TREASON: Punishing the Assault on the Capitol Building

WHAT SHOULD, but probably won’t, happen now:

Fifty-five people have already been arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol on charges ranging from unlawful entry and theft to assault and weapons offenses. Prosecutors could add additional charges later, but much more serious charges are both warranted and essential in this brazen assault on the fabric of our democracy.

The ringleaders of this attack, many of whom are already known to both authorities and journalists, should be charged under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115, which covers the crimes of treason, sedition, and subversive activities. They should also be charged with the federal crime of terrorism. And they should be charged with conspiracy to commit these crimes.

In addition, four people, including a Capitol police officer, DIED in this attack. Anyone who participates in a felony that leads to someone’s death can be charged with felony murder, regardless of whether they directly caused that death.

If convicted, the ringleaders should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.

All of those who carried any sort of weapon–whether it was a gun, a knife, or a baseball bat–into the federal building took up arms against the government of the United States. In addition to weapons charges, they, too, should be charged under the statute covering treason and sedition as well as with terrorism and felony murder. If convicted, they should receive life sentences.

What of the thousands of others who broke through the outer perimeter surrounding the building and the hundreds who forced their way into the building? Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of them can be identified from press video and photography, capitol surveillance cameras, and the selfies many of them stupidly posted on social media.

I doubt that many reading this post will have much sympathy for the ones who displayed racist or anti-Semitic clothing including “Camp Auschwitz” hoodies. But wait, I can already hear some of you thinking. A lot of these people were deluded, victims of the lies Donald Trump and his enablers told them and that they naively believed. Should they, too, pay a heavy price for participating in this attack?

Hell, yes. You know who else is deluded, the victims of lies told to them by people they trust? Those who have been seduced by Islamic terrorist rhetoric. We hunt THEM down and kill them with drones. ANYONE who forced his or her way into the Capitol building should be charged under the treason and sedition statute, with terrorism, and with felony murder.

I would not go that far with those who did not make it into the building. After all, some of them may have had second thoughts when they saw what was happening. But they are, in the very least, guilty of aiding and abetting the attack. If identified, they should not go unpunished.

And then there is Donald Trump and those close to him. He, Don Jr., and Rudy Giuliani deliberately inflamed the crowd, inciting it to riot in plain sight. In my view, they should be charged with that crime, but the crimes of felony murder and conspiracy to violate the treason and terrorism statutes should be seriously considered.

What of Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and the many other political leaders and right-wing media figures who spread the election fraud lie that contributed to this disaster? Their behavior was immoral and abhorrent but violated no federal or state statutes. We can only hope that they pay a heavy political price.

Make no mistake. What happened this week was insurrection against the government of the United States and an assault on democracy itself. It MUST be taken seriously if the great American experiment is to survive.

THIS IS NOT OVER. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who adhere to the fascist, racist, and anti-Semitic philosophies of the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Bois, and other such groups. They are armed and dangerous. They openly advocate race war and/or the overthrow of the United States government.

TAKE THEM AT THEIR WORD.

About Bruce DeSilva

Crime Novelist
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