There have been many books about the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Doubtless there will be many more to come.
But you will be hard-pressed to find one more visceral, more frightening, more damning that Michael Fanone’s “Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop’s Battle for America’s Soul.”
Fanone, in video footage of that day seen round the world, was a Metropolitan Police Department officer defending the Capitol when the angry mob of Trump supporters yanked him out of the building and almost killed him.
He was repeatedly Tased, beaten with a Blue Lives Matter flagpole, and kicked.
He suffered a heart attack, a traumatic brain injury, and was left with PTSD.
And, as he and co-author John Schiffman document, he was left with a burning need to hold those accountable for the vicious assault on him and the Capitol.
“The terrorists who attacked me should be sentenced like anyone else who intentionally assaults a police officer,” he writes. “A judge should consider their mindset at the time, the severity of the crime, and prior criminal record. In my opinion, each of them deserves many, many years in prison.
“But we shouldn’t stop there. Anyone who engaged in sedition on January 6th should be arrested and charged.
As he began the slow road to recovery, Fanone realized that many congressmen, media personalities, and even his own fellow officers either downplayed the day or disowned him outright.
Imagine being almost killed and the people you were protecting try to whitewash the attack as no big deal.
Georgia Congressman Andrew Clyde said Jan. 6 was a “normal tourist visit.”
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar said police officers were “harassing peaceful patriots.”
Fanone’s police union, ruled by Trump supporters, refused to condemn the assault on the Capitol or speak out on behalf of the officers there that day.
Determined to share his story with anyone who will listen, Fanone was repeatedly turned away from Fox News.
One producer told him point-blank that his story contradicts the narrative they are trying to push onto viewers.
Fanone reminds us that democracy held Jan. 6 because of the actions of a few.
And as someone who has attended the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, Fanone says he learned something:
“Violence was always part of the plan.
“That’s the thing with the Trumps. The truth is always worse that you can even imagine – worse than the cruelty and selfishness exhibited by the most depraved drug dealers I encountered in twenty years on the streets. The Trumps are evil, and then some. They continue to shock the conscience.”
On this eve of another momentous election, with rabid Trump supporters and election deniers on the ballot across the nation, you have to wonder: Will we hold the line?
One way or another, we’ll know soon enough.
You can purchase your copy of “Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop’s Battle for America’s Soul” on Amazon.