By James Mullin
I recently wrote to my United States senator, a Republican NeverTrump, respectfully asking why the January 6 detainees are still in jail, with many still in solitary and not arraigned for what was essentially trespassing on public property (forgetting for the moment the role of FBI instigators). (Incidentally, we should all be writing.) His reply saddened me profoundly. I received back a two-page harangue of how horrible January 6 was and how it imperiled our democracy. Buried within that harangue were unexpected admissions about the unconstitutional conditions in which far more prisoners are held than most people realize. Surprisingly enough, these admissions gave me hope.
For anyone who lived through Election Night 2020, and watched Trump winning comfortably at 11:00 P.M. EST, only to lose that massive lead by the following morning, skepticism about the election will always remain intense. (And it seems more people are getting skeptical by the day.) That skepticism is hardened by stories of municipalities that actually stopped counting during the night and reopened with large Biden pluralities.
This sense of wrongdoing doesn’t justify trespassing and certainly doesn’t justify vandalism. But what happened on January 6 still pales in comparison to the carnage that BLM and Antifa wreaked on many American cities and towns the previous summer — and without cost to its perpetrators in most cases. So a white-hot rage remains in many Americans.
But back to my senator’s curious reply. After a lengthy harangue about Jan. 6, the depraved perpetrators, and the evil Donald Trump, he provided two very odd statements. First, he informed me that 570 people are still held in D.C.’s jails.
Five hundred seventy! I had no idea that so many were incarcerated for so long, without trial.