The Insurrection of January 6th – The Day of Infamy That Wasn’t

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by Lew Rockwell, Lew Rockwell:

Donald Trump’s presidency effectively ended one year ago today in the midst of a cockamamie riot in the US Capitol Building. On the evidence, it was essentially a happenstance outbreak of blind mob mayhem enabled by piss poor policing by the amateur cops who are pleased to call themselves the Capitol Police. Nothing that happened during that five hour melee remotely resembled the violent insurrection against American democracy it’s now cracked up to be.

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But like in almost everything else nowadays, narrative has supplanted reality. Completely. Absurdly.

Consequently, the final spasm of the Trump Derangement Syndrome that engulfed the nation’s ruling elites and megaphones in the mainstream media on January 6, 2021 has spawned the Big Lie of the 21st Century. But not a bit of the Day of Infamy narrative is true, plausible or warranted.

In the first place, there was nothing organized about it whatsoever. What preceded the leaderless march of the mob to the Capitol was nothing more than a handful of rightwing whackadoos pinging each other on social media.

Even more surely, there was nothing armed about it, either. Among the thousands of yokels and diehard Trumpites who frolicked through the Capitol Building, law reinforcement has not identified a single man, woman or child who was carrying a gun, sword or even a stink bomb when the Capitol Police essentially stepped aside and gave them the run of the building.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the only blood that was shed during this faux “insurrection” and alleged attempt at coup d’etat was that of Ashli Babbitt, a decorated hero of America’s pointless wars and earnest Trump supporter. She was shot point blank without warning by a Capitol Police officer, who had a record of anger management issues that were hardly trivial.

Moreover, what kind of insurrection has no list of demands, no ringing declarations of purpose, no fiery ultimatums? In most of the hours upon hours of video footage available the meandering crowds look as surprised to be there as the dog who finally caught the car.

Likewise, the audio track of the event resembles nothing so much as the undulating din of a milling crowd. Even the normal menacing chants of a purposeful demonstration were few and far between.

The fact is, American democracy was not under fire that afternoon. It was not imperiled one little bit by the mayhem in the Capitol which briefly ensued after the Donald has dispensed his usual bombast, self-promotion and rhetorical incoherence to the hyped-up crowd on the Mall.

Still, the unfortunate acts of rowdyism, trespassing and property damage which did occur are the fault of first, the Capitol Police for opening the Capitol Building’s doors to an obviously unruly and ill-behaved mob; and, secondly, the Donald himself. Instead of watching the spectacle on his White House TV, he could have cleared the building in less than 30 minutes with a firm call for his misguided supporters to stand down.

As to the Capitol Police, the dirty secret of this age-old patronage operation was on full display that afternoon. For crying out loud, these were not trained police officers who could keep the peace even in Podunk Iowa. They mostly sit as desks examining IDs and directing tourists to the Visitors Galleries.

The fact is, what happened that day was the result of pathetically incompetent police work. Period.

That tens of thousands of agitated pro-Trump demonstrators had come to Washington was plain as day, as was the intelligence indicating that some among the estimated 30,000 horde gathered at the Ellipse for the Donald’s parting speech were planning to descend on the US Capitol Building where the electoral votes were being counted. The “attack”, therefore, was the very opposite of the hoary Pearl Harbor analogy proffered by shameless demagogues like Senator Chuckles Schumer.

Indeed, the “forcible entry” part of the narrative is even more threadbare than the utterly laughable “five deaths” canard. Besides Ashli Babbitt, it has been well established that three pro-Trump demonstrators died of a heart attack, stroke and drug overdose, respectively, and that the stricken police officer, Brian Sicknick, succumbed to a medical ailment, not an assault by a fire extinguisher.

Still, the forcible entry claim should embarrass anyone who has ever had a visitors pass to the US Capitol. The place is a veritable fortress with a few dozen very small entryways that can be readily sealed off by barricades and a decent supply of tear gas, bear spray and water canons.

If they didn’t want a disorderly and emotional crowd entering the building during the electoral vote counting pageant, then they could have closed the building to all visitors, invited or not, with alacrity.

Obviously, what happened was the opposite – a veritable Gong Show of confusion and random disorder.

From the law enforcement side, barricades were poorly placed, if at all; little attempt was made at crowd control via nonlethal deterrents like tear gas and water canons; the Capitol Police was not briefed and drilled for the event or given clear rules of engagement – even though it self-evidently promised to be the biggest, most fraught event in many moons at the US Capitol.

And most crucially, the videos make damn clear that many of the Capitol Police officers sympathized with the demonstrators and were likely Trump voters. So when the crowds surged toward a number of entryways, the officers simply stood aside and let the demonstrators enter the “people’s house” unimpeded.

On the other side, the so-called Trump “insurrectionists” mostly meandered randomly about the interior of the Capitol Building, surprised to find themselves in Nancy Pelosi’s unlocked office or the Senate Chamber which had earlier been vacated.

That is to say, that didn’t come with a plan to “occupy” it, nor did they posses any of the hallmarks of insurrectionists trying to seize and hold power. Not only were they bereft of the aforementioned weaponry, but they also brought no communications equipment other than standard cells phones, no food and canteen supplies and no protective gear.

To be sure, these citizens behaved rudely, disgracefully and irresponsibly once they stumbled into the Capitol and should have been charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing, destruction of public property and fined to the gills.

But, actually, that’s just the point. This was not a coherent political force that threatened anything other than the paperweights on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. It was actually just a disorganized mob of 5,000 to 10,000 mainly yahoos, yokels and societal riff-raff, who originated on the margins of the political system and streamed into Washington on whims and wild-ass distaste for their societal bettors.

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