How to help J6 defendants

My husband, Thomas Caldwell (“Tom”), quite surprisingly to me, is now known as a ‘January 6er or J6er’ criminal defendant.  This term is applied to people who went to Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021 to hear President Trump speak, to march to the U.S. Capitol, and to peacefully protest there.  That is what more than 500,000 January 6th attendees did that day -- including me.  Unfortunately, many were arrested for simply exercising their First Amendment rights.  My husband is one of those.  He never entered the U.S. Capitol, did not commit any violence against anyone or anything, and did not plan or participate in any kind of attack on the Capitol.  Yet, he was wrongly scooped up and thrown in jail for 53 days.  Most of his jail time was spent in solitary confinement.

At the time of his arrest, Tom was 66 years old.  He is a retired Navy officer and a disabled veteran who lives with chronic pain, debilitating spinal conditions, and other ailments, mostly due to his selfless service to our country.  He has no criminal history and has been an upstanding citizen for half a century.  He is a gentle, fun-loving soul.

Tom is innocent of all the charges the DoJ and FBI have thrown at him.  Lies about him have been spread worldwide through the media.

In my husband’s case, he was arrested on January 19th, 2021 after virtually no investigation.  Under political pressure, an extreme rush to judgment ensued.  As a result, many statements and assumptions were made about Tom which are false. The DoJ has backed off on many false accusations, but charges against Tom remain.  My expectation is that they will all be dropped some day (as they should be), or he will be fully acquitted.  Learn more about my husband’s case and help us with our legal battle.

Tom and I have been through so much over the past year: separation when he was in jail (where we were convinced he would die), tons of worry and anxiety, struggles to find legal representation, financial problems, health issues -- but we’ve gotten through it all by the grace of God.

In our darkest times, God was by our side giving us strength, love, and peace.  As we reflect on our struggles of the past year, we also reflect on the many blessings and miracles we’ve experienced, which are too numerous to mention here.  So we are putting aside any worries about what may happen in the future and are focusing on the joy of being together and the coming celebration of Christmas.

Tom and I know how very fortunate we are that he was released from jail -- although he remains under house arrest.  But we know that it is easier for us to rejoice and enjoy the holiday season than it is for those whose loved ones are J6ers still incarcerated awaiting trial.

I do not know the details of those still being held in pre-trial detention, but I do know this:  the vast majority (if not all) of the people currently held should be immediately released into the custody of their loved ones -- under house arrest if necessary.  Most of the detainees have zero criminal history and have been upstanding members of their communities for years.  You cannot convince me that there are no conditions of release which would ensure the safety of their respective communities (the talking point used for their 8 to 11 months of imprisonment).  These political prisoners (it is unbelievable that this is allowed to happen in America) pose no danger or threat.  The worst part of this is the suffering their loved ones are going through -- their wives, children, and others -- who are totally innocent.  When you imprison someone, you imprison the entire family. 

Accordingly, my plea to you this Christmas season is to have compassion for the J6ers and their loved ones.  Pray for them.  Help them.   There are many ways you can help a J6er.  You may donate to individual defendants, adopt a family in need this holiday season, and get information on how to send cards and letters to those incarcerated or under house arrest.  Prayers, cards, and letters provide tremendous joy, hope, and strength to those affected.  Believe me, Tom and I know this first-hand and we are overwhelmed, thankful, and humbled by the support we’ve received.  You can do something very tangible to give others joy and hope.

This special time of year -- whether you celebrate Christmas or you don’t -- is a perfect time to reflect on how we can all be better and come together again as one country.  Let’s find a path to true unity (but not uniformity) as one nation under God.  May we find unity in the love of our country, love of others, and the freedoms we hold dear, yet celebrate the glorious differences we all have (differences of opinion, perspective, lifestyle, etc.), which make each of us unique and special.  The strength and health of our country are truly in the hands of ‘We The People.’

We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Sharon Caldwell is retired from her numerous professions and manages a farm in rural Virginia with her husband, Tom.  In her working life, Sharon was a scientist, a human resources professional, and a small business owner.

Image: Tyler Merbler

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