When the first January 6th criminal trials happened and the resulting prison sentences were very short, a lot of angry folks on social media were insisting that the January 6th attackers had “gotten away with it all.”
At the time I tried to point out these were merely trespassing cases against the perpetrators who were the furthest removed from the attack, and they reached trial first because the minor criminal cases against them were so simplistic. The actual attackers would take longer to get to trial, but they would obviously get very serious prison sentences.
Sure enough, yesterday two of the Proud Boys leaders were sentenced to seventeen and fifteen years in prison, respectively. This comes after Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. These are the kinds of sentences that these folks were always going to end up with.
This is part of why I preach that when it comes to political news, we should study first and react second. Those fourteen day prison sentences for the people who trespassed on Capitol grounds but never entered the building and then went home, were never an indicator that the actual attackers and plotters were going to get off easy. In politics there’s never any shortage of real things to feel outrage about. It’s important that we don’t waste time focusing on “outrages” that aren’t even real things, or else it can distract us from the actual outrages.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report