Here’s the story of the Bustles, Jessica and Josh. Josh is a realtor. Jessica is a “homemaker”, likes to post on Facebook, believes their child was “harmed” by vaccines and is anti-vax. She thinks that people who receive blood donations should be notified if they’re getting it from a vaccinated person, and likened vaccine id cards to yellow stars in Nazi Germany. She’s also pregnant. On January 6, they went to the Capitol and walked around. They were near Ashli Babbitt, who Jessica characterized as an “unarmed peaceful woman,” when she was shot for trying to enter the Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window created by a crowd of insurrectionists intent on violent overthrow of the lawfully elected government. The Bustle’s Capitol tour did not involve violence or property damage. They were sentenced yesterday:
Both were sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours of community service. Both were also sentenced to home confinement: 30 days for him and 60 days for her, based in part on comments she made supporting the rioters afterward.
“I seriously considered putting you in jail,” U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan said.
Prosecutors said the couple has already suffered “personal and reputational consequences” as a result of their participation. Joshua Bustle said he was no longer able to sell real estate, for example, and the couple plans to move “to start a new life.” He said their participation in the Capitol siege strained relations with family members.
Part of the extraordinary mercy the Bustles received was because they came to DC to participate in an anti-vax rally and got caught up with the crowd. The rest of it is that they had a good attorney, appeared in federal, not state, court, and, in all probability, because they’re middle-class and white, just like the 82 year-old white, Reagan-appointed judge who sentenced them.
I know that I shouldn’t compare this sentence to the ones that are meted out daily to poor folks for far less serious crimes. We should all work for a world where justice is tempered with the kind of mercy the Bustles received. And Thomas Hogan is probably a decent judge. I should be satisfied that justice prevailed.
Unfortunately for my immortal soul and gastric reflux, the Bustles’ sentence, and some of the other mild sentences that are being given to the first to plead, makes me think that this country’s lust for incarceration is failing us at precisely the moment when it should be indulged. The maximum sentence for the Bustles’ crimes was six months in prison and fines of $5K each. Why the fuck not? She could serve it in on weekends or something since she’s pregnant — I’m not a monster. I also think that more of these yahoos should be in pre-trial detainment due to their their obvious contempt for the law and clear desire to offend again if the opportunity arises. In general, I just want to see these people suffer in a way that’s commensurate with the crime they committed, even if they’re idiot ignoramuses led around by the nose by Trump.
Am I the only one who thinks that rebellions need to be crushed without an undue amount of mercy?