Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Who Were the Rioters at the Capitol?

             Rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, while members of Congress were certifying the presidential election. Several rioters were wearing MAGA hats and patriotic colors and were carrying American flags and Trump flags. Trump was blamed for inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol. However, there are problems with timing and distance. Trump supporters would have to have done time travel to listen to Trump’s speech and be at the Capitol when the perimeters were breached.

            There are also questions about why the Capitol’s perimeters were so easy to breach. U.S Capitol Police and the city officials were aware that Trump had invited his supporters to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. They had plenty of time to prepare properly to secure the building. Rioters had few problems getting past security, and videos showed police moving barriers and waving protesters past them.

            I have heard that both the FBI and the Pentagon offered help in securing the building, but their offers were declined. I have also read that the Police Chief asked for help, and the security officers in both the House and Senate denied it. Maybe they thought that they had enough police, but they obviously did not. The simple fact is that there were not enough Capitol Police officers in the building or at the entrances to it.

            Republicans and conservatives have been condemning violence in the nation since Memorial Day and all summer. Stores were looted, and cities were burned. Police stations were taken over, businesses were destroyed, and people were killed. Yet, media claimed that the “protests” about George Floyd’s death were “mostly peaceful” – even when we could see buildings burning behind them. Democrats and liberals encouraged the riots until the appearance of rioters that resembled Trump supporters.

            Americans know that Black Lives Matter protests and Antifa actions were often violent. If either of the groups had announced that they were going to the nation’s capital to protest, there could have been more police available to protect against them. However, pro-Trump gatherings have been mostly peaceful, and this history might have the Capitol Police to relax. This was obviously a mistake.

            Lora Rie and Steven P. Bucci wrote about the attack on the Capitol. They said that Washington, D.C., “has dozens of law enforcement agencies, each with different jurisdictions.” However, only one agency reports to congressional leaders – the Capitol Police. 

The day of the riot, Capitol Police was worked with the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service (a division of the Department of Homeland Security), and U.S. Park Police (a division of the Interior Department), as it commonly does, to make our public spaces secure, accessible, and protect the process of democracy.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned Thursday effective Jan. 16, stated that the Capitol attack was unlike anything he had ever experienced in his 30 years of law enforcement in Washington. Rioters attacked Capitol Police officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, chemical irritants, and other weapons.

“They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage,” Sund said.

            There were more than fifty officers from the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Departments who were injured in the attack. A few of them were injured so badly that they were hospitalized, and at least one who died from his injuries. The officers walk a fine line between allowing Americans to enjoy their First Amendment rights and securing the nation’s capital. As more information about the attack becomes available, it appears to be witnessing that the attack was done by “bad actors” and not the normally peaceful Trump supporters.

Sund’s description of the clashes with Capitol Police sounds familiar because it is. The tactics used in the riot last week resemble those used in riots that occurred in multiple cities throughout 2020. Law enforcement officers and buildings around the U.S. have been attacked with pipes, rocket-grade fireworks, and other dangerous weapons since May by Antifa and Black Lives Matter criminals.

The difference is the 2020 riots occurred in the dark of night and most of the mainstream media showed little of the rioters’ violence, downplaying the attacks as “peaceful protests.”

Slowly, information is coming forward that bad actors at prior riots were involved at the Capitol riot as well. Some rioters wore the typical black bloc garb and helmets, others donned Trump paraphernalia to blend in. At a minimum, Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol was fully informed by the lessons of previous actions.

The rioters had watched the tactics and techniques of the Antifa criminals (which included violence, weapons, and destruction) and the nearly non-existent legal repercussions meted out by liberal city and state governments (the vast majority of criminals who were arrested were released without charges), as well as the validation the earlier rioters received (such as having streets named for them).

            Hopefully, the Capitol Police Department learned their lesson and will be better prepared in the future to deal with large crowds. Also, maybe Americans will learn that things are not always what they seem to be at first.

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