Among the great crimes of the last few years is that I was not here to cover the story of January 6th 2021 as the events unfolded.
On the other hand, I suppose I am fortunate to have had a rock solid alibi for that day.
Not that one needed to be present to end up in prison over it.
Among those convicted of seditious conspiracy for the event are Proudboys chairman Enrique Tarrio, and Oathkeepers founder Stuart Rhodes. The latter of whom was recently sentenced to 18 years. Neither of them were actually present at the event.
Revolver News has a piece today feigning outrage at this fact, featuring words from one of the defense attorneys involved in several cases, who has seen one of the few acquittals so far.
Anybody who knows anything about the laws of conspiracy isn’t surprised by the fact that one need not be present at the scene of the alleged offense. Surely the attorney they are quoting understands this.
The offense need not even occur. The agreement is the conspiracy, and that is the crime of which the charge of conspiracy aims to convict the accused. The alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer may stand out in some minds. Most of the people involved in the plot worked for the government. They went so far as to have a woman working for the government spend the night in a hotel room with one of the alleged conspirators. They tried to bait men into a plot with drugs and sex, and having satisfied themselves that such an agreement had been reached, put the men on trial.
Some pleaded guilty to avoid trial, and testified against their codefendants. Two were acquitted during the first trial. Two others were retried after a mistrial, and subsequently convicted.
In the case of the January 6th trials, particularly regarding Tarrio and Rhodes, it was more complex, but their convictions are hardly surprising, whatever their justice. The real injustice of the story of January 6th has very little to do with the way trials are conducted, or how judges interpret the law, or how juries deliberate, or how prosecutors exercise their discretion, or even what motivates them in said exercise. Nor is it the harsh sentences, the questionable evidence, the government’s involvement, or the media coverups.
After all, why were these men even contemplating a visit to the Capitol? Maybe you think the election was above board, or maybe you’ve read Molly Hemingway’s book about it or are otherwise informed enough to doubt the outcome, but what we know for certain is that when you think the elections are rigged, and you think the guy who stole the election is going to ruin the country, you’re not an evildoer if you contemplate force in response. While I have all the sympathy in the world for the men who face these charges, I don’t actually think there is much room for doubt that they communicated with one another about using force that day.
You might say that it was not seditious, given that they meant to see the will of the voters upheld, but as the saying goes, if you come at the king, you best not miss.
Our legal system is not designed to discern moral integrity. It is a means by which those who have power, endow their use of force with a shroud of legitimacy. In many cases, even most, that legitimacy is well deserved. We all want rapists and murderers and robbers thrown in prison. Most of us think drugs are a major problem, and even if we think prisons may be imperfect in dealing with that problem, they are effective in keeping drugs from making their way to TV commercials and clearance racks of major department stores.
If I were in charge of the government, and people tried to interfere with my taking power, I’d absolutely wage a war against those people.
Anyone who has ever interacted with the criminal justice system will tell you that it is completely stacked against criminal defendants. It’s supposed to be. That’s the whole entire point of the thing. To punish the accused. Acting like this is some new phenomenon of our criminal justice system is just plain disingenuous. There’s no reason to act surprised.
From my perspective, the surprises ceased around the time the chaos of that historic day subsided. While it was ongoing, there was the sense that anything could happen, but once Trump told them to go home in peace, and they complied, what happened next was as predictable as the sunrise, whatever its justice.
While held in the Strafford County Jail pending sentencing after my conviction at trial in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, I had contracted COVID not long before New Years eve. I was moved from my regular housing unit to the unit where COVID patients were kept and held in 23 hour lockdown as a result. I had a cellmate, an ostensibly White member of the Gangster Disciples, who went by the name of Smitty. I had given Smitty some political education as we were locked in that cell together, and perhaps it seemed fitting to him that as he was coming to know that, and how, and why our society was spiraling out of control, a revolution was underway at the Capitol. It caused him to remark something to the effect of “You were right, man” and I took some measure of satisfaction in this.
COVID knocked me off my feet. I could hardly get out of bed for the first week, and I was half asleep as the chaos broke out. I could not see the TV, but I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh show. It was being hosted that day by Todd Herman, whom I dislike with some intensity. Rush was soon to die of cancer, a far greater tragedy for our society than anything happening in Washington DC that month.
I recall at the time being frustrated with him and later with Sean Hannity as they condemned the violence. What else did they think was going to happen? They had both, in my memory, doubted the legitimacy of the election. They had stopped short of endorsing all the crackpot theories which abounded, but they did give voice to the legal challenges which were mounting.
