Terrorism in United States Capitol

Op-ed

I cannot sit in silence while the heart of my country is under attack. Wednesday, January 6, 2021, domestic terrorists overtook the Capitol. I want you to reread that, let it sit with you for a moment. Domestic terrorists overtook the Capitol. We knew that today was going to be rough, in what should have been a procedure of formality, Republican Senators and Representatives were aiming to make one final effort of silencing the voice of the people by overturning the 2020 Election Results. But what happened next was so much worse.

Before I get into this know that the majority of my information has come from MSNBC and various online sources. Seeing as there is more information coming out daily about the events that unfolded and the aftermath, so some details are subject to change.

Congressional Confirmation

What was supposed to be happening this afternoon and is now happening this evening is a Congressional procedure where the House and Senate confirm the election (after the electoral college and state officials certify it). The Vice President presides over this and is the “president” of the meeting of Congress. This comes from the constitution stating that the Vice President is President of the Senate.

Congress will certify by reading the only certificate of vote per state that has been verified by the Electoral College, a state official will confirm that it's the certificate, it hasn't been visible tampered with, and they read off how many votes go to each candidate.

I.E. “*insert state* shows that # votes go to candidate A and # votes go to candidate B”. This happens for all 50 States. If there is reason to believe the results fraudulent, at least one senator AND one representative from the same state can contest the results, if it's just (a) representative(s) OR senator(s), it does not stand, they proceed to the next state. If it does, they'll then spend 2 hours or less debating if this contesting should hold that state's votes get thrown out.

If enough states get thrown out to put the winning candidate below the required 270 Electoral Votes, it goes to the Senate to vote. This was the hope of a group of Senate Republicans because as of January 6, 2021, the Senate had a Republican majority, so if it made it to a Senatorial vote, it would have flipped the results of the election. Luckily this did not happen and the voice of over 81 million Americans was not silenced.

What Happened January 6th

I was sitting on the couch watching the Congress do its thing and then what we thought was Secret Service came in and moved Pence, we later learned this was not SS it was Capitol Police. They gestured for everyone to get down, and they then began to evacuate the room. Everything started moving quickly from there. We knew there were protests but at this point, they had turned to riots, Seditionist stormed the Capitol.

Quickly, the Senate cut the cameras to the floor, this is probably a safety measure, so we can't see where and how they're leaving because if people at home have access to see the Senate floor, the mob members have access to see the Senate floor. At this, time the Mayor of D.C. instated a 6 pm curfew.

The tunnels that run under the Capitol, and are typically open to reporters for ease of travel were shut down. MSNBC's Garret Haake attempted to use them to cover the insurrection denied access. The Capitol was locked down.

Washington D.C. is not a state, therefore, does not have its own National Guard, this means they have to rely on other states to send in their National Guard, or the mayor has to make a request to the president to deploy the President's National Guard which delays the response. The riot of this past week has caused DC Mayor to call for statehood.

Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, came out in a press conference saying that his request to send the Maryland National Guard to DC was blocked multiple times by the Pentagon.

Image from Forbes

“However, Hogan, who requires the Department of Defense’s authority to mobilize his National Guard troops, said he was “repeatedly denied” approval to do so from the Pentagon despite being “ready, willing and able” to assist."

"Hogan said he had a “back and forth trying to get that authorization” and that, about an hour and a half later, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy gave approval to send his troops to Washington, D.C.”

An excerpt from Forbes

Later Virginia National Guard finally got the go-ahead to send in their guard. Even that was a struggle.

Back inside the Capitol Building, the bravery and quick thinking of one man saved the senators. Officer Eugene Goodman caught the attention of and led the rioters away from the door to the Senate Floor and up a flight of stairs. When we first saw the video many people assumed he was running away from them, but it was quite the opposite.

There were two confirmed bombs found and one expected bomb. All of these were recovered before they had a chance to detonate. Doors and windows were shattered.

For the first time, the Confederate Flag was flown in the Capitol. Flashbang grenades went off, tear gas was deployed. People were running through the halls screaming “find Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence” since the president had said he wasn't brave enough to do what needed to be done. People were seen with the zip tie handcuffs- they were planning to take captives.

A Capitol Police Officer was murdered by being bludgeoned in the head with a fire hydrant. Another was so traumatized by the events he passed away from suicide a few nights later.

Treason: the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.

Sedition: conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

Insurrection: a violent uprising against an authority or government.

Terrorism: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

Congress Reconvenes

In the wee hours of the morning, they were able to retake the Capitol. They did a quick clean up (although not full) of the House and Senate Chambers. Both majority and minority leaders Senate asked Vice President Pence for time to make remarks on that night's insurrection without it counting against the two-hour dispute time which was granted. Below are remarks made by Senator Cory Booker

Where Did This Come From?

January 6th was planned on public forums, they've been hinting at, to the point they basically spelled it out- the events that occurred on the day we cannot forget.

If you are shocked that this happened, you have not been paying attention. Be mad, be upset, be abhorred, but do not be shocked.

