The Riot On Capitol Hill

5 pronounced dead after the U.S Capitol was breached on January 6th. This day will now go down as one of the darkest days in American history.

The Riot On Capitol Hill

Louisa Roesler, Journalist

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a record number of people voted by mail-in ballots in order to avoid the long lines and crowds at the polls. A large number of mail in ballots was to be expected, so prior to the election Donald Trump attempted to defund the United States Postal Service in hopes to make it harder on American voters to submit their ballots. Voters were horrified that the current president would try to impede on democracy like that, and called him out on his hypocrisy. How can he try to end the mail-in ballot system when he, himself, uses a mail-in? 

Come election day, the large number of mail-in ballots took a long time to count. Instead of the results of the election coming out in a matter of hours, it took a matter of days. The race to 270 was long, but after about 5 days the results were final. On Saturday November 7th, Joseph R. Biden was declared the next President of the United States. Bidens 306 electoral votes trumped Trump’s 232 electoral votes in the end. Speculations from the Republican party arose, and many started to insist that the election was rigged. Donald Trump turned to Twitter saying, “Everyone is asking why the recent presidential polls were so inaccurate when it came to me. Because they are FAKE, just like much of the Lamestream Media!” and  “RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!” He also tweeted, “STOP THE COUNT!” and, “RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!” Many called him out for his contradictory tweeting, stating that stopping the counting of votes is actually rigging the election. American voters feared for the democracy of the country, worrying that their votes would not be counted, whether they were for or against Trump. 

The results of the election were to be officially finalized on January 6th, 2021 when the Senate met to either confirm or deny the votes of the electoral college. The meeting was held by Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the senate. While the meeting was going on, a rather large group of Trump supporters, Proud boys, and QAnon supporters were gathering in D.C, to march in protest of the election results. This march was organized by a pro-Trump dark money group (an anonymous group that sends money from anonymous sources in order to influence politics) and endorsed by Trump himself. This “march” quickly turned violent when protestors turned rioters started to breach the United States Capitol where the Senate was meeting. Luckily, Ellis Roesler, a citizen of Washington D.C was able to leave the city at the time of the siege.

I asked her, “Are you nervous to return to D.C, considering its current state?” She replied, “Yes, I am very worried that the city will go on lockdown. I don’t have a car so I rely heavily on public transportation to get me to work, out to run errands, and back home. Transportation is a subset of the D.C government so if the government shuts down the city, transportation will also be shut down.” I then asked her if she was concerned about this event being a COVID super spreader. It was made very clear that many people attending the riot were coming from out of state and would not be wearing masks. “Yes, I am definitely worried that the numbers will go up and businesses will close. Especially the restaurant I work at. Just as I was at the airport  leaving D.C, I noticed so many people getting off of planes and leaving the airport in red hats and Donald Trump apparel.” 

Many people questioned the safety precautions taken the day of the riot. Why was the Capitol not properly prepared for an attack if they knew what was coming? How did security let something like this happen to a federal building. I asked Matt Heisler, a registered democrat in the state of Connecticut, his thoughts regarding the security and capitol police on the day of the riot. 

“I think inside, the capitol police dealt with very serious stuff. But I think that the majority of the security staff in the rotunda when it was stormed were not quite qualified to defend the building from such a large group of people. Their job would better be compared to museum guards than riot police. It makes me wonder why they were not more ready, why they were not more prepared. I feel bad for the police who were put in that position and not supported.”

In the end, there were five total fatalities, one of whom was crushed to death by being trampled on. There are currently ongoing investigations to identify those who stormed the capitol. So far, a handful have been identified, but there are many more who have not been. This was a very shameful day for Americans and will go down in history as the second significant breach at the capitol, the first being when the British invaded it in 1814.