From the perspective of a few days later, what happened Wednesday at the Capitol was worse than it appeared on TV during the afternoon, probably because there were no live cameras inside the building.
As what happened inside later became known, it was insurrection, which is defined as “an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.”
This does not mean that everyone protesting in Washington that day was in criminal rebellion.
Not many sources gave crowd estimates, but one I saw that seemed right was 300,000.
Of that number, I estimate about 1% — 3,000 — wound up on the Capitol steps. And of that number, 1%, or 300, gained illegal entry to the Capitol itself, and yet another 1% — 30 — committed vile criminal acts such as breaking windows and doors, smearing feces around, ransacking offices, committing acts of vandalism and theft. A few in this number seemed to have the crazy idea of “arresting” members of Congress, or even Vice President Mike Pence. Crazy and criminal.
These are the worst of the worst and should get the most harsh punishment.
I have heard no sane conservative voice applaud their actions. Just the opposite, in fact.
The same rules have to apply to Left and Right: Because our Constitution guarantees the right of peaceful protest, and because change comes through the legislature or the courts, there is no excuse for violence, whether from Trump supporters or Black Lives Matter or the Animal Liberation Front.
In mid afternoon, CNN was having conniptions calling the mob on the Capitol steps a “riot.” It was not as far as I could see then. The crowd on the Capitol steps — which should not have been there — seemed more like a flag-waving frat party. I repeat, that was before some of them breached the building, and many of them were wandering around inside like tourists. I repeat, illegally, but causing no damage.
The ones who did cause the damage? Drop the hammer on them. Some of those dopes posed for pictures, thus helping law enforcement.
Now we come to the question of how they got in.
The answer is inadequate police presence. But why?
I hear different explanations as to why the National Guard was not there. They were requested by the mayor, they were not requested by the mayor, the Department of Defense refused, or did not — I am not sure why they were not there.
I am sure they were not there and the Capitol police were not out in force and their commander has resigned, as he should. As in Philadelphia in the spring for the George Floyd protests and riots, insufficient police forces were deployed, but our police chief has not resigned.
As to why they were not deployed, maybe that was because previous Trump protests have been boisterous, but nonviolent. Yes, guns were sometimes carried, but no one ever got shot — until Wednesday, when Ashli Babbitt was killed by a Capitol police officer as she appeared to be one of a group trying to break through an inside door in the Capitol.
I can’t read every single story, but I have yet to see her described as a white, unarmed female. It’s always just an Air Force veteran from California.
Early Wednesday afternoon, the fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, hearing of vandalism, denied that could be true. We don’t do things like that, he said, incorrectly.
But some do, and this is equally true for, say, Black Lives Matter. While most of those protests are peaceful, some are not, and others take advantage of the march to commit criminal acts, such as arson and looting.
BLM is not responsible for everything that happens under its banner, and neither is Donald J. Trump.
Many are saying he incited the riot by his words, but when I ask his critics to point to the words that called for violence and for supporting breaching the Capitol, they can’t, because he didn’t. He talked about marching on the Capitol, he talked about fighting for rights, which are the words used by every group demonstrating at the Capitol.
Let’s remember the — can I say mobs? — that gathered on the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building and beat on the doors to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the high court.
And other mobs across the nation from Philadelphia to Ferguson to Kenosha to Seattle, causing millions of dollars in damages. They received notably different treatment from the media than the Trump protests. That is a fact.
Those of you who have been around here for a while know my mantra: Obey the Law.
Expect consequences if you don’t, without respect to how “justified” you think you are.