We are now a year and a fortnight past the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. More than 700 people have been charged with various crimes, along a spectrum of seriousness, ranging from trespass to seditious conspiracy. Some will plead; some will go to trial. Some will go to prison; some will go free. A range of defenses will be brought to bear, with different degrees of plausibility and absurdity.
I want to focus on one defense I recently heard, which upon a moment’s reflection is obviously absurd and especially so when one takes human nature and history into account. The defense was offered up earnestly by one Tucker Carlson last week:
“On January 7th of last year, the day after, protesters called Nancy Pelosi’s office line in the Capitol looking for items they may have left inside the building. Law enforcement took down their numbers and later arrested them. Is that the behavior of people who believe they were trying to overthrow the U.S. government? Obviously it’s not. These were Americans who came to their capital city with their friends to complain loudly about what politicians were doing.”