Letter: Crimes are crimes, no matter the motivation

Editor,

The horrific events that occurred at our nation’s Capitol Jan. 6 were not merely an embarrassing “stain” but an irreparable “tear” in the sacred fabric of our fragile republic.

But was the violence predictable and therefore preventable as some have suggested? Consider these words penned in 1787 by then-future president James Madison in The Federalist Papers, a collection of essays written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay urging ratification of the new U.S. Constitution by the 13 states: “The pleasing scenes before us (referring to the drafting of the Constitution and formation of the Federal Government) are soon to be overwhelmed by the tempestuous waves of sedition and party rage.

These words were written as a supposition, in the abstract of what might occur if factions of violent protesters assembled for the purpose of government insurrection by “patriots.”

Sound familiar? How does vandalism, theft, assault and homicide qualify as patriotism? Crimes are crimes, no matter the motivation of the individual committing them. In fact, the reason a person has for committing a crime doesn’t even matter to a judge or prosecutor, only the intent of the criminal. That is to say, what the criminal “meant” to do.

It seems absurd, then, to be asked to believe that a federal police officer was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher in the “spirit” of America by loyal citizens just being patriotic.

Chris S. Geiger

Coupeville

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