The demonstration that led to rioting and vandalism in Washington was the kind of public outrage we have seen hundreds of times in recent years. Most of the 20,000 protesters (as officially estimated by the FBI) were peaceful. In terms of actual violence, this one was in the lower half of the scale.
It was highly focused. There were no mobs running wildly through the streets of Washington attacking businesses, homes and vehicles. There was no mass looting and no neighborhoods being torched. There was no fusillade of rocks, urine and Molotov cocktails bombarding police.
There was one unfortunate death. A young female protester inside the Capitol Building was shot by police. The news media was not able to report the circumstances that resulted in that tragic situation, but this would not be the first riot in which people were killed.
Some media reported four deaths – also without detailed explanation. We did learn that the other three died from some “medical emergency” – perhaps heart attacks. Even under the best of circumstances, people will die wherever large crowds gather. It happens at sports events and theme parks.
Unlike many of those other so-called “peaceful demonstrations” around the nation, the crowds started to disperse quietly from Capitol Hill in the late afternoon. There was no effort to “occupy” the ground or set up some sort of “autonomous zone” as might real insurrectionists.
The only reported gun shot was the one that killed the young woman. In fact, considering how many of those people support carry and conceal, it is remarkable that there was not more gunfire. Maybe that is because legal gun owners are not generally involved in non-defensive shootings.
As bad as the damage was to some windows, doors and furniture, it was relatively minor compared to the damage done in the rioting, looting, arson, graffiti and statue toppling we have seen in recent riots around the country.
About 50 people were reported to have been arrested. We do not know the charges or if they will be summarily released as has been the case in most riots where a lot more harm and injury was done.
One point on which almost everyone agrees is that the various law enforcement agencies failed in dealing with the pre-event intelligence and the actions on the ground. Severe criticism was heaped on the Capitol Hill Police, the Secret Service, the DC Police Department, the FBI and the National Guard.
It did seem obvious that their efforts to protect the Capitol Building from being breeched was an inexcusable failure – and even the press could not blame Trump for that. The fact that the rioting mostly took place inside and immediately outside the building underscores that criticalness of the police failure.
What was dramatically different about this event was the reporting. Oh my God! The morning shows were filled with hyperbolic reports emphasized … make that exaggerated … by hysterical reports of a political Armageddon. According to the folks of the Fourth Estate, this was not a demonstration. It was not even a riot – a descriptive they generally loath to use even when city blocks are burning, and businesses are being looted. Those other riots are downplayed in the press as “mostly peaceful” – an appellation that could have as easily applied to the mostly peaceful events on Capitol Hill.
Instead, the attack on the Capitol was termed as a violent insurrection. It was sedition … treason. It was an attempted coup against the United States. The gathered crowd were domestic terrorists. Of course, it was none of those things. It was a bunch of people – rightly or wrongly (and mostly wrongly) – venting their anger at what they believed was a stolen election.
It appeared that most of the demonstrators understood that there was no way to overturn the results of the election. They were protesting – not looking to seize power. They wanted Congress to order further investigation of vote fraud. The Republic was in no real long-term — or even short-term — danger.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was so overcharged that he went off on one of his increasingly frequent unhinged screaming rants – even f-bombing his audience. He called for the immediate arrest of Trump, the Trump family, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and others on charges of sedition — and falsely assured his audience that the evidence is clear.
Playing off of the poor response by Capitol Hill police, Scarborough even conjectured that they were in sympathy with the demonstrators – giving them free access to the building. He went so far as to suggest that some of them may be part of Trump’s “cult.”
Scarborough brought in members of his pandering panels. Former Admiral James Stavridis declared that what happened at the Capitol was “as bad as 911.” Ponder that, for a moment. What happened in Washington on January 6, 2021 was as bad as a group of foreign terrorists hijacking three commercial airliners and using them to kill more than 3000 innocent men, women and children – toppling the two Trade Towers in New York City, crashing into the Pentagon in Washington and a force crashed into a field in Pennsylvania by heroic doomed passengers.
Stavridis did not stop there. He went on to say that Russian agents were probably part of the crowd. If we did not believe that we were just uninformed. Of course, he offered no evidence – just another Russian conspiracy theory.
