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Many will call what happened on Capitol Hill Jan. 6 treason, and while that may well be the case, it is much simpler, and clearer to indict for the U.S. law regarding rebellion or insurrection.

18 U.S. Code, paragraph 2383 describes the legal elements for prosecution and punishment for violations of this law. The paragraph states: “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."

There can be no doubt that Donald Trump’s words when he addressed the mob at the White House incited the attack. There are numerous clear photos of the thugs who occupied the Capitol. These photos should be used to identify the criminals; they should be hunted down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Trump is clearly guilty of the incitement portion. A good case can be made based on his words in his video where he asked the rioters to go home, that he gave comfort to the lawless mob. On top of repeating his lies, he said “We love you. You’re very special.” 

In covering the attack, the media was often wrong in referring to the mob of thugs as “demonstrators or protesters.” They were not. They were in the purest sense seditious lawless hoodlums. The D.C. authorities were also remiss in their duties. They were totally unprepared for what any reasonable person could see was likely to happen. The puny barriers that were easily breached, the lack of a numerically stronger police presence and the overwhelming number of rioters made the invasion of the Capitol building a foregone conclusion. See also how gently the mob was pushed from the Capitol grounds. Compare this to the treatment of some Black Lives Matters protesters or the violent ejection of a peaceful protest in Lafayette Park so Trump could pose with a Bbible in front of a church. 

And I am not in the mood for any murmurs of a Gerald Ford moment. Ford pardoned Nixon for his criminal acts, he said, in the interest of healing the nation. Whether Trump and his cronies are prosecuted, there is no healing the current rift between those who subscribe to facts and the law, and those who believe in and continue to spread lies and conspiracy theories. Trump needs to be removed from office as soon as the 25th Amendment can be invoked or Congress can present new articles of impeachment. After leaving office he must be prosecuted, along with all of his official enablers,  for every law that they breached. If Trump is not prosecuted I never want to hear that old bromide again about no one being above the law.

This is a terrible and sad time in our nation’s history. We have become the essence of a third-world banana republic. The attack was nothing more or less than an attempted coup. We are not out of the woods yet.

LeRoy W. Bloom

Lawrence