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How the January 6 Riot Should Actually Be Remembered

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

By the afternoon of January 6, 2020, the day had gone haywire and was not what I was expecting at all. By the time I reached the Capitol building, hundreds of people had already made their way past small fencing, onto the steps of the incomplete inauguration setup, and attempted to force their way into the U.S. Capitol. Police officers, who were vastly outnumbered, tried their best to stop the crowd, which lead to fistfights. 

Capitol Police used tear gas, flashbangs, and pepper balls on the crowd, but it was not enough. The Capitol was breached at different spots on the east and west side. A few more hours would pass before law enforcement had the numbers necessary to push everyone out of the Capitol, but not before an officer shot Ashli Babbitt, who was climbing through a broken window leading into the Speaker's Lobby. 

For a fuller picture, here is the video I took covering the riot for Townhall. 

So, let's be clear on what happened. The initial rally at The Ellipse was a peaceful gathering. While it was a rowdy crowd, as Trump rallies usually are, I saw no violence toward anyone. The issues began when a sizable crowd tried to enter the Capitol. That's when it became a riot. I should know what those look like considering I spent most of 2020 covering different BLM and Antifa riots. That said, I believe calling it an "insurrection" gives those who broke into the Capitol building more credit than they deserve because there was no grand plan outside of "just get inside." Even though I was wearing a vest that had "PRESS" and my Capitol press badge was around my neck, I had multiple people come up to me to ask "what the plan was" to which I responded with "I have no idea. I followed all you guys in here." 

It is always worth repeating that then-President Donald Trump even told the crowd, who was already leaving, to not go inside the complex. 

It was a large number of people in a violent, chaotic situation with police having to respond with force. To me, "riot" is a more suitable term. We should not whitewash what happened that day and, of course, we have many questions that need to be addressed because they have yet to be answered. Questions such as, who placed the pipe bombs at the Republican and Democratic National Headquarters? Why are there some people who were clearly instigating the crowd who have not been arrested? Were there any federal informants who were part of the initial crowd that broke into the building? Why was Capitol Police so caught off guard?

I've always been against riots because little, if any, good comes out of them. I saw the destruction that hit Main Street USA in 2020 and saw the same people in the media and political worlds who tried to excuse or downplay those riots all of sudden care about property damage because it was a different group of rioters. The media coverage of January 6 has become overwrought because that's all they have to distract from the many problems the Biden administration has created for the country. In any case, it was a riot that should not have happened. 

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