CNN declared that their belief that it was all due to a strategic effort by Trump to remain President after January 20th. CNN declared the events of the day to be “the worst moments in presidential history.” Tell that to Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy.
They said it was the worst assault on the “House of the people” since the war of 1812, when the British ransacked our nation’s capital in an unsuccessful effort to get the colonies back. Somehow none of these anchors, reporters, historians and pundits remembered March 1, 1954, when a group of Puerto Rican independence terrorists actually stormed the gallery of the Capitol Building and shot up the peoples’ House while it was in session – wounding five members of Congress, one seriously.
They also seem to forget when anti-war demonstrators besieged the Capitol in the late 1960s. The photo atop this commentary was one I took during that demonstration – and yes, they entered the building, too.
Throughout the media-sphere, there were calls for justice. CNN’s Wolfe Blitzer demanded that police arrest and prosecute every one of the protestors – those terrorists and monsters, as they were called. Funny … I never heard Blitzer or his colleagues refer to looters and arsonists in those terms. Others suggested that the police use facial recognition to meticulously identify and arrest every possible protester.
Personally, I am all for identifying, arresting and prosecuting anyone who did damage or attacked police. It should be no problem arresting the guy posing for the camera while sitting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. That has been my consistent belief in ALL these riots — arrest and prosecute. It is just that the idea of arresting rioters en masse is a whole new idea from these left-leaning politicians and news folks.
The media got into a lot of whataboutism – that deal where you change the sides to suggest a difference or a hypocricy. What – they clamored – would have happened if these demonstrators were part of Black Lives, Inc. or a group of Muslims. Apart from ginning up racist friction, we already have the answers. In riot after riot, the leftwing politicians and media were hostile to any police action – especially siding with minority rioters. How many times did we witness homes being burned and businesses being looted as the police stood down – under orders of Democrat mayors and governors?
Remember how Mayor Ted Wheeler blamed those guarding federal buildings in Portland, Oregon for provoking the violence? Or how the police were ordered to stay out of their own precinct headquarters so that the anarchists could “occupy” it with their illegal autonomous zone?
While I can believe that for a few moments, there may have been a sense of fear among members of Congress as uncertainty reigned when rioters entered the building, but for them to act like they were actually attacked is a bit extreme.
Not one member of Congress was directly threatened, shoved, shot at or injured. Their chambers were not trashed. Even Lawrence O’Donnell, on MSNBC, conceded that the Senate Chamber was undisturbed by the rioters who milled about. Both houses of Congress were able to resume normal business shortly after the demonstrators and any rioters were either arrested or removed from the building.
Inadvertently, former Republican National Chairman (and now an MSNBC parroting panelist) Michael Steele hit upon the reason for the EXTREMELY hypocritical difference in the coverage of this demonstration compared to all those other leftwing riots. He said what happened on Capitol Hill was “in our house … our backyard.”
That self-indulgent, arrogant elitist Washington establishment – politicians and press – are going bonkers because the wrath of the mob is in THEIR face this time. The mob is not off in those distant neighborhoods populated by less privileged people. They do not care about all those businesses that could not operate as anti-American anarchists occupied the public commons – or because looters were stripping their stores bare of their stock in trade. They were not this riled up in support of those who lost their homes to arsonists. And not even sympathetic to the injured and dead unless the perpetrator was a cop or a rightwing nutcase. But let one demonstrator step on these folks $1000 Hermès loafers and it becomes a capital crime.
Those members of Congress who were shot at in 1954 – and those who were fired upon on that baseball field in 2017 — whined less than those who were propped up to complain on the major networks to grab media attention and further sensationalize the story.
What came across very clearly in all the news reports was that disconnected sense of privilege that infects the New York/Washington establishment. In responding to the events on Capitol Hill, the left-wing politicians and press have yet again foisted a willfully distorted narrative on the American people.
So, there ‘tis.
P.S. Before those of you on the left go bat sh*t bonkers because I did not address the role of President Trump in the short-lived siege of Capitol Hill, you will see that subject in a later commentary.