Note: The opinions expressed in commentary on KCAW are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.

Charles Dean

My name is Charles Dean.

On January 6, 2021, Ashli Babbitt was recorded on videotape undertaking actions in the U.S. Capitol Building that should have provided Capitol Police with sufficient probable cause for her arrest and, at a grand jury’s pleasure, trial by a jury of her peers. That was what was wanted.

Instead, she was, by reasonable observation, shot by a law enforcement professional surrendering to panic under color of law, a Capitol Police lieutenant whose disregard for the use-of-force policy of both his agency and of generalized norms in that instance, was in my belief so blatant as to shock the conscience. The investigation conducted was highly irregular in process, thus, again, in my view, suspect in absolution of the officer involved. Ms. Babbitt was unarmed and presented no means by which to project deadly force. That the officer in question still carries a badge adds insult to her fatal injury. 

Ms. Babbitt was neither a martyr, nor a heroine, nor are any of the others who entered the building illegally and are now justly facing the consequences of their actions; virtuous by their lights perhaps, but as I have commented about someone in town whom I admire greatly, “virtue is never cheap, and it must pay its own price.” That said, Ms. Babbitt was a citizen of these United States, and her rights to due process unalienable, hers reinforced by her service to our country in uniform, in hostile environs.

I very much doubt that there is much sympathy for her in this little blue redoubt of Sitka-by-the-Sea, but I am of a mind to offer her “rest in peace.” And so, herewith, I do. 

Because either all lives matter, or none of them do.