Alex Jones belongs in jail.
Make it happen, judicial system.
Yes, I'm talking to you, those of you educated and trained to ensure the fact that miscreants pay the price. And Alex Jones has a price to pay. Even though there are times when I believe that his crimes are unforgivable and that no condign punishment even exists, picturing him behind bars for the rest of his miserable life seems fair. It would be an excellent first step for victims trying to reassemble their own lives.
Monetary penalties won't help. If he's a millionaire instead of a billionaire, he will still have too much misbegotten wealth, too much stolen treasure, too much lucre callously looted from people in misery. He has poisoned lives, turned victims into pariahs, and shamelessly inflicted suffering on those already bereft. Precisely what does that cost?
Alex Jones belongs in jail. In prison. And I don't care how he gets there.
Yesterday he referred to his latest trial as a "kangaroo court." I wish it were true, because if it were, he'd already be safely ensconced behind bars. Instead, he is counting on the Constitution to save him like so many slanderers and lawbreakers. They snivel back to their rights to free speech, their rights to avoid self-incrimination, and their rights to a fair trial. They don't realize—or rather, they are too ignorant and malicious to realize—that our democracy does not depend on the Constitution. It depends, instead, on our decency as a people. Our humanity. Our empathy. It's difficult for an indecent person to see that.
Contrary to popular belief, the proscription against shouting fire in a crowded theater does not exist as law; but what decent person would do that? Who would, either for financial gain or malign self-satisfaction, imperil the well-being of others so recklessly? When someone like Alex Jones sadistically destroys the lives of others because "it's in the Constitution," I call bullshit. (Note: that may not be a legal term.)
People like Jones cherry-pick phrases that seemingly protect them, forgetting—or choosing to forget—that there's a preamble to that document they so openly revere, an introduction centering on the establishment of justice, a guaranty of domestic tranquility, and the promotion of the general welfare. Alex Jones has reveled in subverting every one of those goals; he has relinquished his right to the freedom associated with them.
Alex Jones belongs in jail, stripped of his wealth and the dignity he incorrectly thinks he possesses. I want him to confront prisoners daily, other men with children they yearn to see and whose lives they wish they could share. I want to know how his fellow criminals will look upon his so-called truth-telling. But I also want him protected, lest some stray shiv curtail his punishment. Let him live to a ripe old age—the longer, the better—as long as he is never allowed to foul the general welfare again. When he decided to enrich himself from the misery of parents who had seen their children slaughtered, he forfeited any remaining chance to wander unencumbered in society.
Alex Jones belongs in jail. In prison. In the worst hellhole the judicial system can find. And I don't want to see his photo on the news while his trial progresses–I know what he looks like. And while I'm making demands no one will honor anyway, I want his company legally renamed Info-Whores and pauperized so that none of his acolytes can pick up the pieces and start over. And I want the pieces themselves incinerated.
Some may claim this is too harsh, that he's not a mass murderer or a serial killer like Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer and thus deserves fairer treatment. Since I don't favor the death penalty, I'm fine with fair treatment: life without parole would be suitable.
Of course, this won't happen. The Alex Joneses of the world have always been able to weasel out of punishment, using their wealth as the necessary prybar to force open the gate. And since my belief in the Preamble prevents me from suggesting an angry mob and a rope, all we can do as decent people is ostracize him and all those like him who contribute nothing to the betterment of the country or the world.
While his trial progressed, the governor of Florida and presidential hopeful Rick DeSantis sent a planeload of immigrants to Martha's Vineyard. DeSantis thinks we have an immigrant problem—anyone who doesn't is not paying attention—but the cruelty of his actions transcends a political protest. He provoked an outcry, yet only along party lines. That's not good enough. Like Jones, like Donald Trump, like Greg Abbott of Texas, DeSantis lacks the empathy, humanity, and decency that would prevent most of us from exploiting what Robert Burns called our fellow mortals. This acceptance and appreciation of cruelty as a political norm emboldens people like Alex Jones. DeSantis should be ashamed. He isn't. How can we expect more from Alex Jones?
In a country where cruelty is rife, we have a lot of work to do. Scotching one Internet snake will not make everything better. But even if it's merely the first step on a long journey, let's lace 'em up and take that step while we still can.