Main Menu

Letter to the Editor: Accessory in Chief

Rally | Politician | Politics

Tampa Bay Reporter does not take editorial positions; however, we welcome debate and publish opinions from others. (Guest opinions and letters may or may not reflect those of Tampa Bay Reporter.) Today, letter writer Thomas McGowan, a St. Petersburg attorney, says public officials should be held accountable for the effects of their words.


It’s always a good thing when our public officials go the extra mile to make their views known on important issues of the day.

Recently, our own [Pinellas County Sheriff] Bob Gualtieri stepped up to aid efforts by the state of Florida to assist ICE’s work to end the “scourge” of sanctuary cities, by figuring out a way to accomplish it for less time and money than Tallahassee ever imagined. Naturally, some bleeding-heart ACLU types whined that the whole idea violated due process of law, no doubt hoping they’d get some lily-livered Obama judge to hear them out.

Similarly, when [Speaker of the U.S. House] Nancy Pelosi permitted a Muslim cleric to lead the House of Representatives in prayer earlier this year, New York Congressman Lee Zeldin went out of his way to tell the press that the speaker had given aid and comfort to an anti-Israel hate monger who incited violence and whose presence in our Capitol was the result of Pelosi’s failure to do her homework on what he stood for; or worse, her decision to allow him to open a session with an Islamic prayer was made after he’d been vetted.

In the wake of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, these two, as well as others who are often quick to air their tough-on-crime bona fides, haven’t had a lot to say about crime, so it’s only appropriate to interrupt their thoughts and prayers with a primer on the law, as it’s written in the state of Texas, specifically Title Two Chapter Seven of that state’s statutes that deal with “criminal responsibility for the conduct of another.”

Take, for instance murder. It is enough to convict someone as an accessory before the fact even if he or she isn’t anywhere near the spot where the bad guy pulls the trigger, if there is proof that he or she “encourages” the deed.

The statute goes on to say what mere words of encouragement are enough if it is “foreseeable” that said encouragement will lead to the killing. For you non-lawyers out there, foreseeability is not so much a legal issue as it is something a jury has to decide.

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto says his inspiration was the massacres at the New Zealand mosque and the Pittsburgh synagogue. What came before that? A ban on Muslim immigration (aided and abetted by our supine supreme court) and the White House embrace of Ben Garrison’s theory that our deep state is controlled by international financier George Soros.

Totally nuts, right? Of course it is. We all know people out there who are a little “off,” because every time there are such killings, politicians like Sheriff Bob and Rep. Zeldin mention the threat mental illness presents. So, it is certainly “foreseeable” there are unbalanced, suggestible people out there.

Just a couple of months ago, this guy was speaking to a large crowd in our own Sunshine state, complaining about an “invasion” of illegals from south of the border. During his speech, he mentioned he didn’t know what to do about it, but when someone in the crowd shouted the solution was to “shoot them,” he gave an approving nod and praised the suggestion, saying, “Only in the Panhandle.”

Everyone joined him in a good laugh.

I know because the whole exchange was on national television and I’m pretty sure the guy who made that speech knew his words would be heard by any number of mentally disturbed folks who like to listen to his speeches.

Another thing. Murder is not a federal offense. It’s a state thing. That means the guy who committed this “high crime” can be indicted in Texas as an accessory.

All that’s left to do is extradite him from Washington, DC.

A little outrage from our “tough on crime” friends wouldn’t hurt either.

Thomas McGowan
St. Petersburg

Editor’s Note: Thomas McGowan does legal work for Tampa Bay Reporter. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of TB Reporter or anyone else associated with TB Reporter. To submit a Letter to the Editor, send to and note “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line. Please include your name and contact information.

El Paso Shooting | Dayton Shooting | Letter to Editor | Tampabay News | News Tampa

#ElPasoShooting #DaytonShooting #LettertoEditor #TampabayNews #NewsTampa