Chaos at the Capitol: Historic Insurrection Shows that We Did Not Leave the Chaos In 2020

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The New Yorker

Vincent Kornacki, Reporting Journalist

One week ago today, insurgents in support of President Trump’s re-election stormed the nation’s capital and broke into the United States Capitol Building. They were attempting to stop the 117th Congress meeting, where the members of Congress were counting and approving the Electoral College votes. While the vote was delayed for six hours, the certification did happen and Joe Biden is officially the next president. During those six hours, thousands of protestors gathered around the Capitol building. While many of the protesters were peaceful, threats were made toward Vice President Mike Pence and gallows were even built on the steps of the Capitol. At the same time, hundreds of insurrectionists broke into the Capitol Building, forcing the members of Congress and Vice President Pence to be evacuated from the area. This is the first time that the Capitol Building has been invaded since British soldiers burned down the original building in 1812. Rioters broke windows to get inside, and then marched throughout the building with relatively little resistance. The police at the Capitol were dramatically outnumbered, and even though calls for the national guard were sent out, they did not arrive until around four hours later. Because of how vastly underprepared the police were, the insurrectionists gained access to almost all of the Capitol Building, from the Senate Chamber to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Many rioters stole items from the Capitol, with one person being photographed taking a podium from the House Floor. This podium was later found for sale on EBay for almost $15,000. 

Since the riot, 120 people have been either arrested or at least identified for their actions at the Capitol. Additionally, 5 people died as a result of the protests. One police officer died as a result of his injuries after fighting the protesters, one protester was shot by police officers, and three other protesters died as a result of medical emergencies. Currently, most of the blame for the protests is being placed on President Trump, who told his supporters that “We (his supporters) fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Comments like these have led to impeachment charges being filed against President Trump for inciting the violence. Finally, many people utilized social media to plan for the Capitol attack. This fact led to social media app Parler being banned entirely from Apple and Google products, and many accounts, including President Trump, being suspended on Twitter and Facebook.