One of the last things Rush Limbaugh said to us was that he thought the election had been stolen. He encouraged us to keep fighting for America, no matter what. I’m not saying he envisioned what happened on January 6th, but like many in conservative media, he always maintained a certain affinity for themes surrounding the American revolution
I didn’t know how exactly, but I knew the election had been stolen. That much seemed obvious to me from the mere fact that Democrats had tried to remove all fraud protections prior to the election. In any legal proceeding, one of the most powerful pieces of circumstantial evidence is anything that evinces consciousness of guilt. If you try to destroy evidence, this will be shown to jurors and they will find you guilty or liable. In a civil case, such destruction will result in adverse inferences, where the Court actually tells the jury that they are to deem a fact as true or false according to whatever the evidence destroyed may have proven to the detriment to the destroyer. When it was announced on election night that a water pipe had broken in Fulton County Georgia, and that counting would be suspended until morning, I thought “here we go!” and I imagined swarms of activists carrying out whatever plot they had conjured with the protection of Democrat officials in Atlanta.
Moments later, Fox News called Arizona for Biden. Even the hosts on air seemed shocked by this. Other networks had not called it, and this seemed premature to everyone.
The credibility of this claim was not helped by prior media hysteria. The Left wing media had predicted that Trump would dispute the election and refuse to leave office. This was, in my mind, more evidence of consciousness of guilt. They were preparing to be caught cheating, and they were getting in front of that accusation by saying that they would be accused of it by a lunatic criminal President. They had stated over and over and over again that Fox would have to make the call to make the election credible.
Here was Fox News, doing, essentially, just that, though it would not officially declare the election as a whole for several days.
When Trump came out, declared victory, and it became clear we were headed for a historic showdown, it almost made up for Charlottesville. Neither before nor since that moment did I desire my freedom more. I wanted to stand with the President. I would have followed any order he gave me.
I equated my struggle with his. The same people who did this to me, did that to him, I thought. Maybe you think it’s silly, and you are in some measure surely justified in this, but it’s not my craziest idea. I used to be a libertarian.
You know, the guy who prosecuted me, John Davis, he was the same guy who prosecuted Richard Jewell. He was a cop and a security guard, who saved lives by alerting police to a bomb, and he was blamed for that bomb, and long after it was obvious that he was innocent Mr. Davis just subjected him to the system anyway, because that’s the kind of monster that he is. Sean Hannity talks about that case all the time as an example of the justice system being weaponized. Hardly seemed a stretch that Mr. Davis was a deep state crook.
The same Jewish lesbian who sued me, sued Trump on behalf of E Jean Carroll in this phony rape case.
I don’t think it’s irrelevant that I was among those in the Alt Right who still supported Trump, and that the lunatics who the FBI let victimize me over the course of more than a year, were actively hostile to Trump. My so called victim, wanted to keep Trump from getting elected so that more people would lose hope and become mass shooters. That whole Charlottesville fiasco, they tried to pin that to Trump to cost him the election. Joe Biden says that’s why he ran for President, and he called Antifa a “courageous group of Americans” in his campaign announcement video, which featured your humble correspondent fighting crime at the Jefferson Memorial on UVA Campus August 11th 2017.
So it seemed quite reasonable to me that I was on the same side as Trump, even if Trump didn’t necessarily want to be. We are in some measure defined by our enemies, and we have a lot in common there. It hardly seemed at all surprising to me then, that people who Trump had not gone out of his way to disavow, would follow him into war on January 6th, and I’m not saying that’s necessarily what these men did, but it’s hardly a crazy conclusion to reach.
I couldn’t see how bad the events were from my cell, but it seemed obvious to me that the theft of the election would result in disorder. One point the Democrats made during that silly show trial of a commission they put on, was like “What did you think was going to happen, he said the election was stolen, of course they resorted to violence, that was the inevitable outcome of it?”
And in that sense, the only question really was whether or not that was actually the case. Whether or not the election actually had been stolen.
If it was, and if the people involved believed that, they were Patriots. They were fighting for their country, not against it.
And after a year of race riots, endorsed by Democrats and covered up by their friends in the press. Who really believed that there was a constituency for that?
So there’s your injustice. There’s your conspiracy. Even if the election was above board, the fact that half the country or better doubts this is reason enough to storm the Capitol. I said in the leadup that the Democrats were acting like a lawyer with a guilty client, just trying to raise reasonable doubt. I thought they were preparing to dispute the election, was my honest assessment before it all went down.
But you can’t possibly think they were just going to let that challenge to their power stand. The idea that “Oh well Republicans didn’t stop the race riots, so…” Well, yeah exactly. That’s kinda the point. The Republicans let people get away with things, and that’s both because they are weak and why they are weak, and it’s a vicious cycle that Democrats are not going to let themselves fall into.
So once the so-called insurrection was over, of course the next step was going to be mass arrests.
I am all too familiar with our Court system, as many of you know. One of the countless reasons attorneys have a professional reputation near synonymous with dishonesty is that they are necessarily compelled to pretend they have some measure of faith in the system to administer justice. Since this faith must be diminished by exposure thereto, this variance between what what is known and what is said, negatively impacts their reputation for honesty.
