On Tuesday, a U-Haul crashed into a barricade outside the White House grounds. Immediately, speculation that the driver was a “white supremacist” after a Nazi flag was allegedly pulled from the wreck. In fact, the flag was spread out and displayed for reporters by the FBI agents on the scene.
Why did they do that? Someone will have to ask them, but the narrative became a lot more complicated after the driver was identified as Sai Varshith Kandula. Needless to say, he didn’t exactly fit the “white supremacist” profile.
Now, in a move that is sure to spark much speculation, the DOJ has suddenly downgraded the charges involved. The original charges were as follows.
While authorities have not provided specific details on the alleged threat, the US Park Police said the man faces the charge of threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a President, vice president or family member.
The driver also was also arrested on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, destruction of federal property and trespassing, according to the Park Police.
According to a new report (The New York Post), those charges have all been wiped away, and Kandula only faces a single count of depredation of property of the United States.
He had allegedly planned the attack for six months, with his goal to “get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation,” records show.
Kandula was accused of threatening to “Kill the President If that’s what I have to do,” and praised Nazism and Hitler.
He was originally charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or family member, as well as assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, trespassing and destruction of federal property, US Park Police said.
His federal charges have since been downgraded to a single count of depredation of property of the United States in excess of $1,000.
Prosecutors told the court Kandula is not a US citizen, according to Fox News.
The first thing that jumps out when reading that excerpt is that Kandula is clearly mentally ill. To the extent that he has any actual ideology, it’s overshadowed by the fact that no sane person would think they could seize the White House and be installed as the nation’s leader. That makes the media’s rush to paint this as some kind of right-wing “white supremacist” attack appear rather silly in retrospect. There was no plan here, and I’m pretty sure a guy named Sai Varshith Kandula isn’t actually a white supremacist. Whether he’s a real proponent of nazism at all is even in doubt.
The other thing to note is that Kandula is not a US citizen. Given that, it sure does feel like the federal government is just looking to sweep all this under the rug, after the preferred narrative collapsed in on itself. Of course, I’m speculating, but why else would they go so soft on the charges after the fact?
In the end, I would guess that Kandula being obviously mentally ill was the biggest factor in downgrading the charges, but shouldn’t that offer a lesson for everyone involved? Perhaps the press shouldn’t jump to rash conclusions in order to try to paint one side of the political aisle with such a broad brush. And perhaps the FBI shouldn’t be displaying nazi flags like trophies without knowing the full context of the suspect’s background. Of course, no lessons will be learned, and the next time something like this happens, they’ll do the exact same thing again.
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