Historic. As someone who attended, that’s one word that can describe the US Capitol protest on January, 6th, 2021. A large group of disenfranchised Americans (some estimate over a million) took their grievances straight to the US Capitol building in Washington D.C. with almost all of them there to peacefully express themselves. They were able to surround the building and some of the more rowdy in the group were able to overwhelm the police and gain entry into the building.
No serious injuries occurred up until this point. Then Ashley Babbitt was shot while inside the Capital. She was a non-threat at the time as the video clearly shows, but a Capitol officer perhaps became nervous and shot her. She died almost immediately at the scene. Another Capitol Police officer died, apparently of a stroke after altercations with protesters inside the Capitol. “It was not clear if the blunt force had killed him; a chemical agent may have led to his death,” NYT reported, citing a source. Three others died due to medical emergencies essentially unrelated to the protest. 50 Capitol police officers were also reportedly injured.
The violence that happened was unfortunate but it needs to be put into proper perspective. This was a group of a million people, there are always going to be people that go too far, some probably don’t even represent many of the views of the rest of the crowd. There were also numerous reports of Antifa and other groups that aided in entering the Capitol. There was a door in the back of the Capitol where officers let Trump supporters into the building and even took selfies with some of them. We can hold the few that went too far accountable for whatever acts they were engaged in while taking an honest look at the protest as a whole.
Most of the media’s narrative is that of a violent siege, insurrection, or of terrorist attack on the Capitol, led by Trump and his supporters. This is a ridiculous narrative considering how they covered the BLM and other protests in the past that were much more violent and destructive to property. Yet the media still called them “mostly peaceful protests”.
Overall there were only two deaths that were connected to violence at the Capitol, with one being caused by the Capitol police officer using lethal force on a protester that was not a threat to him at the time. Considering the scale of this event, with such a large number of people, many of them very angry about how they have been treated by their government, still showed up almost entirely peaceful and unarmed and were able to make one of the biggest statements in American history.
Some say it backfired because of how it was able to frame all Trump supporters and all others at the Capitol as violent insurrectionists. It was successful because it sent a very loud message to the people on the Hill and K Street that pulls most of their strings. Any way you look at it, this was push back, this scared some people and it was done fairly cleanly given the large number of people there and the level of anger currently in the nation.
“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.” Any show of numbers and any show of willingness to take action is enough to send a reminder as to what the people are capable of if we decide to act.
– Jimmy Bonadito