If you don’t already know, I’ll inform you of what is too rarely said about our Courts. Discerning truth is not their purpose. Neither is it their purpose to administer justice. Their purpose is to prevent you and me from killing eachother. That is all. They do this imperfectly, quite clearly, but viewed from this perspective they are not entirely incompetent.
So long as the population remains at least moderately confident that this system functions in the way it purports to function, they are disinclined to criminality for fear of being punished, and more to the point, they are disinclined to settle scores outside of the court system. This latter portion is what prevents total anarchy from reigning on our streets.
Prior to the normalizing of jury trials and prisons and civil suits, criminal accusations might be settled by something known as trial by ordeal. A Defendant might be ordered to grab hold of a a red hot iron or put his hand in a flame. In other scenarios they might be thrown into water or made to eat something that might kill them.
The purported theory of this was that if they were innocent, God would protect them. In which case, they had nothing to fear. If they were guilty, then surely God would not protect them, so they had best plead guilty, and suffer whatever punishment the Court would render, rather than going through that ordeal, and then dying or having to endure both the ordeal and the Court’s punishment.
I have read some accounts that the ordeals were sometimes fake. That the red hot rod was red with something other than heat, for example.
On the one hand, you might say in this instance that the trial was rigged, but obviously it is no less rigged if one grabs a red hot rod expecting God’s protection. God helps those who help themselves, as the saying goes. God gave you the good sense not to touch fire. That is your protection, and you do with it as you will.
One can only speculate as to how prevalent faith was among those who carried out these rituals, but real or fake you can see how it approximates our current system of Justice.
There is not the highest of likelihoods that one is accused of a crime to begin with, even if they are a criminal. If one has committed a crime, the likelihood that they committed that crime is easily greater than 50%. If they are falsely accused, particularly if they are accused by a person of good character, the likelihood is that they found themselves in this position because they have otherwise acted disreputably, and so it is not really the end of the world if they are nominally punished for something they did not do, given that they have otherwise earned the scorn of their society.
If in some cases the ordeals were fake, assuming the accused was not aware of this, it is a test of their faith. In a society which deems faith to be what prevents wrongdoing, this is near as good as a test of actual misconduct. If you do not believe in God’s protection, then you must likewise doubt his judgement, and best we do away with you now before you take advantage of that doubt.
If you grab the rod and you are not burned, society sees you as having received God’s protection. Your reputation is salvaged. If you plead guilty to avoid the rod, you knew that God would not protect the guilty, and society considers justice rendered by the Court’s punishment.
That some number of innocent people got their hands burnt and were sent to prison or worse, is surely a price worth paying for civilization to carry on without perpetuating generations long blood feuds between families taking vengeance upon each other.
Say I suspect you stole my chicken. I come to steal your goat as payback. You kill me to prevent this. My cousin comes to avenge my death. He burns down your house, killing your wife. You burn down his house, killing his son. He comes to avenge his son, and so on and so forth. This cycle can go on forever. In such an environment, it becomes rather difficult to conduct business, and perhaps more to the point, for the governing authorities to collect taxes thereon.
From a certain perspective, it is much better to let some criminals go free and for some innocent people to be harmed, if it can prevent this sort of feuding. The damage and injustice will occur in either instance, and its prevalence can be reduced by the illusion of orderly justice.
The key to making trial by ordeal work is preventing false accusations. You must punish those who make false accusations no less harshly than those who are convicted of the crimes being accused. For those who administer the system, they too must be subject to punishment if they knowingly use it to free the guilty or harm the innocent.
If they have been administering ordeals, they must have some knowledge of the certainty of the outcomes. They must then necessarily fear accusations worse than anyone. For this reason, they must be of the most cooperative sort, never incurring the ire of those who might see them put to such a test. Prosecutors must decline to bring charges when met with non-credible witnesses. Judges must dismiss cases when they lack legal foundation.
Most importantly, perjurers must be prosecuted when they make false accusations.
The idea that trial by jury has dramatically improved upon this is hardly supported by the evidence.
To begin with, anyone with the slightest familiarity with the Court system will do almost anything to avoid a trial. Nobody expects these things to discern the truth. Everybody tries to avoid it. Nearly all criminal cases end in guilty pleas, and nearly all civil matters are settled out of court.
But the average person still believes that he will not be subjected to legal abuse, and more importantly, he believes that if he is wrong he can go to the courts for justice.
People like John Davis, Alvin Bragg, and Roberta Kaplan, they put the lie to that theory with their abuse of the Courts. They are letting regular, ordinary people know that the whole thing is a sham, and that anybody can be victimized by a powerful person who has an axe to grind.
If there was ever a seditious conspiracy, that’s it right there. The Reds, they tell you the cops are racist and they set things on fire and you think “Wow those reds are bad people”.
These people, they are much more effective in undermining confidence in our system of government, and the consequences of that, are going to be with us, for a very, very long time.
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