January 08, 2021
I have listened to the excuses and reasons for the events at the nation’s capital all day. Most of those who stormed the Capitol were from out of town. They have now fled and are being pursued by the FBI. Several pictures have been posted online and rewards offered for information on their whereabouts. So far there have been 82 people arrested for participating in the riot. More than 60 of those were for suspicion (What, they do not know if they were outside?) of violating the curfew imposed by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser after the mob action was over. Another 37 were charged with suspicion of unlawful entry. Others were charged with assault, property damage and various gun charges. Many had multiple offenses.
What amazed me was the audacity of those who stormed the Capitol. Many took cellphone videos and selfies of themselves, and then posted them on their own online accounts. The Arkansas man who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office not only posted his picture sitting with his feet up at her desk, but also bragged about it to a reporter and showed them a letter he had taken from her desk (can you say felony mail theft?). One of the reports I saw featured a woman who had been maced by the capital police. During her tearful interview, she asked the reporter why should she have been maced? After all, and I quote, “I was only trying to incite a revolution.”
Police action toward the riot showed a similar lassi faire attitude. As the protestors approached officers were seen opening barricades to let people through and taking selfies with members of the crowd. As happens with most mob action, the peaceful protest tuned into an angry mob in a matter of minutes. By that time, it was too late, and the police were overrun. One officer was beaten with a pipe and later died, while several others were taken to the hospital with injuries. The response taken by Congress has been swift in deciding who to blame. The House Sargent at Arms has resigned, and Sen. Schumer has called for his counterpart in the Senate to do the same. The head of the Capitol Police has also resigned. It appears we are better at laying blame than resolving conflict.
Thoughts: Of the five people who died during the riot or shortly after, one was an officer beaten by the crowd, one was shot by police while crawling through an interior window, and three died from medical emergencies. It is lucky there were only five. The problem with mob action is it takes on a life of its own, and once it starts it is unpredictable where it will end. People believe themselves invisible while acting as part of a mob. As has been found time and again, with social media and 1000’s of cell phones, individuals in a mob can be identified. We need to change the attitude of our country. As Spike Lee pointed out in his 1989 movie, “Do the Right Thing,” we need to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.