Judge Set To Release Coast Guard Terrorist, Crosses Fingers No One Dies Before Trial
Christopher Hasson is a former Coast Guardsman and current maniac. He stands accused of stockpiling weapons and assembling a hit list of prominent Democrats and journalists. Prosecutors said Hasson intended "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country." But that's just their opinion. Hasson himself admits to wanting to commit "forced violence" to create a "white homeland." He could've just moved to Oregon and not kill anyone. We tend to think Hasson should stay in jail, far removed from anything that goes "boom," until his trial. However, a federal judge with limited judgment ruled Tuesday that Hasson can be released under the "strict supervision" of one of his in-laws. We presume that means there'll be at least a really strict curfew or something.
Judge Charles Day had given prosecutors two weeks to come up with "more serious charges" (huh?) or he'd consider the defense's motion to release Hasson. Day isn't a total fool. He has a "lengthy list of conditions" for Hasson's release. The government has an opportunity to appeal, but if that's rejected, Hasson could be free in a week. This is a very bad idea.
So you know what we're dealing with here, this is an excerpt from one of Hasson's seriously deranged Notes from the Underground emails:
"I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth... I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed/ Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something."
"Thank God for the rain..." He addressed the email to "friends... acquaintances most likely," which is probably a fairer description of people you're fantasizing about murdering. He also wrote a letter to himself that reads like a draft dating profile for OKNazi:
"I am a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military."
Jesus, they're releasing this guy? We're all for cash-free bail but damn. Have they seen the episodes of classic Law & Order where the dishonorable Judge Dumbass lets Serial Killer McGee out on bail and he immediately kills everyone? Yes, Dick Wolf was conditioning us to believe due process was for suckers, but this kind of proves his point.
Hasson is an attempted domestic terrorist. He's also such a criminal mastermind that he stored his target hit list on his work computer. Stupid people however can still pose a serious threat, as the current occupant of the White House demonstrates daily. Prosecutors believe Hasson was inspired by the manifesto of white supremacist Anders Breivik and planned to murder "political leaders, media leaders, cultural leaders, and industry leaders." He'd listed his targets, misspelling most of their names, in an Excel for Killers spreadsheet. They include Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Nancy Pelosi, and "Poca Warren" (thanks, Trump). Don't worry, though. Someone related to Hasson by marriage is keeping him under close watch.
Prosecutors might have dropped the ball by presuming it was going to be easy to prove a white guy was a terrorist. Authorities discovered 15 guns, including seven rifles, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at Hasson's basement apartment. That might all scream "crazy pants" to us coastal elites, but Liz Oyer, Hasson's public defender, argued that Hasson's arsenal wasn't unusual for North Carolina, where Hasson used to live. C'mon, guys, respect cultural differences.
Even if they can't pin terrorism charges on him, surely there's enough straight-up crazy to keep Hasson in custody. Apparently not: Judge Day admitted the allegations against Hasson made him "very nervous, but I don't think it justifies detention." This might be news to the people (mostly minorities) rotting in prison on drug charges while waiting for their trials. Possession of controlled substances was just the opening act of Hasson's offenses. That still wasn't enough to keep him far away from all the people he wants to murder.
Hasson had conducted Internet searches for the terms "what if trump illegally impeached" and "civil war if trump is impeached." Maybe his in-laws will only let Hasson watch Petticoat Junction reruns, but it seems like the outside world will quickly trigger him. Oh, and the Coast Guard says Hasson, an admitted white nationalist, is still on active duty until his case is resolved. We probably also need to have a long talk with the Coast Guard.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).