Jan. 6 Capitol Mob Should “Rot In Prison”?

By | August 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro: Jan. 6 rioters “will end up rotting in prison, as they should.”

I enjoy listening to Ben Shapiro, that is, when he slows down enough to be understood. I consider him brilliant but opinionated. But as a graduate of Harvard Law School, he should have paid more attention in classes on criminal law.

Shapiro believes the Jan. 6 “rioters” should rot in prison. But for what crime?

• Rioting requires that the police declare an unlawful assembly so that people can hear it and leave if they want. In all the discussion of Jan. 6, I have heard no one claim such an announcement was made. Many hours of video have not been released. Perhaps such an announcement is shown there. But until the video is released, we can’t know.

The requirement to declare an unlawful assembly goes back to the British Riot Act of 1714. The purpose was to allow the dispersal of rioters, but at the same time to assure that only people who knowingly violated the law could be punished.

• Trespassing requires that people come onto others’ property without their permission or against their will. But video clearly shows Capitol Police allowing or actually ushering some of the people into the Capitol. In some cases police took selfies with the people. The shaman – the guy with the buffalo horns – is roaming around the Senate Chamber as police watch and do nothing. This cannot be trespassing.

If there is evidence of destruction of property or assault on officers – both of which did occur – then those persons should be prosecuted for those crimes. But there was only one death, Ashli Babbitt, Air Force veteran, who was unarmed, damaged no property, and assaulted no one. The officer who shot her has not been identified or punished.

Hey, Ben, before the non-rioters and non-trespassers rot in prison, how about fully investigating that homicide? Both your religion and your legal education teach you that human life is of infinite value. Surely its value exceeds the damage done to the Capitol. On the other hand, if you believe that demonstrators can be shot with impunity, just let us know, and street disorders can be ended without delay.

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