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How did it come to this?

What WORLD saw among the crowd that rushed the Capitol


Protesters outside the Capitol on Wednesday Associated Press/Photo by John Minchillo

How did it come to this?

Sarah Burnett, a 29-year-old mother of three from Shawnee, Okla., came to Washington this week to demonstrate for free and fair elections. Her political interests lay dormant during much of her 20s, but that changed when coronavirus lockdowns hurt the video production company she runs with her husband and kept her from attending the Baptist church she loves. She launched a Facebook page that urged Christians to engage in politics and protect their liberty. On Wednesday, she and about 45 members of her group attended President Donald Trump’s speech at the White House and marched toward the Capitol afterward.

As they approached the building, they saw rioters overwhelming police and pushing their way inside. Burnett and her co-demonstrators regrouped at the U.S. Supreme Court and left the city in a hurry.

“What a sad ending to a great rally attended by so many Christians,” she said. “We didn’t come here for this. This doesn’t feel consistent with the people I stood with all day before the march. This was un-American.”

I stood on the Capitol grounds and watched with growing uneasiness as people who had marched from the rally outside the White House climbed monuments, flying Trump and American flags.

“We’re here for Trump!” they shouted. Then came the chants of “All the way! All the way!” I saw a tear gas canister fly into a distant crowd at the south steps. A group climbed the Northeast Capitol scaffolding and covered it with a massive U.S. flag to shouts of “It’s our house, now.” I followed another group inside a north entrance to the building, where I heard cries of “Whose house? Our house,” and profanity-laced shouts. Capitol Police fired tear gas and shoved the group back outside, but passions remained high.

By that point, many of the people I spoke to at the rally earlier in the day had already gone home. Everyone I talked to held a firm belief that Trump rightfully won the election, but few agreed with the actions taken by rioters.

“When I found out the vote stopped because they stormed the Capitol, I was disappointed,” said TJ Hunt, a 44-year-old African American Trump supporter from Manassas, Va., who attended the rally. “Trump never asked for that. The overwhelming majority of us were peaceful, waiting for results.”

Burnett and Hunt exercised restraint despite their frustration, while others gave in to their passion and anger. Some of the people at the rally outside the White House yelled, “Today’s the day!” as though they had planned to take their protest as far as they could. But the crowd I was in that pushed into the Capitol building seemed minimally organized. They looked unprepared for the police response of tear gas and physical contact, unlike the experienced protesters or Antifa activists seen at other riots across the country over the summer.

I did see individuals scattered among the crowd outside the Capitol wearing tactical vests but not face coverings similar to what trained protesters might wear. I did not see anyone in that gear or in the all-black clothing typical of Antifa enter the Capitol where I was. One of the people who stormed the Capitol, a shirtless man wearing a horned helmet, is an identified supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. Another person in front of me wore a hooded sweatshirt branded with the name of a QAnon website.

Sean O’Hare, a recent college graduate from Petersburg, Va., followed rioters into the Capitol but was headed home by 5 p.m. He expressed a sense of inevitability at how the day’s events unfolded: “We didn’t hear any new evidence; we knew we weren’t going to. … We are all frustrated, and the people who needed to hear us were right there. That’s why I did it.”


Joshua Raimundo Joshua Raimundo is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute. He lives in Great Falls, Va.

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not silent

SamIamHis, I believe you are sincere; and I agree with you that we must lean on God's promises.  However, in defense of World Magazine, they make no secret of infusing their belief system into their reporting.They say on the website that they "produce sound journalism, grounded in facts and biblical truth."  Would you prefer they leave a biblical viewpoint out of their reporting?

You seem dismayed by the violence that happened at some BLM protests and the fact that MSM bent over backwards to protect and defend them. For what it's worth, I agree with you.  In light of your criticism of mainstream media for covering up acts of violence, looting, murder, and occupying public spaces and making them unsafe while promoting he ideology of the people involved, I find it odd that you would want World Magazine to focus on the "peaceful protestors" on Wednesday and minimize the acts of violence, looting, and occuaption of public space committed by some of the protestors.  Furthermore, since you say in your comment that you left a stack of World Magazines unread, apparenlty you missed the thoughtful, in depth reporting I read.  You may consider yourself expert at researching facts, but you seem to have no problem criticizing World even though you didn't read many of their issues. 

I agree that the US was founded on sacred principles.  One of those is the peaceful transfer of power, even if we diagree with the new administration.  That means that, every time there is an election, SOME people will be upset because the candidate who represented their views did not get elected. But they will concede because that's how a democratic republic works. 

You said that the government is supposed to represent the will of the people, all the people. The people expressed their will with their votes.  The votes were all legally certified, numerous legal challenges addressed by our courts and officials, and now the Electors chosen the new president based on those votes. This was not done by the MSM.  It was done by the voters and the courts.

