On 9/18/2021, a group of Trump supporters held the “Justice for January 6th” rally in support of those who have been arrested for engaging in the Storming of the Capitol on 1/6/2021. First-hand reports show the rally to be incredibly small — with most estimates putting the amount of people at under five-hundred. Basically, the event was nothing more than a couple hundred people engaging in a peaceful protest.
The fencing around the Capitol was restored, the presence of Capitol police was heightened, and while four people were arrested, they were for nothing more than owning guns without warrants or having large knives. Basically, the “Justice For January 6th” Rally, no matter what you think of the politics behind it, was a constitutionally protected protest where no violence was done. The authorities did their role of keeping the peace and all the Trump supporters did was politely ask their government for a redress of grievances.
However, this raises an important question: Why didn’t the events of 1/6/2021 look like this?
Of course, Donald Trump supporters are already arguing the reason why nobody showed up was because it was a set-up. Matt Braynard, the man who organized the rally, specifically blamed the presence of law enforcement for the lack of people present. Donald Trump himself said on the rally:
Of course, nobody at the rally was harassed by the authorities.
Well talking about the rally, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on law enforcement “They seem very, very well-prepared, much better prepared than before Jan. 6.” However, this begs another question: Why weren’t the authorities prepared for 1/6/2021? We know that the FBI was aware of the possibility of violence at Capitol on that date, both from their own internal memos and from documents sent to the FBI by Fusion Centers all across the country. We also know the Capitol Police in D.C. were warned about the events of 1/6/2021 by the Secret Service the day before the event.
It’s very easy to just blame Donald Trump for the events of 1/6/2021 — and don’t get me wrong, he is far from blameless — but the fact is, the only reason his supporters were allowed to go as far as they did was because those in power allowed them to. We are now finding out that Capitol Police officers shared the secure location Congress was hiding, despite Congress hiding there due to a genuine threat to their lives.
We need to ask some tough questions about those who are above us, especially regarding those who had the power to stop January 6th and did nothing. The fact is, this fight for democracy can not end with just condemning Donald Trump, it must either be expanded to punish everyone who is responsible — so far, almost nobody has so much as lost their job — or expect events like this to happen again.
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