The events of January 6th at the Capitol were an evil that must be dealt-with. We have long had federal laws in place that deal with insurrections (which is exactly what we saw), as well as sedition, and treason. This law needs to be used to correct the dangerous behaviors we all saw. The false beliefs that drove this are simply too widespread to ignore. Our democracy is in serious danger, from what amounts to a large potential number of political-extremist domestic terrorists, inflamed by lies.
Here is the relevant federal law for the insurrection that we all saw happen at the Capitol on the 6th:
18 USC Part 1 Crimes Chapter 115: Treason, sedition, and subversive activities
§ 2383. Rebellion or insurrection
Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
I suggest we apply it to many persons, in multiple roles ---
All those “protestors” who scaled the steps and entered the Capitol building on January 6th:
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – they all would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case, as evidenced by what was seen on the live TV feeds, and the testimony of those inside the Capitol who were threatened by it.
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – he would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case, as he literally told the insurrectionists to go to the Capitol in his speech the morning of January 6th. This was evidenced by what was seen on the live TV feeds.
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – he would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case, as he has claimed “election fraud” and “stolen election” since the night of the November 3rd election, and claimed these things wrongly, as the 60-some court cases and the Department of Justice investigations have determined. These claims were used to inflame the emotions of supporters over the election result, which is the very definition of the word “incite”.
Either of these two readings of the law are in accord with the wording of the Article of Impeachment pending against Mr. Trump, now awaiting a Senate trial.
Congressional figures giving “reconnaissance tours” on January 5th:
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” – these persons would seem to be guilty in a rather credible case, with actual evidence to be turned up by appropriate investigation. So far, I have seen the names of 3 House members alleged to have done this.
Update 1-23-21: Because these names are already a matter of public record, it cannot hurt the case for or against them, if I mention them here: House members Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Mo Brooks (R-AL). There may, or may not, be others.
Congressional figures communicating helpful information to the insurrectionists during the event:
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” – such persons would seem to be guilty in a rather strong and very egregious case, with evidence to be turned up by appropriate investigation. So far, I have seen the name of 1 House member alleged to have done this. This behavior could very credibly be construed as not just assisting, but actually engaging in, the insurrection. Such is very serious indeed!
Update 1-23-21: Because this name is already a matter of public record, it cannot hurt that I mention it here: House member Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a known Qanon follower. There may, or may not, be others.
Congressional figures persisting in claiming disproven election fraud as the basis of their electoral tally objections:
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” -- these persons would seem to be guilty in a fairly strong case, evidenced by the roll call of electoral tally objection votes even after the insurrection was over, despite the pre-insurrection proof that these claims were false!
Update 1-23-21: there has been filed a Senate ethics committee complaint, for spreading the election fraud lie that inflamed the insurrection, both before and after the insurrection. Those named are Senate members Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO). There may, or may not, be others.
There is plenty of latitude to adjust the penalties to the severity of each case:
“shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” – could be a fine or imprisonment, or both. That choice, and the amount of the fine, is thus left up to the judge. Imprisonment is limited to 10 years max, so it could be anywhere from 0 to 10 years.
Here is the part not left to the discretion of the judge:
“shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” – this part is mandatory and it is permanent (meaning life-long), no matter what else is done! It has the benefit to the entire country of ridding a political party of certain proven-dangerous extremists as feasible candidate choices.
Update 1-23-21: in addition to Mr. Trump himself, there are also close associates and family members under suspicion of inciting, or aiding-and-abetting, the insurrectionists. There are also members of the Capitol police who may, or may not, have aided-and-abetted, or actually participated-in, the insurrection. The FBI is certainly pursuing the insurrectionists themselves. We'll see what transpires as the various investigations unfold.
As for the possible Senate impeachment trial results:
There are two stages to this, guilt-or-acquittal, and penalty determination if guilty. Note that acquittal is not the same as innocence, the definitions of those words differ! It is my opinion that acquittal would be a serious miscarriage of justice, but that is for the Senate to decide, not me. Conviction requires a 2/3 majority vote. Determining the penalty after conviction requires only a simple majority vote.
Under impeachment, the penalty has to be voted upon by the Senate, but only if convicted. I believe they will use the cited law to guide what they can and cannot do. For insurrection per section 2383, ineligibility to ever hold federal office again is mandatory, but with great latitude regarding fines and no more than 10 years of imprisonment. (Permanent ineligibility, fines of at least $10,000 and at least 5 years of imprisonment, or even death, are the penalties for treason in section 2381.)
