The Republicans are out in the weeds here in Colorado. Democrats hold the majority in the state legislature, both Senators are Democrats, our governor is a Democrat and five out of seven House members are Dems. Yet, shockingly (not) the GOP still think their words and actions have power. The Colorado Repubs have delegated themselves to being our concern trolls and are basically making themselves look like asshats.
On Wednesday, President Obama ordered the Pentagon to shut down the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within one year's time. Naturally, one of the first reactions concerns what to do with the prisoners that have committed actual crimes and need to be prosecuted. Several prisons and military bases have been mentioned as possible solutions, including one in my state: Supermax or ADX.
Officially known as United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility, Supermax or ADX is the official federal super-maximum prison in the United States. While the prison has never had an escapee and is considered one of the most high tech and safest prison's in the nation, Supermax is not without problems. Most of the problems are directly related to underfunding and short staffing.
Housed at ADX are prisoners deemed to be the worst of the worst. Former and current ADX inmates include:
Omar Abdel-Rahman: the "Blind-Sheik", involved in the 1993 WTC bombings
Theodore Kaczynski: the "Unabomber"
Timothy McVeigh: the Oklahoma City bombing
Eric Robert Rudolph: 1996 Olympic Park bomber
Zacarias Moussaoui: 9-11 conspirator
Video from "Supermax: A Clean Version of Hell"
In the days since the Gitmo announcement, several parties in Colorado have come out in support of housing Gitmo detainees at Supermax. Democrat Governor Bill Ritter does not object to the idea.
Ritter wouldn't oppose transferring the Guantanamo Bay detainees to Supermax because it was built for just that type of high-risk inmate, Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said today.
Bat Hall, mayor of Florence, Colorado where ADX is located agrees.
"There's probably not a more secure place in the nation," said Hall.
The Colorado Veterans Alliance, the largest post-September 11 veterans and military group in the state, has thrown their support behind Ritter.
As expected the Republicans, champions of NIMBY, are all over this one.
U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, R-Colo., denounced the idea. ADX is located in Lamborn's district, Colorado's fifth Congressional district.
Lamborn told 9News he worries about "liberal judges" freeing terror suspects on technicalities. He said he also worries about the terrorism suspects spreading their ideas to other inmates.
Yes, Doug. Please worry about those scary "liberal judges". You know, we wouldn't want to give anyone a fair trial or anything. It's not as if the United States of America has laws that this nation was founded on. And the world certainly doesn't have treaties we must abide by. Pfffffttttt.
State Republican lawmakers are circulating a petition (similar to a strongly worded letter?) crying about the transfer of the prisoners to Supermax.
Led by the GOP's Sen. Ken Kester, of Las Animas, and Rep. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, the legislators gathered signatures on a petition circulated among colleagues in the General Assembly --both Democrats and Republicans--to protest Ritter's willingness to offer Colorado's Supermax prison as a place to house some of the world's most hardened terrorists.
"It makes us a target," Gardner said. "If Gov. Ritter has his way, there will be a pipeline of terrorism from Kabul to Colorado."
A pipeline of terror from Kabul to Colorado? OH NOEZZZZZZZZZ!!!!
Democrat State Rep Buffie McFadyen, who's district includes Supermax is apprehensive about using the prison for Gitmo detainees, however Rep McFadyen has long been a champion for the prison workers in her district.
Supermax would need more staff and perhaps even a new detention center to house the Guantanamo prisoners, she said.
A valid concern and one that will need to be addressed before the prisoners can be sent to any of the proposed locations.
State Senate Minority leader Josh Penry (R- my state rep) also has concerns.
"I was taken aback by the suggestion that somehow Colorado would be eager to host what amounts to the worst of the worst," said Penry.
Hey Josh, do me a favor a click on this little link. We already have "the worst of the worst" here. Learn some damn current state events.
"I hope the Governor won't do the new President a favor at the expense of the people of the state," said Penry.
"There's a reason we have a remote location to store the really bad people in this world," said Penry.
A remote location to store really bad people? Rep Penry, the United States of America does not "store" anyone. We apprehend people suspected of committing crimes, try them in a court of law using the rules of our judicial system and either convict them or release them based on evidence. When and if someone is convicted, they are sentenced and serve their sentences in the appropriate facilities.
And really, wherever the prisoners go; so will go some federal dollars. An increased number of high-profile prisoners will mean an increase in the number of staff needed for the facility. Are the Colorado Republicans against bringing more jobs to the state? Since these jobs would most likely be union ones, my vote is yes.
Speaking of really bad people stored in a remote location, hopefully one day we can right some damn wrongs in this country and send the Republicans to Gitmo. That is the only use of the prisons at Guantanamo Bay that I fully support.