Dear President Biden:
I am distressed that the insurrectionists (not tourists, demonstrators, or terrorists) who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are mostly being charged with low-level offenses and being given light sentences. In many countries, people participating in such an assault would have been executed by now.
Although I surely am not advocating capital punishment, the storming of the Capitol on January 6 was, and must be seen to have been, a serious disruption of civil order. Many in the January 6 mob even declared their intention to murder elected officials. Threatening the president has always been viewed as a very serious matter. Threatening the vice president or the speaker of the House is similarly reprehensible. If most perpetrators receive little or no punishment, the Biden Justice Department will be encouraging future political violence.
Admittedly, some of the insurrectionists are more culpable than others. Those who planned violence and wielded weapons against both persons and property should be charged with serious crimes and sent to prison. No one who broke through police lines or who entered the Capitol through broken windows, however, can credibly argue that they did not know that what they were doing was illegal. Even were they genuinely naïve, their punishment must be made an object lesson for other politically motivated malcontents.
It is my hope that your Justice Department will defend civil order and democratic values through more aggressive prosecution of the January 6 insurrectionists. Doing so will subject the government to charges of political partisanship. That is an indignity that must be endured for the sake of the Republic.
Very truly yours,
Lionel Deimel, Ph.D.
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