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July 28, 2022

The U.S. Department of Injustice

Stepping through the door of the U.S. Capitol building is not an act of terrorism.

Here’s a factoid that should be known by anyone who has been glued to the 24 hours of television coverage of the January 6 hearings — but perhaps not: In the past few months, two J6 defendants have committed suicide.

No great loss, you might think — just part of the foul mob (“white supremacists and others,” per Attorney General Merrick Garland) that 18 months ago nearly destroyed our democracy.

But not so fast. I didn’t know either of them personally, but these two seem to have been a lot like you or me — middle-aged loyal Americans whose primary offense was setting foot in the Capitol building on 1/6/21. Neither was charged with harming anyone, stealing or damaging anything, arson or looting, or discharging or even carrying a firearm.

No matter: By DOJ proclamation and policy, they were “domestic terrorists.” They were among the 882 (as of today) arrested, charged, and indicted for some combination of January 6 crimes including “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building,” “civil disorder,” or “obstructing or intending to obstruct an official procedure.” Some of the 882 have also been charged with carrying “lethal or dangerous weapons,” such as a flagpole (with a U.S. flag or a Trump banner), a walking stick (for the older folk), or pepper spray — pretty weak weaponry for overthrowing a government.

But aren’t the above charges pretty much standard fare for peaceful — or not so peaceful — protests, like during the social justice uproar in 2020? Or the Trump inauguration? Or Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings? Or the illegal protests in front of conservative Supreme Court justices’ private homes before and after their Roe v. Wade decision?

To be clear, some of those arrested have been charged with crimes of violence, and a few with seditious activity. But the majority were protesters in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all have been tarred with the same terrorist brush. They are now America’s Al Qaida.

Two of them chose suicide, no doubt because their lives were in tatters thanks to ruthless prosecution (persecution may be a better word) at the hands of their own government.

The DOJ’s bulk apprehension of J6 participants — what AG Merrick Garland’s calls “the largest, most complex, and resource-intensive investigation in the history of the US Department of Justice” — has been a key element of the Democrat House’s January 6th Select Committee’s work. The DOJ’s role: to serve up a sufficient number of scalps to convince Americans that the “insurrection” that day was as powerful as advertised.

Those snared by the DOJ juggernaut face a mountain of obstacles to clearing their names:

  • Classification by FBI Director Christopher Wray as participants in an act of terrorism.

  • Pre-trial incarceration for those considered a risk to the nation. Among the 882 arrested, approximately 40 Americans have been jailed, some in solitary confinement, for a year or longer — this in a nation that has been steadily striving to eliminate cash bail.

  • Pressure to plead guilty — 280 defendants have done so — under threat by DOJ prosecutors to seek terrorist-enhanced sentencing (i.e., very long prison terms) for any who do not cooperate.

  • Trials in Washington, DC, where 93% of registered voters are Democrat, virtually assuring conviction.

Is it any wonder that those caught in this nightmare lose hope of fair treatment?

The summary above is anecdotal and possibly is not representative of treatment of all J6 defendants. But I am personally familiar with one such case — a young man who attended the Trump rally, then left the area, enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a DC restaurant, and then out of curiosity went back to the Capitol later in the day. By that time, the rioting was over, people were milling about, and he walked into the building with many others as police stepped aside. He stayed for a few minutes, made the life-altering mistake of taking a selfie and sending it to friends, and left.

Months later, he was tracked down and arrested by the FBI. Terminated by his employer, an embarrassment to family and friends, he ultimately received a suspended sentence. But as a convicted felon, he remains unemployed. Another life ruined.

So, in this land where the criminal justice system supposedly is based on fairness and punishment is intended to be redemptive, the objective for this category of defendants — seemingly by design — is shattered lives, along with a crystal-clear message to others that challenging the promulgated narrative will not be tolerated.

Does any of this sound like American jurisprudence? Russian or Chinese, perhaps, but not American. Regardless of where you stand — on insurrection or Trump or Biden or the 2020 election — it’s not right.

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