Thousands of demonstrators converged in Washington, D.C., held a rally and marched to Capitol Hill. “We were planning to shut down the Capitol Building but the authorities were so scared of [us] that they shut it down for us. 1000+ women, survivors, and allies have gathered in the Hart Senate Building. Every hallway. Every floor,” members of the Women’s March tweeted in October of 2018.
They gathered outside the Supreme Court building, entered the building and banged on its doors while a hearing was being held, chanting: “Kavanaugh has got to go!”
Last July, Antifa rioters tried to break into the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., and attacked a federal officer with a hammer.
These events were not heavily criticized. And the media and liberals failed to condemn riots that destroyed many small businesses in several cities last summer. These riots were frequently termed “mostly peaceful” by the mainstream media.
On Jan. 6 of this year, tens of thousands attended a rally in the nation’s capital, and later marched to the Capitol Building, where some entered illegally, wreaked havoc and interfered with ongoing Congressional business.
Tragically, five people died during the attack. One women protester was shot and killed by Capitol Police for an unknown reason. Three other protesters died of “health issues” as a result of the activities. And one Capitol Police officer was injured, and later died.
These five deaths should not have occurred. Thugs breaking into federal buildings and interfering with government business is wrong, and against the law. Such lawlessness and violence are inexcusable and must be punished.
President Donald Trump addressed the rally for more than an hour before the march to the Capitol. He discussed the election and the long list of irregularities that he believes occurred, including illegalities. He believes there was fraud and has said so repeatedly. Nothing new here. And millions of Trump’s supporters agree with him.
He mentioned going down to the Capitol four times. But he never asked or encouraged anyone to break the law, to hurt anyone, or to damage federal property.
Yes, Trump talked about his dissatisfaction with the election. And, yes, a lot of people disagree with him saying those things. But he did not encourage rioting and breaking into the Capitol Building.
Perhaps the actual rioters among the thousands of peaceful rally attendees heard only what they wanted to hear. Or perhaps what they heard had nothing to do with their illegal and violent actions.
Some people that I know personally attended the rally, each in their own group of friends. Their comments about what occurred reflect that the crowd was not angry or ready to riot, but enjoying the event, greeting each other and being happy. All very positive.
It is convenient and easy to blame the wrongs that people do on a person or some issue. But the responsibility for any laws broken, damage done and other wrongs falls squarely on the shoulders of the ones that committed those acts.
Since this rally was not a surprise, why did Capitol officials not prepare in advance for it, as they did in 2018?
“Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration,” the Associated Press reported.
Three days before the rally and march to the Capitol, “the Pentagon asked the U.S. Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower,” the AP report continued. “And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter.”
And despite all of that, and the absence of inciteful language in the address Trump gave, people rushed to blame him for the attack.
The message “never let a good crisis go to waste” comes to mind.
James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist. Contact him at email@example.com