Ever since the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, many of us who are law-abiding, taxpaying U.S. citizens have been fuming over the ignorance and selfishness of those people who were involved. Now it’s surfaced that two people from the Santa Ynez Valley not only attended Trump’s insurrection in D.C., but also participated in entering the Capital with the rest of the riot mob.

Trump and his MAGA minions called it the “Save America March.” If it began as a protest and a rally and a march, it ended as something altogether different — an out-of-control riot by Trump supporters who couldn’t handle the results of a free and fair election. And by doing so created destruction, chaos and appalling deaths of innocent people. “Our President Wants Us Here” had been but one of the calls used by the rioters as well as some sort of delusional idea that Trump had his election stolen (to this day he has not produced any convincing evidence). Many far-right groups had premeditated conspiracies to attack the Capitol, but there was also an array of everyday Americans who participated in the insurrection, and this is where many of us who abide by the laws of this country have a huge problem with those who participated.

“A riot cannot occur without rioters, and each rioter’s actions — from the most mundane to the most violent — contributed, directly and indirectly, to the violence and destruction of that day,” federal prosecutors have written in multiple sentencing arguments. Just because a person personally felt “cheated” by choosing to believe everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth, doesn’t give that person the right to riot causing destruction and death. And for those who like to compare the Black Lives Matter protests to January 6, let’s not forget that there were hundreds of thousands of BLM protestors all around America who protested peacefully without causing violence and destruction; the thugs who rioted were a very small percentage of the peaceful protestors. And those only interested in rioting and causing destruction most certainly had little interest in the BLM cause.

January 6 riot defendants who have been sentenced so far have given apologies ranging from grudging to abject. While many have formally accepted responsibility, few have elucidated their motivations. It is not defendants’ political loyalty or passion that is being punished, judges said, but their willingness to impede the peaceful transfer of power, participate in an attack on the operations of Congress, and serve the interests of one person, the former president, instead of democracy and the law.

What churns in many Americans still today is the audacity that these January 6 rioters had to think that they had a right to storm the U.S. Capital. There may be several thousand Americans angry that Trump lost the 2020 election, but there are far more thousands who are angry at those who selfishly thought it was their right or patriotic in some way to riot on January 6. Perhaps those who participated that day could have at least consulted the vast majority of Americans who also “own” the U.S. Capital, who didn’t feel the need to try to destroy it, what we thought.

In a country whose citizens constant vigilance is “we, the people will ensure that our constitutional rights are defended,” it’s a shame that for some people accountability doesn’t matter. As for the local couple that felt the need to participate? You will receive little sympathy if and when you stand in front of a judge.


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