The storming of the Capitol on January 6 will go down in history books. Words matter. Was it a “mostly a peaceful” protest? An insurrection? A riot? A break-in? Trespassing? A coup?
The answer to these questions depends on who you ask? What is their ideology? Whether or not they support Donald Trump? What media source formed their first impression? Whether or not they entered the building themselves and personally witnessed the events? What time did they get there? Which door of the Capitol did they go in, under what security/police presence, and who was immediately present?
Numerous credible witnesses, including public figures like #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka, described barricades removed by Capitol police who stood aside and allowed people to casually walk in the Capitol during a live congressional session certifying the 2020 presidential election.
Known journalists and reporters for mainstream media, TV affiliates, and newspapers reported Trump supporters recognizing Antifa infiltrators, pointing them out, and even physically stopping them from vandalism and forcible entry. Video footage of Capitol police opening doors for the protestors have made the rounds on the internet. They stand aside and invite them in. Let’s stop here and define our first term. “Storm.” The Greatest Generation in American history “stormed” the beaches of Normandy, arguably the most heroic and valorous act of WW2. These soldiers faced almost certain death as they pressed forward under such overwhelming fire that not being killed was sheer luck.
On January 6, 2021, the Capitol was so incompetently under-secured that no matter the intent, scores, if not hundreds of people, strolled in with little to no resistance.
In the instances where Capitol police made the now deadly decision to remove barricades and stand down, allowing the crowd to walk in, it is entirely reasonable to believe that people in the back of the crowd thought they were being allowed entry to a public building. Again, the video shows average Jane’s and Joe’s filing in like they were headed to the MAGA Rally VIP section.
Several eyewitnesses who readily admitted to walking in the building or that were near enough to the doors to see stated that they felt that the crowd was different from usual for a MAGA rally. Having been to pro-Trump events across the country for the last two years, I've noticed a predominant "look". Varied skin colors but always the same featured garb - red, white, and blue. Trump supporters that go to rallies dress like they're going tailgating for a football game or to a barbecue. But instead of their favorite team logo, they are wearing MAGA gear. Go to any live event, and there are always people in costume for the extra attention that this is a huge part of their life. Trump marches and rallies usually have a vast number of small groups - too many, it's a social event as well as a political one. It's common during a 4-8 hour event/outing to see the same people passing by multiple times.
On January 6th, numerous witnesses reported seeing people that seemed out of place, unconnected to the crowd, and exhibiting an unusual presence.
The Capitol Building and all public buildings and monuments are held in great esteem and honor by "Trump supporters." Trump supporters are the ones who objected most strenuously to the removal of historical monuments and to the damage done by rioters and domestic terrorists who burnt down cities, attacked police, and destroyed public property. It was too often older people, sometimes even veterans, that were savagely attacked as they attempted to protect public property from being destroyed. Liberal Democrat mayors made excuses, defended destruction, and even refused to prosecute the wrongdoers. This establishes a new norm for what is acceptable. Every Trump event that I've been to, MAGA people have left the facility cleaner than they found it. Back to that in a minute.
At the front of the Capitol's breach were people who have been allegedly identified as Antifa, at least one BLM member, and others who appeared loosely affiliated with some extremist group. Many reports of these infiltrators being dressed in MAGA gear as cover. One video particularly shows a young man who doesn't look or act like a Trump rally regular demonstrates tactical and methodical entry where he shows empty hands and tells a capitol policeman to back up. He then steps forward - progressing up a stairwell to make sure he doesn't justify deadly force. He knows the rules of engagement well.
No voter base supports law enforcement and the military like Trump supporters. Not with pandering words, but with action. The deaths of a Capitol Policeman and an Air Force veteran are the last thing anyone would imagine happening at the hands of "Trumpsters." These two service personnel are owed a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. There were five unnecessary deaths, and there is NO loyal Trump supporter that is not saddened over these deaths. Mounting evidence is showing there were very different elements of people that entered. Those that were at the Capitol at noon never went to see the President's speech. That wouldn't be the typical Trump supporter. They love the "show" Trump puts on. That's why they go to the rallies.
