In the immediate aftermath of the January 6, 2021 rioting at the U.S. Capitol, I decried the “hoodlums who broke into federal legislative offices and mugged for selfies as they vandalized other people’s property – including taxpayer property.”
I rebuked their destructive behavior as “definitionally disgraceful, dangerous, immoral and extralegal.”
In a word, “deplorable.”
I further called on law enforcement and prosecutors to hold those who participated in the violence accountable for their actions.
Accordingly, I support tough sentences for those who engaged in violent acts against law enforcement – and have no problem with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) pursuing such punishments.
Now … was it a coup? No … to me, that would have meant that assets of the government (up to and including former president Donald Trump) actively participated in the violence, which clearly did not happen. In fact, government assets were dispatched to put down the “rebellion,” and Trump (belatedly) told those fomenting it to cease and desist.
Does that excuse his handling of the situation? Absolutely not, but neither does it confer “insurrection” status upon the incident … hence my opposition to Democrats’ impeachment of Trump in the aftermath of the rioting.
Having said all of that, I certainly understand there is some basis for various political attempts to conflate the riots into something more sinister.
“If you don’t want to be accused of participating in a coup then it’s probably not a good idea to storm the seat of your government,” I wrote at the time.
Anyway, this week the U.S. attorney’s office for the state of South Carolina – a seat which has seen some significant turmoil in recent weeks – issued a news release which announced that a “South Carolina man” had been sentenced to nearly four years in a federal prison for “assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon” during the rioting.
According to the release, 26-year-old Nicholas Languerand “threw various objects at officers with the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department, including an orange traffic barrier and two stick-like objects” between 4:50 and 5:00 p.m. EST on that fateful day.
“Based on the size and weight of the objects, as well as the speed and force with which Languerand threw them, the items were capable of inflicting serious bodily injury,” the release continued.
Did they inflict “serious bodily injury?” No …
Was it Languerand’s intent that they do so? Unclear …
Languerand was further accused of “taking possession of a police riot shield, striking it against the ground, and then holding it in front of him as he confronted police.”
Is the 44-month sentence doled out to Languerand fair? Is it “justice?” Especially when viewed within the context of the excessive judicial leniency routinely displayed toward violent criminals in South Carolina (criminals who inflict “serious bodily injury” on a regular basis only to be turned back loose on our streets to do it again)?
I think that’s a debate worth having, but again … Languerand gets little sympathy from me. If you engage in violence (or attempted violence) against the seat of a duly-elected government you should expect there to be consequences.
It is a classic “mess with the bull, get the horns” situation.
My issue? The hyping of Languerand by the U.S. attorney’s office – and by the increasingly left-of-center Palmetto State media – as a “South Carolina man.”
Take a look …
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(Via: Google News)
The problem? Languerand is not a South Carolina man. He is a Vermont man. A Green Mountain man. A Vermonter.
According to the U.S. attorney’s release Languerand “was residing in Wolcott, Vermont” at the time of the riots. Which means he is not a “South Carolina man,” but rather a “Vermont man.” According to the feds, Languerand “later moved” to Little River, S.C. – a stone’s throw from North Carolina – which is where he was arrested during a no-knock raid on April 15, 2021.
In other words, he was a “South Carolina man” for literally a few weeks … after the riots.
That means this news release should have been issued by the U.S. attorney’s office for the state of Vermont, not the state of South Carolina. But who knows? Perhaps U.S. president Joe Biden’s DOJ press people realized they would get more favorable coverage – more supplicant coverage – from reporters in the Palmetto State?
Which is exactly what happened …
According to “reporter” John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, Languerand was a “Trump supporter and former QAnon adherent from South Carolina.” In the second paragraph of his story, Monk described Languerand as hailing from Little River, “a coastal community just north of Myrtle Beach.”
“One of us,” right?
It took Monk twenty-seven paragraphs (not counting six advertising blocks) to acknowledge Languerand was, in fact, “living in Vermont” at the time of the riots. And it wasn’t until Monk’s twenty-ninth paragraph that he acknowledged Languerand was “originally from Vermont.”
Is this a big deal? Not really … but it is an instructive case study in how bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. push narratives down on their satellite offices irrespective of the facts of the case. And how certain “reporters” are eager to unquestioningly advance those narratives.
Again, January 6, 2021 was a dark day for our nation. And I have no issue with this sentence (or the broader effort to obtain justice in connection with the rampant lawlessness of that day). I do, however, take issue when pre-fabricated, agenda-driven headlines get shipped out of Washington, D.C. to the wrong state. As an actual “South Carolina man,” that offends me … and the fact the media in our state swallows the propaganda whole (or worse, knowingly enables it) is a sad commentary on the Fourth Estate in our state.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
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Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Washington Senators’ lid pictured above).
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