The Manson protocol


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It might come as a surprise to many of you that the notorious murderer Charles Manson is in actuality thought to have never personally killed anyone in his life. That apparent contradiction was masterfully overcome by the late Vincent Bugliosi, who successfully prosecuted Manson and his followers for that gruesome August, 1969, crime.

While it is certainly true that Manson most emphatically was NOT at the scene of the infamous Tate-Labianca murders, his glassy-eyed cult followers were. Bugliosi established beyond any doubt — reasonable or otherwise — that no murders would have taken place at all had Manson not planned and ordered them in the first place.

In fact, so completely did Bugliosi prosecute Manson for crimes he was not present for that, not only did the judge hand down a death sentence for Manson’s people on the ground, he gave Manson a death sentence as well. (Those sentences were later commuted to life in prison when the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional.)

Which brings me to a fascinating recent development. On Thursday former “Proud Boys” leader Enrique Tarrio was convicted of “seditious conspiracy” charges, together with three other leaders of the right-wing group, in connection with the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And yet — and this is the crucial part — Tarrio didn’t physically participate in the attack. He wasn’t even in Washington DC at the time of the attack.

So what is “seditious conspiracy”? It’s a civil war-era federal law enacted in 1861. The statute says in part, (18 U.S.C. § 2384) “If two or more persons … conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

Pay particular attention to the words, “prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” That is what the January 6 insurrectionists did, they attempted to “prevent, hinder, or delay” the certification of Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump. And Enrique Tarrio was guilty of that crime even though he wasn’t physically present for it.

This is terrible news for Donald Trump. Like Charles Manson, Tarrio didn’t have to physically be present for the violence of January 6 to be found guilty of this very serious crime, even though he inspired only a small part of the insurrection. Trump, on the other hand, inspired the whole thing. While most of the insurrectionists didn’t have a clue who Enrique Tarrio was, ALL of the insurrectionists knew who Donald Trump was, and all of them were acting that day in Trump’s name.

The successful prosecution of the physically absent Tarrio lays the groundwork for a similar prosecution of Trump. Indeed, Trump’s part in the insurrection is much greater than Tarrio’s because, as already mentioned above, everybody knew who Trump was and they were all acting on his behalf.


Just as surely as Charles Manson was guilty of the Tate-Labianca murders, even though he wasn’t present for them, Donald Trump is guilty of the January 6th insurrection. This recent prosecution of Enrique Tarrio brings that inevitable fact home beyond the shadow of a doubt. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.


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