Some of the 465 people charged so far (many more to come) in connection with the January 6 riot in and about the U.S. Capitol have come up with a clever defense.
The mob made them do it.
It was all those other rioters, lowlifes, and agitators —such as our former agitator-in-chief who was then living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Yup, they simply were “caught up” in the hysteria of the rowdy crowd or, get this: they were swept inside the building by sheer force of numbers —you know, like a rip tide off of Coney Island.
Yessiree, Bob, the mob, which these poor “innocent” victims willingly joined, induced them to: trespass, destroy public property, and, in some instances, club police officers over the head.
After all, how were the defendants to know that a group of people —all riled up to a fever pitch by our then president (among others) to “stop the steal,” to “be strong”, and “to take back their country”—were up to no good?
Interestingly enough, few of the charged rioters are blaming the left wing group Antifa —a favorite excuse propagated without any supporting evidence by the unindicted right-wing media and some Republican politicians for the Capitol mayhem. In a court of law, it turns out, defendants and attorneys who wander too far from the facts do so at their peril.
I know, I know, this sounds like a clear violation of our long cherished freedom of prevarication and our right to bear unfounded idiotic opinions.
My favorite not guilty plea by one of these alleged innocent bystanders on January 6 comes from a man who maintains that at a mere 140-pounds, soaking wet, he was at the mercy of that tsunami of violent rioters flooding the Capitol. He was akin to a cork bobbing in a storm surge.
Golly, I wish I’d thought of this lightweight defense when I weighed 140 pounds, in eighth grade, well into the previous century.
Say so-long to that old standby: “Yo, teach, the dog ate my homework.” If I had known then what I know now, I’d have lead with: “Miss Crabtree, s’up? Like, I ate my homework —in my defense, I only weigh 140 pounds and I was famished.”
I could have tried it at home, too. “Hey, Dad, I’d love to help you rake the leaves but, as you know, I weigh a mere 140 pounds, and it’s kind of windy today. I might get blown all the way to the mall to load up on pizza and cotton candy; and after that I’m to land at the gym to bulk up.”
When that didn’t work, I’d have followed up with: “Yo, Dad, do we have a lighter rake. I’m skin and bones, you know.”
Mark Twain knew a thing or two about mobs. In “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Colonel Sherburn confronts a mob bent on lynching him. “The pitifulest thing out is a mob,” he tells his prospective murderers, adding “a mob; they don’t fight with courage that is born in them, but with the courage that’s borrowed from their mass. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness.”
The colonel’s withering scorn and his trusty rifle send the mob packing. It turns out it was being lead by only “HALF a man.”
In the case of the modern mob, the HALF a man who summoned and incited it —and who promised that he would march with it from the White House to the Capitol Building to overturn the certified will of the people —was AWOL.
He retreated into the White House and watched the bedlam he’d unleashed on a big-screen TV—without lifting a finger to stop it.
David Holahan is a freelance writer from East Haddam.