Oath Keeper Graydon Young Is Very Sad That He Was Caught Attacking The Capitol And Punished

Photo: Alex Gakos/Shutterstock
Oath Keeper Graydon Young Is Very Sad That He Was Caught Attacking The Capitol And Punished

Graydon Young, a member of the Oath Keepers from Englewood, Florida and one of the participants in the coordination of the attempted insurrection that took place on January 6th, happens to be very upset that he’s landed himself in jail. 

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Apparently, it’s not such a pleasant place. Who knew? 

Probably the 2.3 million Americans currently incarcerated

It seems that Young has figured out pretty quickly that he didn’t want to be there. Because lawyers for Young have filed a motion with the judge presiding over his case to ask that his bail denial be reconsidered. 

Why did Oath Keeper Graydon Young want to get out of jail? 

The request cites the fact that Young has never served time in prison before as a reason that he shouldn’t have to now. His mental and physical wellbeing, they say, is at risk behind bars. 

“Prior to being detained, Mr. Young was a mentally strong and stable person with no history of mental disorders,” the motion argues. “His current emotional and psychological state is owing entirely to the fact that he has been detained and is unable to rely upon his normal social support systems.” 

Not only is the Oath Keeper and insurrectionist very sad about the fact that he’s in prison, it’s also upsetting to be away from his wife and children, because, as his attorneys claim, he’s “such a strong family man.” 

“The insurrectionist is a strong family man” can likely be filed under the label of sentences that have never before been uttered in the English language. 

Even so, like others facing the consequences of their roles in the Capitol attack, Young is claiming that he was somehow tricked into assisting a mob of dangerous domestic terrorists to overthrow the American legislature. He just didn’t know they were going to go that far, he says. Oddly enough, no one seemed to know. 

The available evidence suggests otherwise, however. The evidence says that not only did they know what they were doing, it was fortunate that the situation didn’t escalate any further than it did. 

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Young, and the other members of the para-military group who helped to coordinate the attack, were dressed for battle. They wore tactical gear and sported military-style communication tools.

Had they been presented with opportunities to carry out further carnage, the picture the investigation paints suggests that they would have. 

Young, or his lawyers, are right about what jail does to a prisoner's mental health. 

It’s not a lie that Young’s mental health could be compromised in jail. The instance of mental illness in inmates is higher than among the general population.

There are documented effects of serving time and the stress it can cause on the human body. So yes, he’s going to have a harder time than he would have sitting in his living room with his family. 

Though the conversation about prison reform is well underway, it’s generally focused on creating equitable conditions for over-incarcerated Black men and decriminalizing personal drug use. The fact that people who do wrong shouldn’t face the consequences of their actions isn’t part of that discussion. 

And it seems awfully odd for someone on the political right, where they’re fond of flinging insults like “snowflake,” would appeal for release from prison because they aren’t able to cope inside. 

Being white often means added sympathy from those in the justice system. 

Stories like Young’s are part of a troubling movement toward white exceptionalism. In 2013, the case of Ethan Couch took the world by storm, as the family used their wealth and influence as a defense against the fact that Couch killed four people during a drunk driving rampage. 

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Because people are white, or because they’re white and rich, is supposed to suggest that any repercussions for their actions are unnecessary. Such was the case with convicted rapist Brock Turner, who was eligible for a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. Instead, he was sentenced to six months and served just three. 

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In the Turner case, too, the argument in his defense was that serving so much prison time “would have had a severe impact on him.” In an unfortunate turn of events, it was the presiding judge himself, Aaron Persky, who held that opinion. 

The term that was thrown around to excuse the behavior of these men at the time was “affluenza.” It was used to refer to the idea that Couch grew up in such a wealthy family that he was legitimately sheltered from the phenomenon of cause and effect that regular people struggle with on a daily basis. It was said that, in Turner’s case, the champion swimmer had his prime athletic years ahead of him and had to be allowed to showcase his talents. 

How could these men have their futures stolen from them? their defenders asked. Even though they’d stolen away the futures of others. 

In terms of the prison population, less is more

In America, there are the “affluent,” and there are the “lesser.” If you’re in the latter category, perhaps based on race, gender, religious belief, or other arbitrary category, then you could be five to ten times more likely to be incarcerated than your WASPy peers. 

Mass incarceration has created an environment where certain states imprison Black men and women at such high rates that half of their inmates are Black. In Maryland, 72% of the prison population is Black. To illustrate how severe the disparity is, it’s helpful to remember that just 13% of the overall population of the United States is Black. 

For Young, the teary-eyed Oath Keeper and dangerous militant, and other white men like him, these statistics are in their favor. Until inequality within the justice system is stamped out, men like Young will continue to give a wink and nod to judges everywhere. “Let us out,” they’ll say. “We aren’t like the others. We deserve better than to face consequences.”

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Kevin Lankes, MFA, is an editor and author. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Here Comes Everyone, Pigeon Pages, Owl Hollow Press, The Huffington Post, The Riverdale Press, and more.