Equal Prosecutions for all Protestors


Equal Justice

Last week, the Justice Department announced the sentencing of an anti-abortion, or right to life protestor.  The terminology isn’t important here.  Even her cause, though wildly controversial, isn’t the point of this story.  What is important is the sentence.

Lauren Handy – terrorist

Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Washington DC US District Court Judge gave Lauren Handy a 57-month sentence for her crime.  It was lower than the 78 months that the US Attorney asked for, but that is a heavy hit.  

Almost anyone would describe Handy as a radical.  She has been arrested several times for blocking abortion clinics on state cases.  She persisted.  But not anymore.  She is doing 5 years in federal prison.  Her co-defendants are looking at serious time too.  Three have already received sentences between 1 and 4 years.  Several others are awaiting similar punishments. 

What violent terroristic act could have caused such a harsh response from the Department of Justice?  Handy and her co-defendants were convicted of civil rights conspiracy and of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (did you know that is a law?).

The facts of the case are as follows – On October 20, 2020, Handy and her accomplices made an appointment at a Washington DC abortion clinic under a false name.  When Handy showed up for her appointment, the group “pushed their way into the waiting room and blocked its doors with their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes” (let me know when this fact pattern starts to sound familiar).  They refused to leave and inconvenienced those attempting to access the clinic.  One patient had to climb through a window to get to her appointment.  Others missed their appointments completely.  They did not injure anyone, although an employee of the clinic twisted her ankle at some point (the feds called this violence but never spelled out how the injury occurred and never charged assault).

We remember October 2020 quite well.  NYPD cops were still getting detailed out around the city to respond to BLM protests over the death of George Floyd.  We spent the summer being assaulted by protestors who conspired to shut down bridges, block entrances to public buildings, and maybe even start fires and loot stores.  I’m sure at least 3 people missed medical procedures due to well organized sit-ins and protests.  Maybe someone even caught COVID! 


Those cases were all dropped by local DAs.  As far as we know the Department of Justice didn’t even attempt to investigate who was behind the nationwide riots.  Perhaps they were “spontaneous” uprisings and the crowds just wound up blocking the Brooklyn Bridge numerous times by happenstance. 

We see the same pattern with the pro-Palestinian protests.  Blocking school entrances. Destroying property.  Setting up barricades.  Reading from the same cue cards.  Buying the same tents.  It is certainly organized to some degree.  Students were denied access to their campuses.  Again, there is no federal case here. 

And perhaps there should be no wide-ranging federal case.  We are not advocating for the federal government handing out serious jail time for protestors.  We are not looking for a Palestinian advocate or civil rights marcher to get a 5-year bid in federal lockup.  There is a First Amendment in this country. But we should, as a nation, know who is coordinating the protests.  If there are foreign actors sowing discord in our country, we would like someone to investigate it.  We also want to see protestors of all opinions being treated the same.  That is the meaning of the oft used phrase, “rule of law”.

The Department of Justice should not be picking which protestors are “right” and which are “wrong”.  The United States is supposed to be a country that respects the law and practices equal justice.  In the past, the United States ran afoul of that goal with disastrous results for groups like African- Americans and homosexuals.  You would think that the DOJ would have learned that lesson by now.  A five-year sentence for a non-violent protest is the true crime here.

Mayor Pete drives us out of our lane

This is not exactly in our wheelhouse, but…..The head of the Federal Department of Transportation is former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  He ventured out in public this weekend to do an interview with Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face the Nation.

If you want a lesson in mealy-mouthed double-speak check out the full interview.  Pete manages to get through the entire conversation without saying anything of substance and giving no evidence that he has ever shown up to work since being appointed to Transportation Secretary in February of 2021.   

Later that year, Joe Biden’s plan to Build Back Better included the so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (so we know to blame both parties). You can read the full text of this boondoggle here, but one of its provisions was to allot $7.5 billion dollars to build electric vehicle charging stations, particularly along the federal highway system. 

