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Impunity and sedition: Capitol Hill trespassers will continue to get more aggressive unless they are stopped. The ex-president is one who will continue to get worse.

2021-01-26

Some of the demonstrators and rioters at the Capitol on January 6 are gradually being arrested, one by one. There is an FBI-sponsored page with 700 photos asking “Do you know this person?” But there have been no estimates of exactly how many people were there with the intent to reverse the results of the presidential election. My own guess is between 10 and 30 thousand people, perhaps a thousand of whom managed to penetrate the building. Almost two hundred of these have been arrested, and the rest have gone back to whatever they were doing the day before.

During the riot or insurrection, or whatever you want to call it, the police were outnumbered. Even after calling in reinforcements, law enforcement was limited to pushing the interlopers out of the building. Apparently, only a few were arrested on the scene.

Many of these people are guilty of trespass (technically, of entering and/or remaining in a restricted area) and a significant number are guilty of insurrectionary acts, like vandalizing the building, stealing trophies, carrying weapons in restricted areas, and attacking police officers.

One of these trespassers was at first said to have hit Capital Police Officer Brian Sicknick in the head with a fire extinguisher, thereby inflicting a fatal wound– apparently he temporarily recovered but was taken to the hospital later that night and died the next night. This assessment has been changed because the autopsy apparently concluded that the officer did not have a traumatic head injury. Now speculation includes the possibility of a reaction to toxic sprays like “bear spray” or “pepper spray”. Responsibility for the death of Officer Sicknick– has not been charged nor the offender identified.

Most of the instigators, or those guilty of “inciting to insurrection”, will never be arrested, much less convicted or imprisoned. The FBI has been trying to develop conspiracy charges against some of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, or Three Percenters, but they may not be able to obtain sufficient evidence to try them in court.

This is a bad omen for our country. People who are not punished for lawless deeds will continue to perform those lawless deeds, and some will continue on to worse things. Violence, robbery, theft, and sexual assault are particularly prone to repeat themselves and to lead to worse.

There is no good that can come of leaving these miscreants “in the wild” and not subjecting them to punishment. Our country is less safe for not having brought these dangerous people to heel.

Now that the Senate has absolved him of any responsibility (not), or at least acquitted him of impeachment, state or federal courts should indict and try him for “shouting fire in a crowded theatre.” Lacking ten Republican Senators with the guts to convict him, he will claim that he has been exonerated and is free to continue his race-baiting, hate-filled rants, only not on Twitter.

(photo by Andrew Martin courtesy of pixabay.com)

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