Fired up by testosterone, paranoid delusions and a dangerously misguided sense of patriotism, members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers led the mob assault on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. They claimed that it was 1776 all over again, but their violent stunt was far more akin to the attack on Fort Sumter in 1861 — or maybe the 1933 burning of the Reichstag in Berlin.

Now leaders of those two militant right-wing gangs face up to 20 years in prison for their desecration of the American seat of government. Among them is a King County resident, Ethan Nordean. A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted him for seditious conspiracy, assault and destruction of government property. Added to the charges he already faces, Nordean could go to prison for as long as 50 years if convicted on all counts.

When Donald Trump sent hundreds of his supporters off to the Capitol to try to stop the tally of electoral votes that would make Joe Biden president, most of those in the mob were convinced they acted under the authority of their president. They felt they had been given carte blanche to commit any mayhem they desired. And mayhem ensued.

Luckily for our besieged republic, the law still has more legitimacy and weight than the ravings of a would-be autocrat who would not admit he had lost a fair vote. While Trump skulked off to his lair at Mar-a-Lago, hundreds of the rioters he inspired were tracked down by the FBI. Though most have ended up with plea deals and minimal jail time, evidence indicates that the actions of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were not spontaneous, they were carefully planned and that is why the indictments against them are the toughest, so far.

These beefy tough guys strutting around in their faux military garb boast about their muscular patriotism, but they are patriots only in their own muddled minds. The law says they are seditionists. And seditionist is just another word for traitor. 

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