In what can only be described as a massive overreaction, a West Virginia man, William Everett Alemar, was arrested and charged with terrorism. His crime? Working out while wearing his military kit (kit being the gear one would typically have to carry on a mission). Apparently, West Virginia’s law enforcement is completely ignorant of the fact that literally thousands of Americans every day work out and train in the military kit. Even NROTC students from universities in Washington, D.C. can be seen early in the mornings running in their camouflage field uniforms with packs, vests, and yes…even rubber rifles past the White House. This is not confined to D.C., but Arlington and many other suburban Virginia localities also can witness this physical training ritual our troops and contractors, especially our Reserve and National Guard forces, perform daily to stay ready to defend our nation.
Risking a Keystone Cops stereotype based on some background knowledge of the area, it is safe to say that Martinsburg’s finest are not your crack law enforcement outfit. [Disclaimer, the people of WV are awesome and it is truly a wonderful state. Further, there is a vast professional difference between the highly trained and respected WV State Troopers and Martinsburg PD. We expect the people of WV are as outraged as we are about this case.] This much should be obvious. Supporting this assessment is the fact that Mr. Alemar was training with a fake plastic rifle with a bright red plastic tip, empty magazines with no live ammo, and doing nothing but running in public. The cops then trumped-up the charges saying he was “close to a school” and added an obscure charge for wearing a bullet proof vest with plates. This is the whole point of training with your kit on! You need to train with the extra weight so you can physically adjust to the stresses of the weight, primarily added by the ballistic plates.
Most importantly, Mr. Alemar didn’t commit a crime, but is sitting in a jail cell. His “egregious” offense was startling some people. Unless the government has included toy guns in a secret version of the Brady Bill or prohibited wearing camouflage, we are at a loss for how this equates to terrorism. West Virginia allows open carry and concealed carry of real firearms and has no law about prohibiting the purchase, ownership, or wear of body armor most likely issued by the U.S. government. Perhaps he would have not raised alarms if he had run in RealTree camouflage vice his military issued desert pattern uniform. God help the next soldier that goes to pick up his child from school in his camouflage uniform after work. Martinsburg PD probably would have shot him. Still though, even after questioning, common sense refused to prevail. The cops then charged him with the nebulous catch-all charge of “terrorism.” Considering his actions were limited to running with camouflage, it is mind-boggling to try and put this young man in the category of someone that straps a bomb to their chest or flies an airplane full of innocent people into a building!
In a normal world where common sense of the totality of the obvious prevails, a simple, “hey, what are you doing” by the responding officer would have sufficed to deal with the situation. After all, what threat is a guy weighed down by 40 pounds of gear carrying a toy gun and no ammo to anyone? Well, that isn’t what happened. The cops took him down at gunpoint. Even that might be excusable, but then they actually arrested him and swore out and executed search warrants on his residence finding nothing but a handgun, which in the United States is still completely legal to own. The only part of this we can give some credit to WV…and we are stretching…is the fact that they at least got warrants and that the are clearly not okay with military in the streets. However, the grounds were so bogus, the magistrate should have never granted them so we are still dealing with a sum negative. We can only imagine the officers sworn statement to the magistrate…”yepper, we got ourselves one of dem real live Osamas right down yonder.”
The charging of Mr. Alemar as a terrorist is further proof how far this nation has gone past sensible security measures and demonstrates the level of incompetency of at least some law enforcement. More disturbing is the manner in which “terrorism” is being applied. Now, a man that has violated no laws aside from shocking the senses can be arrested, detained, and have his house turned upside down. The only act of terrorism apparent here is state sponsored. Please pass this article on to everyone you know and ask that they do the same so that Mr. Alemar’s unconstitutional detention is exposed. He will certainly need good legal counsel.