Column: Rooting out police, military insurrectionists

Associated PressIn this Jan. 21 photo former Houston Police Officer Tam Pham walks out of the Federal Courthouse downtown in Houston after he appeared in court following his arrest on federal charges tied to Capitol violence. Police departments across the country are reviewing the behavior of dozens of officers who were in Washington on the day of a riot at the U.S. Capitol.

I hear calls for “healing” on the part of some of the elected spreaders of the nest of falsehoods that led to the act of Insurrection against the Congress of the United States on Jan. 6. I am sickened. Particularly galling is the thought that a number of police and/or military (active or reserve) participated in this crime.

The police and military are, after all, the “guardians” of the society. They are what the ancient philosophers referred to as the “watchmen” of the society. They swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” But, as the philosophers of old asked: “Who will watch the Watchmen?”

What if members of the police and/or military choose to join in or publicly support or encourage Insurrection, sedition or politically inspired violence? Do we just ignore the breaking of their oath in order to “heal?” Doing so would be the political equivalent of an individual ignoring a cancer diagnosis so as to not upset the family.

The cure to this cancer must be harsh, as are a lot of cancer treatments. The cure must be written into the laws of the nation and individual states and the statutes of all communities. Yes, we have the Hatch Act for federal employees. Yes, we have laws punishing insurrection and sedition. These are not sufficient to deter police and military who put themselves above the Constitution and the safety of fellow Americans.

The penalty structure for violations of the Hatch Act includes removal from federal service, reduction in grade, debarment from federal employment for a period not to exceed five years, suspension, reprimand, or a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.

This might be fine in regard to “political participation. Such “participation” should not be tolerated, but it is not a criminal activity. Sedition and Insurrection are criminal offenses and require more. Thus, I suggest the following:

Any public employee at any level who participates in sedition or insurrection shall be subject to immediate dismissal, banning for life from any public employment and termination of pension rights (with contributions to said pension returned, without interest, over the number of years in which such contributions were made);

Said public employee shall be subject to criminal trial regarding their role in actions leading to personal injury or death of local, state or federal personnel/officials and property destruction should they be identified as having actively participated in acts of Sedition and or Insurrection.

Any active military participating in or inciting sedition and/or insurrection shall be subject to the same punishments laid out above for public employees and, in addition, shall be reduced to the lowest rank possible, be dishonorably discharged and be subject to court-martial under Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice;

Any retired member of the military who participates as above shall be subject to the same punishments laid out above for public employees and to immediate forfeiture of veteran’s benefits, banning for life from public employment and termination of pension rights (with contributions to said pension returned, without interest, over the number of years in which such contributions were made);

Members of the National Guard and reserve services of the armed forces of the United States who actively participate in such sedition and insurrection shall be subject to the same punishments laid out above for public employees and to immediate forfeiture of veteran’s benefits, banning for life from public employment and termination of pension rights (with contributions to said pension returned, without interest, over the number of years in which such contributions were made). In addition, said members of the reserve forces shall be tried by Courts Martial under Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice whether or not they committed said offenses while on active duty.

Does this seem too harsh? Remember that our Founding Fathers pledged “Our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” in the Declaration of Independence. They would assuredly have lost all that they pledged had their revolution failed.

Is it too much to expect today’s self-appointed “patriots” to suffer the same for their pursuit of their nefarious goals? I think not.

Brendan Walsh is a resident of Salem.

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