By Sophia Alexandrou
On January 6, following the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win, angry Trump supporters showed up in Washington D.C. intending to breach the Capitol. Their frustration stemmed from the fact that elected officials, including Mike Pence, had accepted Trump’s defeat in November and were not willing to overturn the votes that had secured President Biden and Vice President Harris a spot in the White House. While the events that transpired on January 6th were concerning and an embarrassment to the United States, they were also an accurate representation of the political state of our country these past four years.
The rioters began to make their way into the Capitol at around 1 p.m., many of whom were bearing weapons. Though many did struggle with police officers and guards, many also didn’t. Police officers were seen allowing these rioters into the building with absolutely no resistance, some officers even snapping pictures with them. The difference between the way these blatantly violent and clearly dangerous insurrectionists were treated compared to the Black Lives Matter protesters earlier in 2020 is a perfect display of U.S. law enforcement's position on the election.
For context, in June of 2020, the ACLU sued President Trump after teargassing peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in Lafayette Park to clear the way for a photo op in front of a Church. To summarize, a photo op for the President was a good enough reason to unlawfully tear gas civilians, but a coup led by unstable, weapon yielding Trump supporters with the intent to halt government processes was not. While violence does not solve everything, it is important to recognize which people the police are willing to harm. Here’s a hint: one group of people were holding up signs declaring that their lives mattered, while another one was waving Confederate flags.
Following this coup, five people were confirmed dead. One woman was shot by a Capitol police officer, and another officer died following the riots. Additionally, three more people died from unspecified medical emergencies, unable to receive the medical assistance they needed quickly enough because of the chaos brewing in the streets.
In addition, over 100 people have been arrested since the coup. They are being charged with crimes like “conspiracy to commit an offence,” “violent entry or disorderly conduct,” and “destruction of government property.”
Despite their hopes of what would come of this deadly riot, the Trump supporters’ breaching of the Capitol backfired. Following the event, on January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for the second time, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He was charged with incitement of insurrection.
The breaching of the Capitol has definitely provided an interesting introduction to 2021. In his four years as president, President Trump has managed to create a following with resemblance to a cult that is so devoted to him they stormed a federal government building because they were angry with the election results. After these events, Americans can only hope that the Biden administration
will provide the much-needed composure and stability that has been missing these past four years.