It’s been nine months since the Jan 6 insurrection. Despite the warnings of doom and gloom casters and #DoSomething Twitter, the events of that day aren’t being downplayed and not everyone is getting away with it. This isn’t to say that it wasn’t a terrible day for democracy and the GOP isn’t cozying up to domestic terrorists – it absolutely was and they absolutely are, and we should resist any of their attempts to whitewash it. While there is a congressional committee calling fairly high profile witnesses to testify before Congress with serious legal ramifications if they don’t, the court cases of insurrectionists are currently being heard.
Nearly everyone who’s particularly outraged by the events of that day has in their mind some degree of punishment they feel the perpetrators deserve, but unfortunately, that almost never translates to reality – and in cases where the offenders don’t have a record of committing violent crimes, the sentences are less likely to be severe. However, one judge’s ruling may have set a new precedent when it comes to dealing with the Capitol rioters, as Judge Tanya Chutkan felt convicted rioter Matthew Mazzocco deserved a sentence harsher than the prosecution recommended, sending him to prison instead of three months probation.
In her ruling, Chutkan emphasized: “There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government beyond sitting at home.” Mazzocco’s sentence wasn’t particularly long, but with the number of Trumpers afraid of the prospect of having to do prison time, this is a pretty clear warning shot. Of course, if nothing else, the Jan 6 insurrection should be seen as more than just an anomaly – it’s the type of thing that the GOP intends to normalize if they’re ever entrusted with power again – and that’s why we need to vote them out at every level of government in 2021 and 2022.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making