Groups of rallied Americans storm Capitol Hill

Photo+by+Tayfun+Coskun%2FAnadolu+Agency+via+Getty+Images

Anadolu Agency

Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sara-James Ranta, Editor-In-Chief

On January 6, Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill in response to Trump’s incited message to protest the election results. Egging his supporters to fight, he tweeted on December 20 writing, “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Following the tweet, he called to his supporters in front of the White House at a rally that morning stating, “We will never give up, we will never concede, it doesn’t happen…[it is] statistically impossible we lost the election…we’re going to walk down to the capitol. We’re going to try and give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country.” 

Called before January 6 as the “Save America March,” Trump’s efforts to rally his supporters to help “stop the steal and save America” were bound to happen. America saw it coming. According to the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, “The attack was not a spontaneous act, but a culmination of planned violence that had been premeditated by some (not all) attendees for weeks.” However, average Americans didn’t expect thousands of supporters to force themselves through the Capitol building (front doors, east entrance, and second-story windows) and completely desecrate every hall, office, and chamber. Congress men and women, who were in the chamber confirming Biden’s electoral win, had to be evacuated and were ordered to hide when supporters breaking through the windows and trampling over one another to get inside. This is single-handedly the biggest obstruction of justice America has seen since the war of 1812. (The last time the Capitol was stormed) As of January 10, five people have died as a result of the event: one woman was shot in the house chamber, and the other four were related to “medical emergencies” on the site of the attack. 

Let’s be clear on the facts to dismiss the speculation. Before everything else, not everyone who attended had the same intent as the supporter next to them. However, the storming of Capitol hill was not a “riot” or a “protest;” it was an act of domestic terrorism. These people were not “great patriots or very special,” (as Trump called them, according to Propublica.org’s Trump’s Deleted Tweets File) these were domestic terrorists. It was not some sort of revolution, this was an interference of America’s democratic process. According to The Associated Press, there were no Antifa activists at the Capitol, per the claim of Conservatives reporting the incident. While there is no substantial evidence of voter fraud (fact-checked by FactCheck.org’s issues of voter fraud) currently, Trump’s efforts to drag out his claim, incite this attack, (because do you really think supporters would’ve stormed the Capitol if Trump hadn’t said “walk down to the Capitol”) and even beg for votes in Georgia just three days before has left him nowhere to hide in the eyes of Congress and the rest of the American people. 

The problem, among all the rest, is the clear privilege the rioters had in their march. There is lots of comparison between this terrorist attack and the BLM protests, which in hindsight, is completely false. First of all, the BLM protests were a movement fighting against racial injustice, systematic racism, and police brutality. The storming of the Capitol was because Trump supporters are protesting their claims of “voter fraud.” In a report by TIME magazine, between the beginning of June and the end of August, there were 7,750 BLM protests across America. Less than seven percent of them were violent. The riots deviated from the original definition of the movement, and the supposition that there was any more than seven percent is entirely the media’s fault. TIME Magazine elaborates by stating “the exposure to the violent riots and the disparity from the facts is from disproportionate coverage of the movement, biased framing based on network, and political party.” The difference here is the storming of the Capitol was in the name of violence, in the name of “pride” and “boldness.” It was in the name of protecting Trump’s seat in office, in the name of “taking back the country.” 

I don’t think anybody fighting in that “rally” considers the utter seriousness of the matter. According to CNN’s “Decoding of the extremist symbols and groups at Capitol hill” Not only were there Trump flags at every glance of an eye, there were also flags and symbols of the Proud Boys, (a white supremacist group promoting violence, the group who entirely organized the event on social media, the group Trump has called out to “stand back and stand by” per the first presidential debate) the KKK, the Confederates, and other white supremacist, fascist and neo-nazi groups all fighting for Trump. There were men with “Camp Auschwitz” hoodies on and even a man who waved the confederate flag in the Statuary Hall. According to the eyewitness account of a Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, who captured the incident on camera, there were people standing on ladders outside the second-floor windows replacing the American flags with Trump flags. According to the eyewitness account of Timothy Burke, who posted the video to Twitter, (video currently stands at over 20 million views) there were people taking selfies while they had loaded guns on their backs with the cops inside the Great Rotunda (center hall). According to The Associated Press, there was a pickup truck parked right outside the Capitol containing 11 homemade pipe bombs with timers, multiple assault rifles and handguns waiting to be used as soon as supporters entered the doors. According to Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, in an interview with Nancy Pelosi days after the attack, the FBI is investigating a group of supporters who separated themselves and were seen in ballistic vests with zip ties, who had plans to kidnap congressmen and women as hostages. According to a photojournalism article published by NBC Washington, there were people breaking into representative’s offices and filing through their drawers, writing on the walls and desks, stealing, and searching through their emails. I could go on and on. 

At first gaze, what does this say about Trump if these are the people who show up to support him? Why were these the people who showed up to protest against voter fraud? This was the first time the confederate flag has ever entered the Capitol in all of U.S history. Do you know how many people died to protect that from happening? How many people died domestically and internationally to protect the unity of this country?  Forging through the offices and stealing government documents is a threat to national security. The replacing of the American flags outside the Capitol gives the event just the perfect amount of fascism as the icing on the cake. Circling back, the privilege these rioters had as people to just waltz into the Capitol (and I mean really waltz, there are tons of videos of police simply turning around and letting Trump supporters through the doors, as well as standing against the walls and letting them pass on through. They basically gave up in protecting the Capitol) really speaks volume about the true injustice in America. What if this was a BLM protest? Thousands of black people and allies storming the Capitol, especially in the middle of a congressional session; can you imagine how different the reaction would be? Where were the National Guard and SWAT that were standing every six feet in rows blocking all U.S monuments when there were peaceful protests in D.C? Where were the rubber bullets, flash grenades, manhandling and battering BLM movements had in the same area? Why was there such a lack of security and limited police response? The same people who were waving “Blue Lives Matter” flags were also assaulting cops at the barricades. People who “back the blue” entertain the fact that defunding the police would leave us helpless in protection, when we now clearly see the 718 billion-with-a-b dollars we spend on the over-inflated, over-budgeted military do nothing. The Capitol has less security than a Tupperware container.

For the record, when the National Guard finally showed up, do you know who made the call? Mike Pence. Trump didn’t even make the call. He sat back and watched his faithful supporters carry on their angry mob. He took no action nor responsibility. Do you honestly think any BLM protesters would be able to stand in the Capitol building with a gun on their back and take a selfie with a cop? Are these people going to be held accountable in any way for this violence? For the damage? For committing treason? Or, is their white privilege a free pass out of their crimes.

On a smaller note, for the congressmen and women cowering under their desks and in bunkers to protect themselves from the horror and armed terrorists that roam the hallways, how does it feel to be a student in America? Maybe they should start taking notes from students who need to hide in pitch-black classrooms for drills so they know how to hide from anybody else who decides to breach the Capitol. Maybe they need to have drills too. According to NPR, the FBI is currently warning the possibility of another armed protest on or leading up to inauguration day.

Thus, the evilness we knew in America still exists; it was hiding in the shadows ready for the all-clear, and it’s been passed on from generation to generation. If nobody knew it then, they definitely know it now. This was Trump’s last and final aid to his legacy, I hope he is proud to be bashed by past presidents and international leaders alike as he incites his supporters to “keep fighting.” Above all, the violence America has witnessed will only end when justice is served. As of January 10th, Congress has begun writing up Trump’s second articles of impeachment (the first time a president has ever been attempted to be impeached twice, and according to PolitiFact.com, the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S history) for his lack of leadership as this violence plays out. Only time will tell the country’s fate.