You asked if it would have been too difficult for "members" (presumably members of Congress), once they heard what was happening, to go out and hear from the people. Based on eyewitness accounts from people who were there, the first they know of "what was going on" was AFTER the building was breached by protestors who were breaking windows with large poles and who ultimately killed a police officer, and vandalized the offices of members of Congress. They were told to put on gas masks and duck down for safety and ushered out by security.   At least one of the protestors was holding zip ties (i.e., plastic handcuffs).  What do you think would have happened if a member of Congress HAD gone out into that mob?  

For that matter, why wasn't Mr. Trump there?  I saw video of him telling supporters to go to the Capitol and saying he would go with them.  He had just made a speech to the crowd and assured them he would be with them. It seems to me that he could have prevented some of the violence if he had been there.  So where was he?

I agree that we have "real crimes" going on in our government, and they are being committed by members of both major parties.  Let us pray for ourselves and our country to do better.   

Greg Mangrum

Sam,  This is one of the most thoughtful responses I have read on any website to any article. I ask you to repost this response to Marvin Okasky's column about the events of Jan. 6. He desperately needs to hear it!

God bless you. 

SAWGUNNER

An increasingly post Christian America will be a very sad and ugly place dominated to tribalism and mistrust. All those who worked to gut America of any Christian influence will regret their role in its erosion.

NEWS2ME

Just because people call themselves Trump supporters doesn't make it so. 

 

Tim Miller

Yes ... actually, I was thinking of that when I wrote it. And thinking of the hysteria at Clinton's election that helped to radicalize McVeigh and others. (I was 12 years old at the time, and had just discovered talk radio. I heard some weird theories from Michael Reagan and others.)

Big Jim

" ... we'd better call it out and report it before we have a 9/11 style attack from within."

Perhaps that should read another 9/11 style attack - remember Oklahoma City 1995.

Tim Miller

How long have we conservatives complained that Democrats won't call out Islamic extremism / terrorism by name?

How long have we complained that they keep refering to the "autonomous zone" as a "mostly peaceful protest"? 

Why do we expect them to hold "their side" to standards we don't hold "our side" to? 

It was a riot. It was violence. They stormed the capitol. They killed a police officer. They destroyed and stole from the capitol. 


This is not a conservative or Republican movement. Lin Wood called for Pence's execution. Rudy called for "trial by combat." For the first time in our history, we have not peacefully transferred power. I have heard formerly reasonable people lately defend the idea of a conservative dictatorship and seriously consider the idea of secession. There is serious extremism on our side, and we'd better call it out and report it before we have a 9/11 style attack from within.

Janet B

I do find that words create a picture, don't you?

What do the words storm, violence, riot, destruction bring to mind?   

How about rush, protest, march, damage?

It is disconcerting to me to see WORLD using the hyperbole of the mainstream media, which is designed to stir up unrest and division.

 

Tim Miller

Unfortunately, it's not only the left that has to answer charges of inconsistency on this. Domestic terrorists stormed the capitol, killed a police officer, and traumatized people that were legitimately involved in the proceedings of our government. They destroyed federal property, stole items from the capitol, and threatened the safety of our elected officials and others. They tried to breach the house chamber, and at least one stole mail from a congressional office.

Many of them have been identified, and many more will be. So far, despite misleading reports from "our side," no Antifa actors have been discovered. Several pro-Trump activists breached capitol security and even livestreamed their assault on the capitol.

Of course, there are plenty of authentic Trump supporters who do not support violence, or white supremacy, or many of the fringe causes that his extreme supporters do. But if you don't support it, call it out. Don't give Trump a pass when he says, "I'll never concede," and don't give Lin Wood a pass for calling for Mike Pence's execution, or accusing Georgia's election system of being rigged by Communists.

This should not be hard for us. If you throw a brick through a window during a BLM protest, you should go to jail. If you throw a water bottle at a police officer you should go to jail. If you hit a police officer in the head with a fire extinguisher and he dies, you should face murder charges. Whether you are an Antifa terrorist, and Islamic terrorist, or a Maga terrorist.

Why should the American people trust us with leadership if we will not even police the extremists on our own side? It is so easy to call out the other side. Their evil, their violence, their hatred. But we are silent when we see it on our own side, and we are reaping what we have sown.

Janet B

Your headline is a good question, but it wasn't answered.

TCR5862

I would not call them “leaders”, the anti-American anarchist who orchestrated the violence and rioting do all they can to whip people’s anger up, then conveniently slip away and disappear to remain behind the scenes and stay hidden.

not silent

I believe that most Trump supporters were not supporters of violence.  I know a lot of Trump supporters personally and can't imagine them doing the actions that we saw on video (and some were eyewitnesses to) on Wednesday.

