By Terry Arnold
House Resolution 503 established a select committee to investigate the hundreds of former President Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6 to determine who directed “an attempt to block the official ratification of the 2021 presidential election results.”
McConnell says it was an insurrection.
The Republication National Committee has stood by its view that the charges against all participants in the riot as the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in illegitimate political discourse.” Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, disagreed and stated that the RNC was wrong. “The event on January 6 was a violent insurrection to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next.”
Many disagreed with McConnell’s characterization of the attack as an “insurrection,” including me.
Definitions are important.
An insurrection is defined in Oxford Languages “as an organized violent uprising against an authority or government. The word “organized” is essential.
Was there a “leader” of the group who attacked the Capitol? Was it President Trump? Or was it the guy in the Indian medicine man outfit with buffalo horns on top of his head?
Maybe it was the guy who propped his feet on Speaker Pelosi’s desk and left her a note containing an insult.
Or perhaps the organizer was 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, the unarmed Air Force veteran shot by a Capitol police officer when she tried to enter the sanctity of the congressional home well after hundreds of others had already breached the entrance?
Comparisons do not match.
Was it an insurrection when violence and upheaval spread across our nation in response to the George Floyd killing by Minneapolis police officers? Before that event, demonstrators’ efforts in Democrat-controlled Portland, Ore., attempted to burn a justice building with workers inside. That building, a federal building, is a part of our established government, and this effort appears to be driven by opportunists.
Reuters reportedly saw a Homeland Security internal intelligence report that “most of the violence appears to have been driven by opportunists.”
These opportunists’ actions in both cities deserved their arrest and trial. Instead, they were given a slap on the wrist and released with minimum bail or none.
Was the attack on the Capitol different? The mob was filled with opportunists, too, and lost control of its senses and applied old-fashioned stupidity to the situation. The Capitol attackers deserve equivalent punishment judgments given to other opportunists, low bail, light sentences, and no probation. Some of the January 6 attackers were arrested and tossed into the D.C. jail with no bail. Some were placed in solitary confinement for months without charges against them. Some remain incarcerated today.
According to Business Insider reporters, there are charges against 846 people in the Capitol attack. The FBI is still looking for others to arrest. I can only wonder if they are still looking for similar opportunists.
According to ABC News, Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol to demonstrate against Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.”
I understand “to demonstrate” meant to go to the Capitol and gather to picket, yell, show placards, and protest, thereby showing their disapproval of congressional action. Many groups with a cause do this regularly, like those who support pro-abortion, pro-life, Black lives matter, selection of Justices for the Supreme Court, farmers, and just about any group that believes they have the right to demonstrate against their injustice.
In my opinion, on January 6, 2021, the assault on Capitol Hill was unplanned, undirected, unled, and merely a moment of unmatched stupidity that led to breaking into the Capitol.
Terry Arnold operates Reserve Communications Resource and specializes in politics and government operations. He is a retired United States Air Force Colonel who lives and works in San Antonio, Tex.