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October 27, 2023

This week, rightwing journalist Owen Shroyer began a 60-day sentence in federal prison for a speech crime. Because of outdated COVID protocols, he’ll have to spend the first few days in solitary confinement. The same judge who gave a Proud Boys leader who wasn’t even in DC on January 6th, 2021, a 22-year prison sentence also sentenced Shroyer, who never even entered the Capitol. He was accused of inciting others by chanting “1776” outside the building.

The prosecutors were seeking twice as long a sentence, claiming Shroyer "spread election disinformation paired with violent rhetoric" prior to the January 6 Capitol riot, and that while "Shroyer did not step foot inside the Capitol, he did not need to; many of those who listened to him did instead. In the aftermath, he has blamed 'Antifa' and told his followers: 'We should have been proud of what happened.'"

You can certainly disagree with that and claim he was wrong, but I fail to see how his speech wasn’t protected by the First Amendment. There should be no laws against speech in the US other than speech that directly harms others, such as making death threats or false advertising claims or shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater. If someone claims to have committed a crime because you chanted “1776,” then the consequences should fall on the person who actually committed the crime. You can’t blame the actions of an unhinged person on another person’s speech. If so, then why didn’t they arrest the Beatles for inspiring the Charles Manson murders?

Meanwhile, in the other “justice” system that prevails in DC, Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman was charged with a misdemeanor for pulling a fire alarm that caused an evacuation of a Congressional office building, allegedly to prevent a vote on a GOP budget bill to prevent a government shutdown. He could have faced six months in jail. But Bowman – who by his own Party’s definition, committed insurrection by attempting to block official House business – was given a sweetheart deal to have the charges dropped in three months if he pays a $1,000 fine and writes a formal apology.

Say, do you know a really good, quiet place to write a formal apology? In solitary confinement at a federal prison.

By the way, the same networks that gave wall-to-wall coverage to the January 6th prosecutions somehow couldn’t find 10 seconds to report on a Democrat politician being charged with committing a crime to disrupt government business.

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