People have been warning against this since 2017 when he fired Sally Yates for telling the truth about Michael Flynn. Peopled warned against this at Charlottesville. People have warned against this almost every day since he got elected. This is why on January 21, 2017, millions of people took action forming the first-ever Women's March- an actual peaceful protest where the people made their voices heard. People warned against this after Parkland, after the family separation and border atrocities, after George Floyd. After Amy Coney Barret got confirmed to the Supreme Court when according to rules set by Republicans, she shouldn't have because it was an election year, which was the reason given when barring Merrick Garland just four years before.

But nothing happened, no consequences were given. Republicans played the field because it worked to their advantage, but now they've played one too many times, and it is beyond time for them to be reprimanded for it.

This has been building up over the past four years when time after time again Trump would push the lines and tested the waters, destroying any and all forms of normalcy, doing things that if anyone else had done they would have gone to jail. And getting away with it because Republicans coddled and turned a blind eye. This has to be remembered, and they have to see the consequences of their actions. They want you to “forgive and forget” so that they don't see the ramifications of what they have done.

In a speech from earlier that day and multiple times before the president told his supporters to “stop the steel”, and “if [they're] not happy with the results of the election storm the Capitol”, then tried to act surprised when they stormed the Capitol. This is the same guy who looked into a camera and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”, at the last Presidential Debate.

All of this among Tweets and other statements is leading calls for him to be removed from office because he directly incited sedition.

The World Was Watching

Allies

Our allies have come out in their adamant support of the American people against these insurrectionists. Emmanuel Macron, the current leader of France gave a beautiful speech directly following the tragic events that occurred on Wednesday. It is mostly in French, but I recommend watching it with subtitles on if you do not speak the language because it is worth listening to.

Adversaries

To our enemies, this screams weakness. There is a hole in the heart of America and if we do not act quickly our foreign adversaries may try to take advantage of this. There have already been remarks calling this “god's revenge for Americans sticking their nose in the Middle East”.

Racial Double Standard

There's no denying that there is a racial double standard. Black Lives Matter protesters sat peacefully in Lafayette Square Park, and they got beat, mazed, and fired at with rubber bullets so Trump could cross the street. While violent insurrectionist got help walking down the stairs.

These are rubber bullets, these were fired into a large crowd of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. They caused multiple injuries including causing one man to go blind. Photo Credit: Gary Chalker- Getty Images

Repercussions

To the President

Currently, we haven't seen any legal action taken, but that's expected to change over the duration of the next 10 days with growing bipartisan support of removal from office. There are three routes that can be taken to get him out of office before the 20th (the next inauguration day), so I'll rank them from least to most likely:

  1. Resignations

    • Many members of Congress, ex-government officials, and citizens are calling for him to resign. This is not going to happen, he is a narcissist who views any form of stepping back or taking accountability as a sign of weakness.

  2. The 25th Amendment

    • The 25th Amendment claims that if the Vice President and the majority of Cabinet (Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, etc) agree the President is unfit to hold office, they can vote to remove him and the Vice President will then assume the presidency for the remainder of the term. This option has been called for by many and is said to be “on the table”. But it isn't looking one way or the other if this will happen.
  3. Impeachment and Indictment

    • Let's start out with: he has already been impeached. According to Article One, Sections Two and Three the United States Constitution The house has the sole power of impeachment lies with the House. If impeachment passes the House it then goes to the Senate which holds the sole power to indict. Going through with impeachment has growing bipartisan support. If successfully removed from office, he loses the ability to ever run for office again.
      • As I was writing this section breaking news on MSNBC reported that Nancy Pelosi is to introduce Articles of Impeachment tomorrow [January 11, 2021]

Companies such as Twitter have been taking action by removing him from their platforms and restricting hashtags related to him (which, I guess: better late than never). A Pinterest spoke's person says they have been restricting these hashtags since November.

This is not, a violation of the First Amendment. There's been a lot of people screaming FREE SPEECH! The First Amendment protects your rights to freedom of speech in terms of the government. These are private companies, therefore have every right to sensor, control, and set rules for what is said, sold, and promoted on their platforms.

To the Traitors

Congressional:

The Republican members of Congress, especially Ted Cruiz and Josh Hawley, who continued to push the divisive rhetoric that was that farce of a contestation are facing major repercussions, these include but are not limited to the following: Big name donors pulling funding, multiple people calling for their resignation or removal, and Josh Hawley lost a book deal.

House Rep. Cori Bush is introducing a resolution for their removal, citing that they have broken their oath of office.

Rioters:

The FBI is currently reviewing over 40,000 tips in connection with the Capitol Attack. There have been multiple arrests made in the days since the insurrection. If you have information on any of the people at Wednesday's Capitol Riot, please report it to the FBI.

Should there be Investigations

YES! There should be investigations and there needs to be arrests made, these are terrorist!

Olive Garden Life Time Pasta Passes are being revoked.

The Question of Unity

May I say, just stop with this. The people saying “unify”, are the same ones that fanned the flames over the past four years and don't want to face any repercussions. We cannot just forgive and forget, that is nothing more than an invitation for this to happen again. If you want any form of peace and unification, the only path there is through accountability.

End on some Levity

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Alicia Renee

Alicia Renee is a junior in high school who wants to create in any way she can. She's highly active in the political and social justice community. Alicia likes to spend her time learning, writing, sewing, crafting, editing (photos, videos, essays, anything) and being around the people she loves.