Capitol Rioter’s Diet: Luxury or Necessity?


August Wells

    Prison has always been one of the worst punishments given to someone. Some may consider it to be a lesson, a cruel punishment, an arbitrary decision, or perhaps an entirely different description. Either way, prison has never been considered to have any luxuries. For this reason, privileges given to criminals have always been controversial. Recently, a prisoner was given such privilege. A capitol rioter known as “Qanon Shaman” was transferred from a DC jail to one in Virginia. His real name is Jake Angeli, an American conspiracy theorist. Angeli had sat stubbornly in jail, refusing to eat for nine days. He would not eat anything that was not organic. After nine days, a federal judge ordered him to be moved to a jail that could fulfill his diet. Angeli claimed he was practicing Shamanism, a belief in which eating any non-organic food could harm the body spiritually. To truly get an insight on the reaction of the public, a relative known as Rebecca Fields was interviewed on this matter and if it was a fair decision.

     To begin, Rebecca Fields was asked if it was irresponsible of the DC jail to let Jake Angeli go nine days without eating. She replied, “Yes and no. I mean, it sounds inhumane, but also he knew what he was doing when he got into it. That kind of gages what kind of rights you have, especially over food, you know. He could have eaten vegetables or something but he chose not to.” Continuing on with the questions, she was asked, “Who was responsible for supplying Angeli with his dietary needs, you believe?” Rebecca responded, “That’s another question I’m unsure of. I know the people of Islam have certain foods they eat, but this guy, um, well, I guess in the long run he deserves what every other prisoner deserves. However, he wasn’t religious. It was simply what he wanted, so I don’t know.” The third question was whether diets should be carried out in prison. Rebecca chimed, “Oh gosh, I guess, you know, if you’re looking at civil liberties, then yes. Especially if there is a medical reason, like allergies or sickness. But not just because they want to eat organic, I mean, good god, we all want to. Unfortunately it’s expensive, but when you’re in jail you don’t have to pay anything.” Following up that question, it was asked, “In your opinion, should he have gotten to carry out his diet based on his specific background and situation?” Rebecca said, “These people went there knowing it [the capitol riot] was wrong and criminal. It was a felony. They were coaxed by a lot of people, namely the one who was in the president’s office three weeks ago. I know now he says he never should’ve followed Trump now. So no, I do not think based on his background he perhaps shouldn’t have gotten that right. The next question requested that Rebecca explain exactly what she would’ve done. She said, “I probably would’ve said you need to eat what everyone else is eating. That is just my personal opinion though. With democracy and civil liberties though, you can’t violate someone’s rights. Personally, however, I wouldn’t have transferred him.” Then, the fifth question concerned whether there was any special treatment within this transfer. Rebecca said, “Possibly. But I think a Democrat might’ve made the same decision with pressure from pressure from the press. I do think there is an unfairness in certain states or wherever that is pro-Trump. I do think they may not always treat Democrats right or treat Republicans better.” Lastly, it was asked, “Should all prisons have dietary items for everyone?” Finally, Rebecca Fields said, “I do believe that. Some people have allergies and what not or medical needs that need to be fulfilled. Although, it was getting a little nit-picky with the “Shaman” diet. That was just what this guy wanted to eat. I want to eat steak every day, but I can’t of course. I think a few of these people need to figure out, if you commit a crime, you’re not someone special. That is what I have to say.”

    In conclusion, Rebecca Fields believes that Angeli getting to switch jails for his “nit-picky” diet was not necessarily the right choice. Although it is a civil right, the lines do get a little blurred in this situation. Rebecca is just one of many people who have something to say on this event. It is unsure whether other people think this way or not. I can tell quite clearly, however, that Angeli was given an unnecessary luxury. He shouldn’t have been given that opportunity. It isn’t fair and there would be no surprise to if it had anything to do with his crime and background that got him an advantage. Still, Angeli was given unequal treatmentand I know his transfer wasn’t the right choice. Angeli is currently still in his new jail, living out his diet as wished. No one truly knows if this was the intent of how prisoners would be treated for their diet, or any treatment for that matter.