The Attack on the Capitol and What We Can Learn From It

Cassie Stremkowski

Photo Credit: Tyler Merbler

One year ago, on January 6th, 2021, the nation was shocked when a group of protesters mobbed the US Capitol building, in support of President Trump, who had lost the election to see if he would have a second term as President of the United States. Even a year later, people find themselves wondering how this happened, what the aftermath was, and what it means for our country. Looking back at the event will help us analyze what happened, and comprehend what exactly went down on January 6th, 2021.

The Protest and Mobbing Itself

What would eventually turn into the violent mob that made the news started out as nothing but a simple protest outside of the Capitol building, as pro-Trump Americans protested his loss in the 2020 election, as the vote recount was taking place inside the Capitol building at the time. 

At 10:58 AM, a member of the Proud Boys, which is a white supremacist group, began to encourage the protesters to march on the Capitol. According to a BBC article, the Proud Boy in question was “…Joe Biggs, a prominent member of the hate group”.

 By 1:00, the mob was sweeping the Capitol building, becoming increasingly violent towards the security in place, using chemical weapons and lead pipes to attack the police officers attempting to stop them. 

By 2:13 PM, the capitol was breached. At this point, many Americans including myself were watching the incident occur on TV. In a video released by CNN, it shows a group of protesters coordinating their attack, and working together to breach the doors of the Capitol. Another video shows armed security blocking the doors inside the House of Representatives, as the government officials were asked to hide from the encroaching mob.

 The protesters would not be cleared out until 6pm, and significant damage was done to the Capitol building, along with 5 deaths caused by both police and rioters.

Aftermath

The most immediate aftermath of the riot was the beginning of the second impeachment trial of President Trump, citing incitement of insurrection as his charge. He was eventually acquitted of his trial, as he had already left office, but the trials did not stop at the President. By October, 630 people were arrested for participating in the storming of the Capitol, with 100 pleading guilty. 

In an interview with SPASH US History teacher, Mr. Reindl, he stated “The most shocking thing… is the footage that is being released now.” What Mr. Reindl is referring to is the some 600+ videos that have been released since the riot, recorded on phones, news station cameras, and police body cams. These videos are shocking and gruesome, showing rioters with guns and pepper spray using their weapons against Capitol Police, showing the unbridled violence of the rioters and the struggles of the police.

What Does This Mean for Our Country?

“This shows how history is malleable…we can shape it to be for or against whoever we want.” This is another quote from Mr. Reindl, which is applicable to what this event means to our country, in the way that people can be manipulated as to who was at fault during the attack based on which news source they look at.

 This attack has divided our country even more than it already is. According to the same BBC article, even during the attack a Democratic Senator yelled at a Republican Senator saying that it was their fault this was happening.