The Praying Grandma and the Eroding Rights of Americans

In 2009, I saw Slumdog Millionaire…in Mumbai. The story was captivating, and cinema is quite the experience in India, with their immaculate palatial theaters, plush reclining seats, and a formal playing of the national anthem.

The movie tells the life of an impoverished Indian boy as he grows up and provides a raw and honest look at the nation’s caste system. The storytelling centers around a popular game show, and there’s discord, a love story, and Bollywood dancing. I loved every minute of it.

Until I walked outside. 

It was like I stepped into the set of the movie. The exploited and abused children were everywhere, and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. My two year old Joshua and five year old Caleb were back home, so I was most attuned to the small ones, the pantless children unattended by parents or older siblings. The toddlers teetering on the curbside just inches from the rushing Mumbai traffic, which I can only describe as New York City meets Mad Max.

As offshore vendors courted is, the lucrative American contracts, showing off multi-million dollar building and technology investments while, with unseeing eyes, stepping over these pantless children, I spent the rest of my trip sick to my stomach.

In the brisk Colorado morning, vat of coffee in hand, I climbed into the back seat of a massive red truck and slid next to Rebecca Lavrens. A 70 year old grandmother, Rebecca went to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 to pray.

There was a lot of praying Monday as well, as she turned herself in to the FBI after federal charges were filed against her last week. The morning was emotional and uplifting, and Rebecca Lavrens is one amazing, faithful, courageous woman. 

Half a day later, after a jovial and delicious breakfast at Syrup for a couple dozen people, we filed into the Roberts Federal Court Building in Downtown Denver and queued up for security. Once through, we quickly made our way to the second floor and a long, sterile hallway. 

It was empty and silent.

The only case on the docket was Rebecca’s, and we quietly slipped inside the courtroom.

Clerks and other court officials spoke in whispers as they busily shuffled papers, passed them between each other, and checked their multiple screens. Then the lawyers came in, two prosecutors for the federal government and an impressive, court-appointed defense attorney for Rebecca. All three lawyers were women, smartly dressed and all business.

As the busyness turned into order, two US Marshals brought in Rebecca, her hands and feet shackled. They sat her in the second jurors chair and, like that moment in Mumbai, I stepped into Rebecca’s movie, the one we’d been discussing and imagining all morning . I was sick to my stomach.

Resolve and exhaustion marked her face but she had fierceness in her eyes. The presumably “lead” Marshall, a large, unpleasant man who exuded the intimidation of FEDERAL AUTHORITY, approached our group. We were not to communicate or signal Rebecca in any way during the proceedings.

I asked if I could ask a question, and he barked, “No,” before Rebecca’s attorney rushed over, up to the task. I asked about the shackles, and she said that all federal defendants are shackled. This was normal procedure. 

NOTE: There is no reason for this normal procedure. It’s demeaning and meant to break down those who should have the presumption of innocence. It’s The State flexing. Again. And it’s gross.

The Honorable Magistrate entered the courtroom, and we rose and then sat and then got down to business. Procedural matters were handled. 

The State was not recommending detention. How benevolent of them considering the misdemeanors in question happened almost two years ago, the government has been investigating the case for 15 months, it’s a week before Christmas, and the feds’ case is heavy on probable cause and light on evidence. Did I mention she is a (reserved and lovely) 70 year old grandmother?

The majority of the court’s business focused on the conditions of Rebecca’s recognizance bond. She must show up for all proceedings. She cannot commit additional crimes. She may have to undergo a DNA test. She must come back within two days to surrender her passport. All standard, procedural stuff, and all ridiculous. 

The federal government is out of control. 

This case originated in the corrupt Washington DC FBI Headquarters which is where she will appear via zoom in 10 days time. The allegations in the government’s case rely on probable cause that Rebecca was (1) in a “restricted” area, and (2) disorderly or obstructive. They’ve essentially charged her with the same two “crimes,” under two different federal statutes.

Two of the charges are Class A misdemeanors which each carry up to year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The other two are Class B misdemeanors which each carry up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. If The State determines that she violates these conditions, she faces an additional 10 years in prison and $100,000 fine, on top of whatever punishment a conviction brings.

