Derrick Evans attacked the United States Capitol building on January 6th, 2021. He filmed himself at the violent breach of the East Rotunda doors. He shouted at and obstructed the police officers trying to protect the United States Congress as it counted the electoral votes for the 2020 Presidential election, saying “[b]ring the tear gas. We don’t care. We’re taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today’s a test run. We’re taking this country back!”
When he was charged with his crimes, he changed his tune immediately. Evans resigned from the House of Delegates. He said he took full responsibility and regretted the hurt and embarrassment he had caused his loved ones, presumably including his grandmother, who had to tell a TV reporter “thank you” to former President Trump for “inviting [her Derrick] to a riot.”
Evans briefly pretended to have been a journalist at the event where he had filmed himself yelling — and this is a direct quote — “Trump! Trump! Woooo!” but dropped that when he plead guilty. He agreed to cooperate with the government in its investigation of his fellow rioters. He said he made a “crucial mistake” and “let down his family.”
Evans went to prison and should now be on supervised release. As a felon, Evans may not have guns. He is not eligible to vote at least until the end of his supervision, and he appears to have no active registration. He may not serve on a jury while his voting rights are forfeit in West Virginia.
But Derrick Evans thinks he should be a United States Congressman.
Twenty-five years ago, Paul Simon wrote a song that starts out like this:
Killer wants to go to college
He wants to get his parole
So the Department of Corrections
Will release him in the fall. . .
The song was based on the true story of a convicted murderer named Salvador Agron. He killed two teenagers when he was 16 in a botched gang fight and got sentenced to death. Agron became a born-again Christian, had his sentence reduced, and took classes at the State University of New York. After his release he counseled youth against the dangers of gang life, before dying in 1986.
He never ran for Congress though.
It’s now well-established that the Capitol was attacked as part of a seditious conspiracy against the United States. The conspirators intended to stop the counting of the electoral votes from the 2020 Presidential race in order to prevent the Biden Presidency from beginning, and to keep the losing candidate, Donald Trump, in office. Many police officers were injured and several people lost their lives that day or soon after. The charge of seditious conspiracy was not laid against Derrick Evans though, because it has so far been reserved for leaders.
Evans now says his conviction (upon his own sworn plea of guilty) was actually a miscarriage of justice and that January 6th is a day to “celebrate” “his fellow J-6ers.” He claims he was a “political prisoner.” Recall though, that Evans swore to cooperate with the government (that is, snitch) against his “fellow J-6ers.” It’s sad, but there’s no honor among traitors.
Evans is said to be writing a “defiant book” and many politicians do that. But while the announcement about the book is out there, the actual book has not appeared. Moreover, typical office-seeker books do not concentrate on the author’s own criminal history, but, as Simon put it:
Killer wants to go on the T.V.
He wants to talk about his book
Make my life into a movie
I got the style. I got the look.
When he’s not writing his book, Evans talks a big game about our Constitution and he aggressively posts memes to facebook. But West Virginians might wonder about a man who says he loves our Constitution but also tried to overthrow it when, in his words, he “got caught up in a moment." Flip-flopping hurts.
Evans’ campaign faces other problems as well. It’s pretty much mandatory to brandish a firearm if you don’t actually shoot something in your West Virginia political ads these days. But Evans is not allowed to have guns so filming his ads will be difficult. Of course, he could just break the law and then say he’s really sorry to the judge with his fingers crossed.
Still, we ought not underestimate him. After all, the United States Congress has never been more ready for someone like Derrick Evans. The new Republican majority spent all of last week making fools of themselves at the Capitol. One GOP Congressman had to be physically restrained from attacking another. A different one called his own Republican colleagues “terrorists,” but then he negotiated with them. George Santos, the new Republican Congressman from New York, has told so many lies even Evans is embarrassed for him.
Folks are being too tough on Derrick Evans if they say he shouldn’t run. We the People have made it clear: we're saying there's a chance. His opening social media post hit all the right notes: “illegitimate Biden regime,” “2020 stolen election,” “Obama’s war on coal,” — he knows the whole bit. Maybe January 6th, 2021 really was a "test run."