A sizable crowd of protesters had assembled at the Capitol at noon as Trump was beginning his speech. An enormous crowd of "MAGA's" were on the stage in the Ellipse watching the speech, which ran 12 minutes long ending at 1:12 p.m. Although many left the speech early disappointed at the tone, breaking police lines and going over barricades had already begun. It's a 25-30 walk without the slow down of a massive crowd, like when you're at a sporting event when the game is over, it takes a while to get clear of the crowd to get moving. The people that had been at the Capitol since noon, wearing unseasonable clothes, knee pads, rope, helmets, and looked out of place were waiting—waiting for the cover of a large crowd of Trump supporters to melt into. Same as Antifa showing up at just the right time all summer in 2020 at BLM protests.
When liberals and or Democrats cry victim of voter suppression, unfair treatment by police, inequitable results from courts, conservatives often reply to them "you need to vote," "don't resist arrest," "stop breaking the law", so the left was quick to condemn those who were present at the interruption of Congress. But there is one big, unprecedented difference. Trump supporters, unhappy with the status quo in Washington, did go out and vote. They elected a man who had never served a day in office as a politician. And four years later, they showed up again, 11 million more than before, and voted - in person. They built a huge Trump lead; then later, an insurmountable lead began to dissolve.
On election night, vote counting stopped with Trump in the lead. Then counting resumed in the middle of the night, with no observers. Then ballots poured in, in the hundreds of thousands. Then it got too close to call. Then more ballots were "found". 90% Biden. Trump is now down.
From November 3, 2020, Trump supporters exhausted every legal means they were ALLOWED to access a redress of their grievances. Governors refused to call for an investigation. Secretary of State refused signature verification and original ballot recounting and audit. Michigan's 71% of unreconcilable Wayne County precincts were instructed to certify what they had.
Legislatures demanded audits.
Legislatures refused to demand audits.
State courts dismissed claims or denied jurisdiction.
Federal courts denied jurisdiction and transferred back to lower courts.
State supreme courts denied standing and laches and the Supreme Court of the United States did essentially nothing.
The last legal venue for the integrity of a free and fair election lay in Congress, for their representatives to object to the certification of electors in which sufficient irregularities, violations of state constitutions by secretaries of State and governors who do not hold legislative power to change time and manner of elections, and numerous other legal challenges that at a minimum should have been fully investigated in either the state or federal level far in advance of the January 6th session.
When Vice President Pence announced that he decided that he did not have the authority to select or deselect or object to the contested electors' certification, Trump supporters had exhausted every legal means. They never received a fair hearing on the merits at any level of the judicial system. As such, a female that voted for Trump nearly was sent back 100 years to 1920 - the last time they didn't have the right for their vote to count nationally.
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." - U. S. Constitution
They peacefully voted.
They peacefully complained.
They peacefully sued.
They peacefully waited.
They peacefully called, wrote, emailed, and visited their representatives.
They peacefully traveled from all over the country.
They peacefully assembled.
They peacefully listened to their President’s plea for the steal to be stopped.
Then Vice President Pence announces he decided he couldn’t choose which electors to count nor object thereto.
Their grievance was never allowed redress.
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
So for the answer to the original question I will borrow from the essay submitted to Mr. Vernon in the 1980’s coming of age classic The Breakfast Club ( adding my own twist ), about a group of students in detention tasked with writing an essay explaining who they think they are [in breaking rules]:
“We accept the fact that what we did was wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us tell you who we think we are.”
“You see us as you want to see us... in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. We are: a disenfranchised voter, a patriot, an extremist, entitled, and a rioter.”
Does that answer your question?
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About the Author:
Bryan Stock is a political commentator, freelance blogger, and a small business owner. Stock considers himself a "constitutionalist Conservative." He does not support the two-party system. He believes Republicans are just as corrupt as Democrats.