Those who desecrated our nation’s Capitol deserve consequences

The message for future thugs must be: However manipulated and misguided their passions may be, they cannot trash their government — and democracy itself — without having to pay a consequence.

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Editorials

December 20, 2021 - 10:14 AM

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Jan. 6, 2021. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

It has been 11 months since a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol intent on disrupting the certification of electoral ballots won by Democrat Joe Biden and overturning the result of a legitimate election. The rioters desecrated the legislative seat of federal government, doing about $1.5 million in physical damages. The violence resulted in the death of five people, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. More than 100 D.C. and Capitol police officers were injured and two officers died by suicide in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6. It was the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812.

To date, more than 700 people have been charged with offenses in federal court, and officials say they won’t quit until all leads have been exhausted. There are those who would overlook or minimize the events of that dark day, which is why we should credit Justice Department officials for their perseverance in trying to bring to justice individuals who in some cases used chemical sprays and wielded batons, flagpoles and other weapons against law enforcement officers. The longest sentence so far was five years in prison, given to Robert S. Palmer, 54, of Largo, Fla., who hurled a plank, a fire extinguisher and a pole at police, and later lied about his actions to authorities.

Key to the progress of this unprecedented nationwide investigation has been the work of members of the public. The FBI posted videos and photos of Jan. 6’s most wanted, and citizen sleuths have spent hours tracking down and trying to identify the photos. For example, Mr. Jersey was identified by citizens who keyed in on an obscene tattoo on the middle finger of his left hand.

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