Federal and local officials should now be planning to conduct mass arrests and prosecutions for participants and especially organizers of a planned insurrection called “ShutDownDC.”
The very name and announced intentions of the group would be, if carried out, illegal. It is blatantly illegal to impede traffic deliberately (without a permit), force business closures, and harass residents. If some of the group’s implied threats to “escalate” to possible violence are carried out, the offenses would be even worse, and they should be punished as harshly as the law allows.
This is serious stuff. The ShutDownDC website already held a virtual training called “Escalating Resistance in Times of Crisis: Mass Rebellion.” It involved “planning for social disruption in economic centers using creative tactics. We’ll explore some differences between protest and rebellion!”
Well, if these aren’t protests but rebellion, they are patently illegal and must be met with the concentrated, organized force of law. Legal protests, ones that do not harm the rights or property of innocents, are a wonderful feature of a constitutional republic. Protests that do harm the rights of innocents are crimes. Those that foment or use violence are major felonies. And open rebellion, unlike mere protest, is by law (the Insurrection Act of 1807, as amended) unambiguous grounds for the president to use the military to suppress it.
And this was restated again as part of Public Law 114-328 in 2016.
The “organizing principles” of ShutDownDC call for “disruptive direct action.” Memo: If their actions disrupt the lawful rights of others, those actions are illegal. To be more specific, the plan for the day after the election is to “disrupt business as usual for some of the intuitions [sic] that are most complicit in Trump’s attack on Democracy.” On Nov. 5, they plan to “shut down the White House.” On Nov. 6, they plan to shut down all “business as usual in the nation’s capital.”
All this comes after they already have held “coordinated road-block training” (illegal), “mass rebellion training,” and numerous “direct action training” sessions.
Some of these tactics of “rebellion” aren’t just aimed at perceived systemic problems in general but at very specific people. The plan calls for direct action against members of Congress and other officials to “meet them at the train station or the airports or if they drive we can meet them at their homes.” Even if “peaceful,” this is illegal harassment.
Frighteningly, ShutDownDC already has published an interactive map showing the homes or business locations of people with some relation to the Republican National Committee and “Trump boosters,” along with bridges they appear to be considering shutting down. And worse, including marches against some media outlets.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if they attempt any of these things, their efforts must be crushed with every legal, accessible force. Yes, police, federal officials, and the National Guard should use the least lethal, least injurious means possible to quash such dangerous and illegal actions — but they must indeed quash them.
The organizers of this movement sound paranoid, filling many paragraphs of their web site warning against “infiltrators” and asking backers to “consider using higher security or encrypted platforms to discuss sensitive information and actions.”
This is not the stuff of peaceful protesters. This is the stuff of anti-government Marxist revolutionaries.
If the Washington, D.C. local government won’t provide the proper police resistance to shut down the ShutDown operations wherever and whenever they cross into illegality, federal officials ought to be ready to act. Innocents must be protected, and rebellion must be severely punished.
Author: Quin Hillyer
Source: Washington Examiner: ShutDownDC rebellion must be met with unsparing force of law