The number of these stations built so far is 7 or 8.  That is the actual number.  Not 7 or 8 hundred, just 7 or 8.  Margaret Brennan asked why so few.  Buttigieg naturally obfuscated.  His answer was so inane that Brennan actually laughed in his face.  We are not sure you are able to laugh in the face of a Cabinet Secretary and continue to host a news show, but Brennan is testing the boundaries of this censorious administration. 

The Secretary of Transportation was kind enough to explain to the public that you can’t just take a charging station and place in somewhere, expecting it to work.  Its not that simple.  In case you thought that charging stations ran on unicorn farts, Pete explained that they require infrastructure like an electric line.  Talk about complicated!  No wonder there are only 7 or 8.  Just last month I had to get an electrical line from my home power grid to my back deck.  It took me at least an hour with the help of a friend who ensured I didn’t burn the house down. 

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“It needs to be plugged in to work” – Pete Buttigieg

We are not sure which is worse, that after 2 years there are only 7 or 8, or that Pete wasn’t certain which was the right number.  7 and 8 are so close, and when you run out of fingers on one hand, you might lose count when you switch to the other.  We do know that they are doing better than 6 but that 9 is right out.

In libertarian circles, there is a saying that “Taxation is Theft”.  We don’t agree with that, but the Biden Administration is doing its best to convince us that we are wrong.   Thanks for putting in a hard day’s work Mayor Pete.  You really opened our eyes.

Golfer arrested – a perfect opportunity

The world’s number 1 golfer, Scottie Scheffler, was arrested last week in Louisville, Kentucky for a “misunderstanding” that led to a police officer being injured.  A minor injury, but there is a lesson here. 

Scheffler was approaching the Valhalla Country Club for a tournament when he saw emergency lights and police cars blocking his way.  Scheffler is important and had to get to his important tournament.  Perhaps he assumed that the lights were for people watching the tournament.  Maybe since he was a player, he would be allowed past to get to the club house. 

Best case scenario is that Scheffler was mistaken.  Scheffler crossed into a lane of oncoming traffic to get around the roadblock.  A uniformed Louisville Metro Detective directed him to stop.  He did not.  The cop was allegedly dragged by Scheffler’s car and suffered an injury.  (perhaps worse than a twisted ankle!).  Scheffler eventually stopped and was immediately arrested and charged with assault.  The case is still being investigated, but Scheffler said that he thought that he was allowed to cross the police roadblock.

Scheffler was wrong.  The police were not there to prevent the common folk from entering.  They were not there to inconvenience him.  They were there because a man was killed.  A worker at the course had been crossing the street and was killed by a passing motorist.  It was a serious scene, and the police were conducting an investigation.

The case against Scheffler will probably go nowhere.  Reports are already emerging that the prosecutor will not prosecute.  There are questions about the detective’s story.  We weren’t there and don’t know what the right call is. 

But we do know one thing.  We have been in this situation numerous times before.  We are sure every cop had been there.  Someone has something important to do.  The crime scene tape isn’t meant for them.  Cops are dumb and I won’t listen to them.  Maybe they are just clueless.  Whatever the cause, these types of conflicts happen hundreds of times a day. 

What we would like to see is for Scotty Scheffler to seize this opportunity and turn it into a positive.  Dedicate some time to helping cops.  Reach out to the injured detective and mend fences.  Then knock out a few Public Service commercials detailing what happened.  Help cops who deal with this situation daily and make the job a little easier.  “I ignored the police and I was wrong”, “don’t assume”, “listen to the police”, etc. 

Scheffler’s incident was a minor one, but his help on this matter could have a positive impact.  It could help recoup his reputation and help police officers around the nation.  He could be a positive voice to ensure cops don’t get hurt or killed. 

In memory of NYPD Detective Anastasios Tsakos – killed on April 27, 2021 while investigating a fatal accident on the Long Island Expressway by a motorist who refused to stop.

Thanks for reading The Ops Desk. Stay Safe!


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