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News & Observer

The case of 16-year-old Ashton Lundeby, taken from his Oxford house by federal agents in March and accused of making a bomb threat, became an Internet sensation this month. For better and for worse. Coverage of the case began April 29 when WRAL aired a story built around comments from his mother, Annette. She said her son had been taken from her house under the Patriot Act, enacted in 2001 to fight terrorism. He was accused of phoning a threat that led to the clearing of a building at Purdue University. He is being held in Indiana.

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The April 14th 2009 Border Patrol and Arizona police beating of a Baptist Minister named Steven Anderson at a border checkpoint, may stand out as one of the most disgraceful recent examples of police brutality and official breech of authority. The supposedly trustworthy state and federal agents appear to have made a game out of how badly they could beat and physically damage and humiliate a person, and while the man's cameras remain confiscated, it was recorded on tape. There are those stories that sometimes are just so grating, so wrong, that they are like an abomination. As stories of torture at the hands of Americans grab the headlines, we are reminded that abuse of power is the ultimate betrayal of a person's character, and it defines the conduct of an agency. The frenzy to increase border scrutiny near Mexico seems to have tensions unusually high, and perhaps that factors in as one of the reasons this man of God was so completely and ruthlessly beaten and degraded