Letters to the Editor: Prosecuting sedition is hard, but it absolutely must be done

President Trump speaks at a podium next to American flags.
President Trump speaks to supporters before the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
(Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

To the editor: I agree that those who participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol deserve to be charged under federal sedition statutes. But I’m a little puzzled by columnist Harry Litman’s reference to seditious conspiracy only. (“Was the Capitol attack sedition? Pay attention to what the statute says,” Opinion, March 25)

There are federal statutes prohibiting incitement, assistance and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the U.S., and another for sedition, which is the organized incitement to rebellion or civil disorder against the authority of the state. Both of these statutes seem pertinent.

I recognize that it can be difficult to prove a case like this, but I believe it’s appropriate and necessary to hold those people accountable who sought to subvert our democracy. Whether we technically call them insurrectionists or seditionists, their attack on our democratic institutions and officials cannot go unpunished.


Further, I think it’s crucial for former President Trump to be charged for his blatant and reckless incitement of that insurrection. He was, and remains, a traitor to our country, having betrayed his oath of office and the entire country with his outrageous attempt to overturn an election.

T.R. Jahns, Hemet


To the editor: James Reston Jr., in spelling out how an effective commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6 might be structured, compares that incident to other national traumas such as the John F. Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks.

The difference between those events and the insurrection of 2021 is that after the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks, there were bipartisan demands for investigations, proof and answers. Everybody wanted to know.

The insurrection of 2021 is different. One of our two major political parties is at best sympathetic to, and at worst supportive of, that attempted coup. Members of that group cannot be helped, and most likely would be harmed, if the entire truth was understood.

A commission of which several members have a vested interest in perpetuating a cover-up seems unlikely to produce a enlightening report.

Richard Shafarman, Santa Clarita