonstrations like Charlottesville were just not going to successfully convince anyone to turn the United States into a white ethnostate.
It is because of these plans that federal prosecutors sought to send Hasson away for 25 years. During the hearing, they detailed the various horrible, racist, and violent writings officers found in his home, his obsession with Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Breivek, the steroids and opioids he was hoarding that he believed would help him "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
Ahead of sentencing, Hasson told US District Court Judge George Hazel — a graduate of the historically black Morehouse College — that he was embarrassed by his racist beliefs, claiming, "I have never hurt anyone in my life and I was not planning to in any way, shape or form," and saying that although he was not "magically cured" of being a huge racist, he was working with religious leaders to overcome that.
Hasson's public defender, Liz Oyer, argued that as appalling as his private thoughts are, he cannot be legally incarcerated for having them, and that despite these thoughts, he manages to be pleasant to Black people when he encounters them in real life.
Via Huffington Post:
"We cannot incarcerate people for their private thoughts," Oyer argued. She said that if white Americans had their private thoughts evaluated, we'd find a "terrifying number of closet racists," but that the Constitution gives Americans the right to hold condemnable views.
She also said that Hasson didn't treat anyone unfairly despite his views, and that she'd seen him "joking and laughing" with corrections officers ― "most of whom are Black" ― at the Maryland facility where he's being held.
A witness for the defense, Dr. Stephen Hart, said that he conducted a violence risk assessment on Hasson and declared him to be not only a low risk, but described him as a "civil and polite person" with rational and clear-headed thoughts. About mass murdering people.
While no, we should not be incarcerating people for their private thoughts, one does have to question what kind of violence risk assessment deems someone with an Excel sheet of politicians and journalists he wants to murder to be either rational or clear-headed. Civil and polite, sure — look at Ted Bundy — but rational and clear-headed? I don't think so.
Judge Hazel said he was not sentencing Hasson to prison because he's a racist, or impolite to corrections officers, but because of the actual danger he posed:
"He is not being sentenced for his views," Hazel said. "He is being sentenced for the actions I feel he was planning to take."
Hazel said the racist beliefs that Hasson expressed are "deeply embedded" in American history, referencing 1619 ― the year that Africans arrived in Virginia.
"Mr. Hasson is just one leaf that has fallen from that tree," Hazel said.
He's not wrong.
And unfortunately, judging by the large population of Aryan Nations members in prisons across the United States, it is pretty unlikely that Hasson is going to come out of these 13 years any less racist than he is now. That's probably not something that is going to change in prison. But he's not going to prison for racism. Really, the best anyone can hope for is that when he gets out, he no longer thinks mass murder is a great idea.
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