On January 6, Rebecca was let in the East side of the US Capitol by the Capitol Police. Every one of her movements is on camera including, according to the FBI’s sworn affidavit, her discussions with Capitol Police officers while she was inside.

The FBI claims these images and the video they originate from are probable cause for the charges they’ve brought.

Quick question: If the praying grandmother was committing a crime, in a restricted area, and being disorderly or disruptive, why wasn’t she arrested by the officer who was chatting her up? Where is HIS sworn affidavit?

Rebecca walked through the building, prayed over the proceedings and, probably, marveled at the incredible architecture and history and sacredness of that place. I know I did when I marched against Obamacare, around the same time as that Mumbai trip, and all of us walked through the Capitol Building and into our Representatives’ offices at the urging of Tea Party leaders.

This was always allowed. 

In my lifetime, the Capitol Building has always been known as the People’s House. I’ve been through so many floors (and tunnels) of that building over the years, never with any issue, often delighted by the fascinating discussions with the public servants who work there (as well as less fascinating discussions with the politicians who squat there, paralyzed by incompetence, indecision, and corruption).

When did this area become restricted and, if it was restricted, why did the Capitol Police Officers usher Rebecca inside and chat with her during her eight-minute tour of our nation’s legislative power center?

The Conservative Daily show intro includes the Buffalo Soldier shouting, with calm and unagitated Capitol Police officers around him (and likely at their direction), “We have to be peaceful! We have the right to peacefully assemble!”

Well, we used to anyway. 

Reportedly, Tore “ToreSays” Maras is releasing her Lights, Camera, J6 documentary within the next couple months.

The Trailer alone raises myriad questions about professional camera equipment, suspicious and coordinated activities at key intersections in the narrative and, what appears to be, the scripted direction of handlers inside the capitol building orchestrating the whole thing.

The documentary promises to expose, and I am full of hope that Maras’ revelations will fill in the many gaps and botched story lines of January 6, 2021. This is a welcome development for those who attended J6 to peacefully and patriotically make their voices known and are now fumbling around in the dark attempting to figure out what’s real. Or being arrested for praying.

If you missed Tore’s previous documentary Enjoy the Show, it’s a must watch.

Rebecca’s movie is in its first act, and here are my takeaways:

First, there are good people fighting within the system. All of us panicked at the thought of a public defender, but the woman assigned to Rebecca was, as I said, impressive. She had Rebecca’s best interest at heart and was accessible and reassuring to Rebecca as well as all of us. In the age of eroding rights and the expansion of The State, that was a happy surprise. 

Second, the Sixth Amendment contains five principles that affect the rights of a defendant in a criminal prosecution: The right to a speedy and public trial, the right to be tried by an impartial jury, the right to be informed of the charges, the right to confront and call witnesses, and the right to an attorney.

But “speedy” apparently starts, at minimum, at five years. Rebecca’s attorney confirmed the feds’ statute of limitations for most crimes is five years. Think about all we’ve learned from the Twitter Files, and all the explosive reporting that has spun off from them; we can now see clearly the cross-institutional conspiracy to manipulate the minds of Americans.

And they have five years to come at you.

When I got home, I jumped into a Twitter Space to clear my head before sitting down to write this. The Space was run by @DoniTheDon, and it was the most engaging and reality-based discussion of our current American Crisis that I’ve heard in Twitter Spaces – by a wide margin. 

The topic was how we get ourselves out of this mess, and it was dynamic, engaging and echoed the everyday discussions I have with the unrepresented middle. What joy to find a Twitter Space that wasn’t focused on Taylor Lorenz, Yoel Roth, or the future of the Republican Party.

This was actually useful. 

The various ideas and solutions circled around building community and decentralizing power and influence. And that’s my final take away from today:

We have a blueprint for how to fix our current American Crisis. 

America is unique in that the US Constitution focuses on restricting the government to maximize liberty and justice for the People. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments reserve all other rights, those not captured in the Bill of Rights, locally. We need to unsuspend the Constitution, reclaim our personal sovereignty, and hold accountable every single oath breaker who failed to protect and defend our natural rights.

That’s our playbook. Let’s start with the Justice system – right after we secure free and fair elections. 

In the meantime, pray: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) 

I will continue to follow Rebecca’s story and document her journey. Stay tuned!