Special Report: Capitol Hill Riots

[Content Note: Today’s post deals with a very difficult topic, specifically racism and violence. While I won’t include any pictures from the event, there will be talk about it. If this is a topic that’s upsetting for you, I encourage you to stop reading beyond this point. However, if you choose to continue reading, which I respect your decision to do, and you reach a point where it brings up difficult feelings, I encourage you to reach out to someone you can talk to, or if there isn’t, the people at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline may be able to help you process what you’re feeling. For those located outside the U.S., this website contains similar resources for your locality.]

Today’s installment of my “Can We Talk?” series was originally going to be about something else entirely, however in light of recent events, I’ve decided to postpone it until next week instead. At first, I wasn’t even gonna post about this at all. However, I believe that as a blogger, it is my responsibility to set those plans aside and talk about the stuff that matters, making this a “Special Report” instead. As you may have seen in the news, a group of extremists who hold similar worldviews to those of the soon-to-be former president engaged in rioting and violence at the White House, who incited and inspired these extremists in the first place. Some of them even had flags with neo-Nazi and white supremacy stuff with them.

I would first like to take a moment to stress that I condemn extremist views, regardless of where it falls on the political spectrum, as well as incitement to violence. I don’t give a damn who it’s coming from. I also condemn racism, which to me includes skin color, as well as nationality and ethnicity. Extremism and racism are never acceptable now, were never acceptable, and never will be.

Wednesday night, I saw the news reports. I first heard of it when I walked home from the store, and saw it on the TV in one of the nearby restaurants. My priority was to get back in time for the Chicagoverse, and since I decided to skip a trip to one of my favorite shops this time, I made it back in time to catch the last of the evening news. Then came the breaking news about what happened. I figured it wouldn’t be too long, so I kept it on the channel, and got some day job stuff done while I listened. This way, I could have it all done at least in time for Chicago PD.

What happened on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night was inexcusable and unacceptable. It was an affront to everything democracy stands for. It was about violence for the sake of it, not a protest of any value whatsoever. I won’t call them protesters, as they forfeited any right they had to that attribute a long time ago. Instead I’m calling them rioters, and they were allowed entry into the premises. I believe their demographics played a part in their ability to get past whatever guards were there.

Some of them even died in this, and many others got caught in the crossfire. Many of them suffered injuries, and one of them, a police officer, Brian Sicknick, died as a result. I want to make it clear that Ofc. Sicknick was not, I repeat, NOT involved in the riots. He was doing his duty to protect and serve, and my thoughts are with his family.

To me, all of this reminded me of the people who got hurt during the protests last spring surrounding the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the systemic racism that allowed their deaths, along with countless others. It reminded me of the way some members of law enforcement came rolling in with their riot gear and rubber bullets at the mainly-peaceful protests. It reminded me of the way people got arrested for peacefully protesting George’s murder, and the way these rioters a few days ago got away with it in comparison. However, there may be a silver lining: I saw a news report that the Capitol Hill rioters are starting to lose their jobs and face the legal consequences.

As it should be.

The Capitol Hill rioters destroyed everything they could, for the sake of violence and their heinous ideology. At the protests last spring, in a few instances, there were some who chose to use it as an opportunity to engage in looting and property destruction. However, the ones who looted in the name of the protests were in the wrong, and I wanna make it clear that the ones who did so were outliers.

Not the norm. Far from it. The rest of us protested peacefully, yours truly included.

What happened on Capitol Hill further underscores the need for real reform within our justice system and in law enforcement. Maybe that’ll be one of the changes we’ll see when Biden and Harris take office. We can hope, and only time will tell.

How about you, readers? How are you holding up? Let’s talk and support each other.

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