By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
According to the Orange County district attorney's office, there is no record in their files of any ongoing prosecution involving the man with the bin Laden tattoo—just two five-year-old violations of the vehicle code.
Despite not having been taken off the streets for anything related to terrorism, the man and his controversial body art will likely remain behind bars as long as can possibly be justified. Here's why: on Oct. 25, the day before the U.S. Congress passed President George W. Bush's sweeping, post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism laws, Attorney General John D. Aschcroft told the U.S. Conference of Mayors, "Let the terrorists among us be warned: if you violate a local law, we will . . . work to make sure that you are put in jail and be kept in custody as long as possible. . . . We will seek every prosecutorial advantage. We will use our weapons within the law and under the Constitution to protect life and enhance security for America."
Although the local, national and international media circulated the tale of the arrest of the bin Laden tattoo man, not one of those news outlets ever followed up to point out there's absolutely no evidence the man was a terrorist or that any Al Qaeda cells might be operating in Orange County. In fact, the man described in newspapers around the world as a possible terrorist isn't even here anymore. After spending a month in the county jail and facing a judge on a prior arrest for driving without a license, he was sent south to San Diego County, where he now faces yet another courtroom hearing on yet another arrest. The crime in question? Driving under the influence of alcohol.