My Own Take:
There are many people who need to be called to account for what took place at the Capitol on January 6th. I have mentioned only some in this article. The FBI is certainly trying to do their part to bring insurrectionists to justice. I do worry about figures in positions of power who might not be called to account for their parts in this. That is why I wrote this article. We will see how that goes, as these events continue to unfold.
What I Suggest:
Watch closely what your Representatives and Senators actually do. In addition to the impending impeachment trial, they need to police their own, as I indicated above. Contact them frequently, and tell them in no uncertain terms what you want done, and that you are watching closely.
If you don’t understand that there was no fraud/steal to the 2020 election, I sincerely urge you to re-examine not only your beliefs in light of the observed facts, but also the credibility of the sources who convinced you of those falsehoods. It is essentially impossible to make good decisions based on bad data. Therefore it is incumbent on you to make sure those data you use are good.
And Another Thing:
Every federal officeholder takes a form of the same oath taken by those who enter the military (and I did, so I know firsthand): “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. A very clear implication of that oath is that the good of the country takes precedence over all personal or political considerations. Such is too often forgotten today.
I would like to see two things done:
(1) that implied top priority of the good of the country be made explicit in these oaths of office, and
(2) the breaking of that oath of office needs to be made a crime. The specification of that crime should explicitly include behavior that demonstrates prioritizing personal or political advantage over the good of the country.
That last sure would clean up a lot of Congressional misbehavior, now, wouldn’t it? And maybe some misbehaviors we have seen in recent decades in the Executive branch as well. (Doesn’t matter which party you favor, they have both routinely misbehaved.)
Closely-Related Articles on this Site:
10 January 2021 It Ain’t Over Yet
1 January 2021 Observations About the Mainstream Media, and Much More
18 December 2020 Q As A Threat to the US
13 February 2020 Beware of Leader Cults
You can access any of these quickly using the navigation tool at the left side of this page. Click on the year, then click on the month. Then click on the title, if more than one shows for that month.
Keep your eyes peeled for more insurrection or related violence directed at the Inauguration on the 20th, and around the country after that. So says the FBI.
Keep your eyes peeled for more similar violence after the Senate impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, especially if he is convicted. That is my prediction, based on the Qanon “fearless leader” cult built around him ever since the 2016 election.
If you recognize a perpetrator, I do encourage you to turn them in to the FBI. That is your duty as a citizen of this Republic, especially since such violence borders on treason. Not reporting actual treason that is known to you is also a crime, under another section of the same law I cited. (Go look for yourself: it is section 2382 Misprision of treason.) Insurrection isn’t defined as treason, but it is very close. That is the implication of the law I cited.
The massive presence of protective troops seems to have deterred any sort of mob violence or assassination attempt at the inauguration in DC. Similar precautions seem to have deterred problems at the state capitals.
That's good, but when the protection relaxes, the risk is still there. Those extremists are still out there, still large in number, and still believing the lies that motivated the insurrection on the 6th.
The next "sore point" that may provoke further mob action will likely be the Senate trial of Mr. Trump's impeachment. The date for that has yet to be revealed. Keep your eyes peeled.
Update 1-23-21: that date for the start of the Senate impeachment trial is now said to be the week of February 8.
Update 10-26-2021: The GOP-controlled Senate at the time of the second impeachment trial refused to hear witnesses or do anything about the insurrection, or about the now-former President who incited it to stay in power, despite losing the 2020 election. Some of them said in public that "Yes, Trump did it, but we won't convict him." Evil!
As far as I am concerned, every single one of them is therefore complicit in the insurrection. Every single one of them should be indicted under 18 US Code Part 1 Chapter 115 section 2383, and tried in federal court. Conviction means they can never hold federal office again. At least we would be rid of Mitch McConnell, who so very demonstrably priorities party advantage over the public good. (Another evil!)
For doubters, consider this: every American President (but one) throughout my entire lifetime has been rushed to a secure location whenever there has been violence in the vicinity of the White House. Mr. Trump was not rushed to a secure location. Instead, he simply remained in the White House, watching the insurrection he incited, on TV, just to see if the military would support his attempted coup.
Fortunately for us, the military did not support the coup.
What still scares the shit out of me is that nearly half the people around me still believe Trump's lie that the election was stolen! The same folks still want him to be President, and about half of those actually want a military-supported dictatorship with Trump as its head. Evil! Evil! Evil!