Sacking the U.S. Capitol
Thu, 07 Jan 2021
Seditious Conspiracy and Federal Law
The federal law against seditious conspiracy can be found in Title 18 of the U.S. Code (which includes treason, rebellion, and similar offenses), specifically 18 U.S.C. § 2384. According to the statutory definition of sedition, it is a crime for two or more people within the jurisdiction of the United States:
To conspire to overthrow or destroy by force the government of the United States or to level war against them;
To oppose by force the authority of the United States government; to prevent, hinder, or delay by force the execution of any law of the United States; or
To take, seize, or possess by force any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.
I don’t think any of us has to be an eminent legal scholar to see the application, of the aforementioned statute, on the actions of the mob that over ran and invaded the Capitol Building in Washington D.C on Wed. January 6th.
Political logic and rhetoric to the side, the mob was incited to riot by President Donald J. Trump, his counselor Rudy Giuliani and his son Donald junior. There are those who will argue “He didn’t mean for the mob to sack the capitol” and other rationalizations. The facts are that after a large political Trump rally, the mob, at the urging of the President set off to disrupt the Congress of the United States from carrying out its duty to accept the official results of the Electoral College and confirm the next President of the United States. The President assured the mob that “he would be there with them.”
During the riot and Capitol seizure, it was reported, by White House staffers, that the President thought the over throw was right and proper. It was Vice President Pence who had to call out the National Guard to back up the Capitol Police in their defense of the complex. The riot and seizure of the capitol resulted in four deaths and the destruction of federal property. More importantly, Congress in session had to run for safety, under the threat of mob violence against them.
The events of Jan. 6th are much more grievous than the mindless actions of an unruly mob. The carefully planned and deliberately executed action is an attack on democracy in America. It is an assertion that mobs can assemble, threaten and wreak havoc on anyone that they disagree with. Those who encourage such behavior should be brought before the bar of justice and if convicted, pay the penalty, as prescribed in the above-named statutes. You either live under the rule of law or you have anarchy, where the strong get what they want by violent means.
I will long remember viewing the images of vandals sacking the Capitol Building. I didn’t think that something like this would ever happen in the United States of America. And I hope I never get to see it again.
( 494 words)
Joseph Xavier Martin