Put North Dakota’s Shannon Brandt in Prison for Life

Put North Dakota’s Shannon Brandt in Prison for Life
Shannon Brandt in a mugshot. (Stutsman County via The Epoch Times)
Dominick Sansone

Does that sound extreme?

It shouldn’t. Not to a healthy society, at least.

Shannon Brandt, 41, ran down 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his car in North Dakota due to a supposed political disagreement. He then fled the scene, leaving the teenager to die of his injuries.

Brandt was drunk and argued that he felt threatened that Ellingson was calling people to come hurt him (Brandt). He claims that the teenager was a part of a “Republican extremist group.”

None of those claims have been substantiated as of yet. Ellingson’s mother previously stated that her son called her before the incident took place, asking if she knew Brandt. Ellingson supposedly called again a short time later, claiming he was being chased.

A lot of the details around the case are currently unclear. Apparently, Brandt did, in fact, know Ellingson’s family.

My recommendation for life in prison is, of course, based on the premise that Brandt is proven guilty of what he is currently being accused of under the present details of the story.

Let’s err on the side of caution, assume the worst even, and say that all of Brandt’s accusations are true. The 18-year-old, just setting out on his life’s journey, was part of a heinous secret underground militia seeking to overthrow the U.S. government. He was on his way to the state capitol to riot, insurrect, or whatever. Brandt tried to stop him but couldn’t. Ellingson subsequently called members of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and every other non-descript “domestic terrorist group” left-wing bugaboo to come beat up Brandt because of their political disagreement.

My request stands: Put Brandt in prison for life.

Jan.6 prisoners rot in solitary confinement to send a political message: “Dissenting to the legitimacy of the regime will not be tolerated.”

Protesters are seen at a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)
Protesters are seen at a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)

I say that murdering a young man due to a supposed argument about politics, therefore, logically warrants a prison term for life.

Given what is already known for sure, Brandt’s justification for his action sounds ridiculous. It’s hard to argue that you’re the one who is at risk when you mow down your apparent assailant (who was unarmed, by the way) in a drunken rage.

Vehicular manslaughter” in North Dakota is a class A felony. It carries with it a prison term of 3 to 20 years. Meanwhile, Class AA felony murder (maximum punishment life in prison) under North Dakota law includes the provision that a person “causes the death of another human being under the circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

I’d say it’s pretty “indifferent” to angrily run over an unarmed teen and then leave him to die like roadkill.

Without making light of the tragedy, this case is so important because it represents how we as a society are becoming desensitized to the real threats tearing apart our social fabric.

A young man is ripped from the prime of his life due to a supposed political disagreement several weeks after President Joe Biden described anyone who opposes him—which it sounds like Ellingson did—as a “semi-fascist” threat to the public order. If it had been a 41-year-old pipe fitter in a red MAGA hat who had run down a transgender 18-year-old, I would still be arguing for life in prison.

The difference is that if that were the case, every mainstream media outlet would also be arguing for life in prison. We all know that there would be non-stop, around-the-clock coverage of it. You’d be getting Apple push notifications about it until this November’s midterm elections and likely beyond.

Unsurprisingly, there has been no statement by the Biden administration. Instead, he continues to hold summits about white supremacy and domestic terrorism. It is becoming painfully apparent that the FBI is fabricating the threat to please its political overlords. According to the statements of one FBI whistleblower: “If they [American citizens] have a Gadsden flag and they own guns, and they are mean at school board meetings, that’s probably a domestic terrorist.”

“The demand for White supremacy vastly outstrips the supply of White supremacy.”

Everyone intuitively knows this to be true. The lie that the United States is wracked by anti-black racism is a political tool to divide the American people, incite an emotional reaction, and get people to vote based on passion rather than reason.

This is unfortunate for people of all races in the United States. The administration diverts much-needed resources—which should be used to fight real crime—for its own political expediency.

Meanwhile, the type of act, such as what occurred in North Dakota, will get no attention. Biden continues his rhetoric that seeks to demonize political opposition and inflate false threats, sowing distrust among neighbors and creating the illusion among many that there is an evil racist lurking around every corner. This is what played out in the sad case of Ellingson’s murder. And it is the type of behavior that will only be further facilitated by this type of speech.

What should Americans do?

A good place to start would be to highlight the Brandt case and illustrate to people that violence against people of different political beliefs will not be tolerated.

The attorney general of North Dakota should support a prosecutorial initiative that seeks the maximum punishment for Brandt. The governor of North Dakota should also issue a public statement and make an example of the case. This will counter the component of that societal vision that portrays all opposition to leftist dogma as enemies of America, evil racists, and subsequently open targets for political violence.

North Dakota’s attorney general is Drew Wrigley. He is a Republican who previously served as United States attorney for North Dakota, appointed by then-President Donald Trump. The state’s governor is Doug Burgum, also a Republican. They can focus on the types of behavior that must no longer be tolerated.

The case of Ellingson is tragic. According to the details of the story, Brandt thought that he was justified in killing the 18-year-old because of his “extremism.” It doesn’t matter whether he was drunk or if he is apologetic. He must bear the repercussions of his heinous action.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Dominick Sansone is a doctoral student at the Hillsdale College Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship. He is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times, and has additionally been published at The American Conservative, The Federalist, and the Washington Examiner.