The Injustices Facing J6 Protesters Are Warnings to You

A Google news search for Nathan DeGrave will show nothing more recent than two weeks old. This is peculiar, given that his letter on the conditions at the D.C. Department of Corrections was published October 30 and should be the biggest story in America. 

DeGrave is a January 6 protester who has spent the last nine months in a special prison block at the D.C. Department of Corrections. He has not had a trial. He has not been convicted of the crimes with which he is charged. He is there for the purpose of keeping the rest of us at home. He is there as a reminder that, while the government may not care about violent crime on our streets, there is no limit to their brutality when their own power is threatened. 

The January 6 protesters were not, by themselves, a threat to that power. But inasmuch as they represent you and me and hundreds of millions of Americans who love their country, the government has taken it upon themselves utterly to destroy them—their lives, livelihoods, and health—as a warning to the rest of us. 

If you have not read DeGrave’s letter, you must. But these are the relevant points: Prisoners are subjected to a starvation diet under which DeGrave has lost 15 pounds and now fears he would be unrecognizable to his family. Sanitation is poor; mold and filth are everywhere. Raw sewage has overflowed the cellblock. Chronic sickness is pervasive. Medical conditions requiring breathing machines and medication are left untreated, while prisoners are forced to wear masks at all times (for their health!) or risk loss of privileges and physical abuse. 

The guards are all-powerful. They confiscate legal materials, prevent meetings with family and with attorneys (by requiring two-week COVID quarantine lockdowns after such meetings). They lock down the cells any time interviews about the prison appear on TV. The prisoners are prepared, says DeGrave, for more punishment in retaliation for his letter. 

The guards are mostly “migrants from Africa who have been conditioned to hate us, and hate America.” They have beaten prisoners for singing the National Anthem. A guard yelled “Fuck America!” and threatened to lock the prisoners down for a week if they ever sing the anthem again. A man who tried to organize a Bible study group was beaten nearly to death, and has been left permanently blind in one eye. The man’s name is Ryan Samsel. 

This is happening, not in North Korea nor the Sudan, but in the D.C. Department of Corrections on 14th Street NW, 12 blocks from the White House. 

It is not our purpose to comment on the charges these men face—and DeGrave’s charges may be more serious than he suggests in his letter. The point is that the conditions these men face are utterly inhumane. Cruel and unusual punishment is un-American, as is the concept of punishment without trial. But this treatment would be equally unacceptable for convicted criminals. 

The government is using this pretrial hell center to inflict punishment, in the absence of due process and the legal protections guaranteed by our Constitution. The government can do this simply because they have the power, the monopoly on overwhelming force, and there is no one to stop them. 

We might chide America by saying, “Well, this is what you voted for,” but of course it wouldn’t be true: These men are in prison precisely because this is not what we voted for, and the government in power is not the government we elected. 

Not only do your votes not matter: No votes matter, which is why no one shows up for Biden or Harris rallies. Why even bother pretending? The Left has what they want—nascent totalitarianism. So there’s no need for people on the Left to subject themselves to Kamala Harris’ attempts to sound human. America as a whole appears to have accepted the principle that a candidate who generates unprecedented enthusiasm can be defeated by a candidate who can’t even read instructions off a teleprompter. 

And, should you fail to accept that, there is a special prison waiting for you, run by people who don’t bother to conceal their hatred for the country you love. Run by people who will take any excuse to abuse you, to hurt you, and, if they’re lucky, to kill you. Because you are the threat to the America they want.

About Dan Gelernter

Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Connecticut.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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