Cracking Down on the Capitol Hill Invaders: The Charges Must Fit the Crimes
The nationwide crackdown on those MAGA members who invaded Capitol Hill on Wednesday has begun after President-Elect Biden declared them to be “domestic terrorists” and outgoing President Trump promised that they “will pay”, but the charges that’ll be brought against them must be proportional to the crimes that each suspect committed and none should be leveled against the majority of peaceful protesters who only passively observed those events from outside the building otherwise Americans’ constitutionally enshrined freedom of peaceful assembly risks being infringed upon.
The Anti-MAGA Crackdown Begins
The nationwide crackdown against those members of the Trump-inspired “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) movement who invaded Capitol Hill on Wednesday has begun after President-Elect Biden declared them to be “domestic terrorists” and outgoing President Trump promised that they ”will pay”. The FBI is also “seeking information related to the violent activity at the U.S. Capitol Building” according to its website, and USA Today is even asking its readers to help them identify some of the suspects in an unprecedented but controversial show of solidarity from a major media outlet with the country’s law enforcement officers. However one personally feels about the events that transpired on that fateful day, it’s now become forbidden to publicly express any positive feelings about anything related to them otherwise those who share such sentiments risk being banned from social media and possibly accused of “supporting domestic terrorism”. This stands in sharp contrast to the stance shown towards the similar employment of Color Revolution technologies by Antifa and “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) over the past six months.
The Legal Definition Of “Domestic Terrorism”
There’s no doubt that those who broke the law on Wednesday deserve to be punished, but the charges that’ll be brought against them must be proportional to the crimes that each suspect committed. Trespassing onto federal property is one thing, while “domestic terrorism” is another thing entirely. The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representative asserts that “the term ‘domestic terrorism’ means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States”. By that definition, those who invaded the Capitol could theoretically be charged with “domestic terrorism” if prosecutors argue that their actions intended “to influence the policy of [the] government by intimidation or coercion”.
Proportionality Is Important
It’s not the author’s intent to argue whether the bringing of such charges against them is morally right or not, but simply to state the legal facts. Nevertheless, in a practical sense, a legal distinction should be made between those who violently broke into the building and caused other material damages during that day and those who just walked through the premises illegally to take pictures and videos of that historic event (with the adjective “historic” not implying any value judgement). In addition, those who only trespassed onto federal property by following the crowd past the breached police barricades guarding the premises but didn’t enter the building shouldn’t realistically be charged “domestic terrorism”. The charges must fit the crimes committed otherwise Americans’ constitutionally enshrined freedom of peaceful assembly risks being infringed upon. Furthermore, the manhunt that’s presently underway for the suspects who invaded Capitol Hill should extend to include the members of Antifa and BLM who carried out similarly illegal acts over the past six months by attacking police stations and committing other crimes that can also be described as “domestic terrorism”.
The Danger Of Double Standards
Refusing to crack down just as hard against members of those two organizations who were also photographed and caught on tape committing similar crimes intended “to intimidate or coerce [the] civilian population [and] influence the policy of [the] government by intimidation or coercion” would prove that the country’s law enforcement agencies are no longer politically neutral, thus taking America one step closer to the dystopian hellhole that the author feared late last year would be created during the next four years of Biden’s presidency. The same principle should be applied if the state brings trespassing charges against those who stepped onto government property on Wednesday without authorization but didn’t enter the Capitol itself. In that event, those members of Antifa and BLM who committed similar non-violent crimes over the past half year should be charged as well. Seeing as how the national security state can easily apply advanced algorithms to facial recognition technology in order to match suspects’ faces to federal and private databases, there’s no reason why everyone who committed such crimes shouldn’t be brought to justice in the name of political neutrality.
The Amnesty Solution
It’s important to point out at this moment that most of the suspects who might be charged with trespassing in either case could plausibly claim that they were illegally on such premises for the purpose of “citizen journalism”. So long as there aren’t any pictures or footage of them committing property damage or any worse crimes, they might be able to get off the hook with just a slap on the wrist, if that. Since so many thousands of people could be caught up in the proposed dragnet, it might actually be a good idea for Trump or Biden to declare amnesty against those who only committed non-violent crimes such as trespassing if they’re sincere about “peace and healing” like they both claim. That would the fairest thing to do and would free up federal resources to focus on the much more serious crimes that were committed during those times, as well as other unrelated ones such as the trafficking of hard drugs and child sex abuse for example. It would also symbolically usher in a new era in America whereby its recent so-called “Time of Troubles” could symbolically become a thing of the past, though only so long as the state is serious about honoring such a commitment.
Law and order has been the national theme of the past six months, with it first being shouted by conservatives against Antifa-BLM but is now just as loudly demanded by liberals against MAGA for the crimes that each organization committed during these troubling times. Those who carried out the most egregious acts of “domestic terrorism” as defined by the law — which could arguably include the rioters who burned down Minneapolis’ Third Precinct police station, occupied Seattle’s CHAZ, and violently broke into Capitol Hill among many other such examples — should be prosecuted in order to serve as a deterrent to those who might think of committing copycat crimes, though those who committed comparatively minor and unquestionably non-violent crimes such as trespassing should arguably be granted amnesty in the interests of “peace and healing”. Bringing the full weight of the law down upon MAGA members only would ominously reveal the government’s political bias against them, hence the moral necessity of applying it equally to Antifa and BLM in proportion to the crimes that their members also committed over the past half year as well.