 However, some of the most egregious acts which were documented on camera by the perpetrators themselves were done by people who self-identified as Trump supporters well before these events occurred. Please note: I'm not saying ALL Trump supporters participated in the riot or supported it.  In fact I doubt MOST Trump supporters wanted violence.  But it looks to me like SOME Trump supporters DID.  I think it's also likely that other individuals and groups took advantage of the heightened emotion for their own ends, but I'm not taking about Antifa.  I.e., I saw photos of someone with a flag associated with an extreme white supremacist group.

Here's the thing: I often feel caught in the middle when it comes to politics. I have some family members and friends who are extremely left wing and others who are extremely right wing, so I hear strong arguments in favor of both all the time.  I personally consider myself a moderate, as I support some ideas on the "right" (I.e., I'm pro life);  but I support some which are considered "left" (i.e., I believe we should protect the environment because this is the planet God gave us and he told us to steward it).

Based on what I've seen, I think that BOTH SIDES have people and elements whch are good and people and elements which are bad and that NEITHER side gets it perfect all the time.  What REALLY bothers me is that people on both sides tend to harshly condemn behaviors when they are done by "the other side," but justify and minimize them when they are done by "their side." Both sides are constantly trying to convince me that I should focus on "the other side" because they are "much worse"; and both sides get angry if I even say the words "both sides." I have heard multiple versions of: "Well, they did it first."  When we said that kind of thing to my parents as kids, they didn't CARE who started it; they stepped in to stop it. 

To be perfectly clear: I did not approve of the rioting and destruction that occurred along with and after some of the protests for social justice this summer, and I DEFINITELY don't think defunding the police is a good idea.  In fact, I don't think the kinds of violence and looting we saw over the summer were helpful at all and probably caused MORE pain for the people they claimed to be trying to help.  At the same time, I DO understand why people were angry about racial injustice and I get that they have become frustrated and disillusioned with their attempts to fix things using legal means. 

Likewise, I did not approve of the rioting and destruction that occurred Wednesday in Washington, DC, though I do understand that people were very frustrated and disillusioned. Storming the Capitol did NOT help fix any of the problems. Like the rioting this summer, it ultimately hurt the people the rioters claimed to be trying to help.

Is the system broken?  YES.  It's always been broken!  Is it unfair?  YES.  It's ALWAYS been unfair!  That's why Jesus came!  I grew up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.  Freedom Riders came to my hometown, years ago but during my lifetime, because African Americans were being disenfranchised. I love my country and think it's the best in the world, but it's not perfect. I love the US Constitution and think it is the best in the world, but it's not perfect. This whole world is broken by sin and in need of God's salvation. HE is the answer to the brokenness in the world.  People like Martin Luther King, Jr. KNEW that, and what they did brought lasting change. 

If we are going to point fingers at who started it, we'll have to go back to Adam and Eve.  But Jesus finished it!

 

Laura W

Yes, hopefully this will get everyone to be more consistantly anti-rioting. Unfortunately, a lot of people will probably keep giving their own side a free pass anyway.

Steve SoCal

I believe President Trump should gracefully step down, and it might save a little face for him... but it won't happen.

Hawkdriver

Thank you for the eyewitness reports.

HANNAH.

Thanks for the link. It took me to Watch - The Highwire -- the "live" video. I had to move the "ball" back to the beginning to exit the “live” and then move it slowly forward. At about 7:45, Del shows video of his experience in DC. At about 11:40, the documentary video begins. At about 20:30, the video shows police at the barriers. From about 24:00 to 29:00, Del delivers reasoned comments and questions.

NKL5630

"Have to wonder," maybe, but unquestionably Trump supporters took part.  A WV delegate of the GOP filmed himself charging in the doors.  One man who photographed himself in Nancy Pelosi's office  was identified by Benton County Republicans as one of their local members. These people weren't masked--some were taking selfies.  If someone else was orchestrating this (and from the report here, it sounds unorganzied) then they used Trump supporters to carry out their ends.

Personally, I don't wonder long at all.  Trump's own speech told people to march to the capitol, warning them that they would never take back the nation with weakness.  Guiliani followed it up saying the presidency should be decided by trial by combat.  That's pretty incendiary rhetoric right there--if a BLM leader used that language, it would be viewed as provocative and rightly so, even if he later did denounce them, as Trump eventually did. Any "orchestrator" could hardly have hoped for a better set-up.

Thomas Peck

One has to wonder if this attack on the building wasn't orchestrated by those outside of Mr. Trump's supporters on both the right and the left.