Treason PSA*

*AKA Pervert Schadenfreude Affirmed




  1. says

    What he says is true, but it’s predicated on the US government actually trying to track them down. As we’ve seen over the last fifteen years, the FBI knew all about white supremacists being the primary danger and did nothing. And in the last week, the pentagon and others intentionally left the door open despite knowing the mob was coming.

    If we learn that the records were deleted or the recording conveniently turned off (a la Epstein), it won’t be a shock. It’s standard policy for cops to turn off their body cameras before committing crimes.

  2. says

    many of them were dupes who actually, genuinely believe they are the patriots

    I had sympathy for that position (at least for those who did not enter the building itself.

    I lost that sympathy as more details have come out. Nazi crap everywhere, confederate flags everywhere, people chanting about how they’re going to kill Pence and Pelosi. If you’re marching next to someone who is chanting about killing your vice president (without due process, without a trial), there’s no reasonable excuse.

  3. John Morales says

    I never had any sympathy to lose, CD. Just noting what I’ve inferred.

    Here’s the obligatory funning of an actual video — I suspect you’ve seen the original:

    PS In case you forgot I can be a bit of an asshole…

    If you’re marching next to someone who is chanting about killing your vice president (without due process, without a trial), there’s no reasonable excuse.

    Implication being that marching next to someone who is chanting about killing your vice president (with due process, with a trial), well, that’s a reasonable excuse. No?

  4. says

    @John Morales:

    Implication being that marching next to someone who is chanting about killing your vice president (with due process, with a trial), well, that’s a reasonable excuse. No?


    It means that if you’re chanting about killing your vice president WITH due process and WITH a trial, then there could – in theory – be circumstances that might justify that. Not to me, b/c I’m anti-death penalty. But imagine a Vice President who plays a role in a capital crime – hires a hitman, say – and the country is outraged about it. In such a circumstance I can imagine someone protesting the lack of an arrest for political reasons, and with that protest I can imagine that they might argue for the maximum penalty available under law, which might be the death penalty.

    I wouldn’t call for it myself, but neither would I judge such a person as worthy of prosecution. I certainly wouldn’t consider it a legal & moral problem equivalent to threatening murder.

  5. John Morales says

    I seriously considered whether to write this, and have decided I trust you sufficiently to take it seriously. I’ll keep it short.

    1. Thing is, my #4 was about how your comment read.
    Seemed to me the focus was on the extralegality of the killing, rather than the killing itself.

    (Take out your parenthetical, it reads differently)

    2. Do you dispute that at least some (maybe even most) of the mob thought they were patriots safeguarding the Republic?

    (Obs, not saying they were correct, only that they thought so. mens reae stuff)

  6. says

    1. In my haste to make clear that there is at least in theory an excuse for calling for the death penalty in a case where a capital crime has been committed, I failed to make it clear that in this particular case it wouldn’t have mattered, because there was no capital crime committed by the VP. It’s very different, I agree, to call for legal execution of a traitor where the person hasn’t actually committed treason. In general, I’m more worried about using words that seem bloodthirsty than I am about words that seem overly lenient.

    I don’t think there are any excuses in this case. I do think it’s inappropriate for me to preemptively condemn every potential call for applying the death penalty legally.

    Ironically, I’m actually against the death penalty in every case, but so long as it’s on the books, I’m not going direct my judgement towards the people who have been harmed by someone who committed a capital crime saying out loud that they want the harshest penalty allowed by law.

    #2: Eh, I’m sure some of them – and as you say, maybe even more – thought of themselves as patriots. But no, I disagree that they thought they were “safeguarding the republic”. They knew that they were calling for something other than the process prescribed by the law and the constitution. They were simply of the opinion that breaking a few laws for the greater good was justified in this case.

    But of course, that’s “destroying the republic to save it” thinking. If the presidency is bequeathed upon someone because of violent intimidation (not to say murder, should they have gotten that far) that’s as far from democracy or constitutional republicanism as you can get. Now, sure, they may have believed that Michigan violated their own election laws and then administered the election in an unfair way, but even assuming that, their logic is that two wrongs make a right.

    They had clearly given up on electoral politics and constitutional procedures. This isn’t a situation where someone was marching outside and emotionally entreating the people they believe to be betraying the country to reverse course in a manner consistent with their legal discretion. They knew that they were marching to stop Biden’s election being confirmed in the Senate. They knew they weren’t going there with a court order, but with weapons (physical and metaphorical) to scare Pence & congress.

    Maybe they thought they were going to scare them into “doing the right thing”. But they didn’t think they were safeguarding the Republic.

    At best they thought they were fighting to reconquer the republic for the Republic’s own good, but I would argue that that is a different thing than “safeguarding”.

    Perhaps, though, because of your final parenthetic expression, this is more missing the point. Perhaps you mean to simply ask if I intended to say that if a person is subjectively of the belief that they are the good guys that that somehow excuses their behavior to some degree.

    No. I’m not of that opinion. People were chanting that they were going to instigate violence. Other people either chanted with them or escorted them to their destination. Either way, that’s bad.

    I realize I’m a bit of a pollyanna compared to many, but I would never have participated in a march like that. I may not have thought to report it to the police, since it was out in the open & I might very well have assumed the cops know everything I know about the danger. But I certainly couldn’t chant those things or escort those chanters to a place where they could conceivably carry out their threats. Even under the most tyrannical of regimes, I would rather stand in front of the guns and allow them to shoot me than use my words or actions to threaten them. I don’t think that acting out my morals should be required in the sense that people should be punished merely for making choices different from mine. But they are my morals for a reason, and I certainly hold that to do differently would be to act less morally or, in the case of this crowd, immorally. They are deserving of criticism at the least. Some are deserving of condemnation, contempt, or even scorn.

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