Merrick Garland Is Doing The Work. Stop Yelling “DO SOMETHING!” At Him.

Jeremy Fassler
4 min readJan 5, 2022
Photograph Courtesy of Getty Images

I just watched Merrick Garland’s press conference this morning and wanted to share a few thoughts about what he said, why it’s important, and why we have to stop screaming “DO SOMETHING!” at him now that it’s been almost a year since the day the yahoos stormed the Capitol.

Garland and his team are doing the work to bring everyone involved in January 6 to justice, despite what Twitter may say. In his speech today, he gave some numbers that show what they have accomplished so far:

- Arrested and charged more than 725 defendants.

- Gotten 145 guilty pleas on charges of misdemeanors.

- Charged more than 325 defendants with felonies, including assaulting officers and obstructing official Congressional proceedings. 20 of these defendants have plead guilty (so far).

- Have scheduled 17 defendants to go to trial for their role in felony conspiracies.

- Received more than 300,000 tips from ordinary citizens regarding those who were involved in the January 6 attack.

Yes, these charges appear small compared to what many want to see him charge Trump and Company with. But smaller charges beget greater ones, and it’s important for prosecutors to start small so as to work their way up the ladder. You can’t do it in reverse because you’re more likely to make a mistake that way.

This is all important stuff to know, and I encourage people to listen to Garland’s speech today so they can get the facts straight. But am I hopeful that they will get the right message from him? Unfortunately, I am not.

The Trump presidency shattered people’s conceptions of how government operates. By acting as Trump’s personal henchman, William Barr not only defied hundreds of years of precedent, but also made a lot of Democrats envious. Whenever I see people get on MSNBC or Twitter and yell that Garland needs to “DO SOMETHING!” I am reminded of the moment in Dr. Strangelove when George C. Scott learns of the Russian doomsday machine that will ultimately lead to nuclear annihilation and his response is, “I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.”

Jeremy Fassler

Freelance writer and journalist. Bylines: The New York Times, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, etc. Co-author of The Deadwood Bible with Matt Zoller Seitz.