January 6th, 2020 in the Words of Our Students

Following the events of January 6th, we thought it important to put into writing the immediate emotional response to these events. These are the unedited responses to several questions.

How would you characterize the events of January 6th?

David Stechow ’21: What happened on January 6, 2021 was an absolute disgrace. It was a riot. All riots are bad and unacceptable. The actions at the Capitol building was uncalled for. No matter what political party does an act like that, it is saddening. There was trespassing and vandalism at a Federal Building that is supposed to represent the people of America. Just because people are upset does not give them the right to destroy property that is not theirs. What happened does not represent the Republican Party and was started by a group of extremists. It was undeniably disgusting.

Alexander Kuplicki ’23: Based on what happened and by definition, I would describe the events of January 6th as terrorism.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism

Where do we go from here? What did we learn, or was this entirely predictable?

DS: I think we need to take a step back and realize that riots are not helping. It portrays a group poorly when causing destruction. We learned that craziness like that is a reality in our country. Personally, I did not expect there to be a riot. I thought that Trump supporters would be smarter and know better. I knew there would be a protest, but I did not expect them to break into the Capitol Building. An act like that should never be expected, because it is simply wrong. We have learned that our nation is truly divided and acts out of anger and frustration. To go forward from what has happened, the whole country needs to realize that riots and violence will not solve anything.

AK: Overall, I don’t see things getting much better from here. Although some people thought that this might be an event that would connect us as a country once again, there only seems to be further divided. No one wants to listen to the other side and people are only reinforcing their own views with news sources that agree with them.

It was very easy to breach security. What went wrong? Do you believe this was an inside job? If so, who was on the inside? Congressmen? Capitol police? National Guard? Department of Defense?

DS: I do not think that this was an inside job. I believe that it was easy to breach just because the lack of security. I do not think the security and police expected them to break into the building, therefor they did not have a lot of personnel there. There have been multiple videos showing how understaffed the security was. There were too many people for the police and security there to stop. I do not believe it was an inside job, because it looked poorly on the Republican side. Starting a riot and breaking into a Federal building is not a way to make a change. I do not believe that a Congressman or person of authority would organize an act like this knowing that it would be looked down upon.

AK:Do I think it was an inside job, no. Do I think there were some disparities in how these people were treated compared to other groups of protesters and rioters, yes. The treatment of these terrorists was very lax compared to things we’ve seen earlier last year, especially seeing as they were attacking a federal building. There seem to be many differences in how some officers fought versus others. For example, one police officer was beaten to death while another can be taking selfies with these people. There are many things that could have went wrong and I believe some of that may be due to some neglect by higher-up police officials. They didn’t call in the national guard when they knew the capitol was being stormed and they didn’t prepare much of the riot equipment that they seemed to have in surplus last year, even though multiple sources knew this was a possibility. Overall, I think that there are people at fault for how things went down that day, but I don’t think it can be completely blamed on one person or small group of people, maybe it is rather a more systemic issue.

Who/what is responsible for these events?

DS: I think that a group of people at the riot are responsible for the event.  I believe that a few people started the riot then others followed them and made it worse.  I also believe that Donald Trump had made some comments that may have led people to believe that it was a good idea to storm the Capital.  I do not think the President organized the act or tried to provoke violence, but some people may have misinterpreted what he said.

AK: There were a couple of groups that participated. It was mostly radicalized Trump Supporters, smaller far-right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, and other white supremacist adjacent people and groups.

Should any member of congress be expelled under the disqualification clause of the 14th amendment?

DS: There were some congressmen that were at the Capitol Building.  I do not believe that they provoked the riot.  If the congressmen broke into the Capitol Building or cause damage, then yes they should be expelled.  That being said, no member of congress was involved in inciting the riots.  Some were there, but were part of the crowd outside.  The members of congress who people are trying to disqualify caused no damage.  The main reason others want them expelled is purely based off of their political affiliation and supporting Donald Trump.

AK:The expulsion of a member of congress would be a big stretch seeing as it’s very much subjective evidence. Although the acts of some members of congress could have emboldened some of these terrorists, it would be very hard to definitively confirm that. It would also not be worth it to spend much time on these issues for the next few months.

Is impeachment justified?

DS: No, I do not believe the Impeachment is justified.  The Democratic party has tried to Impeach Donald Trump twice now.  They simply do not want him to be able to have any power.  Donald Trump has done so much for the United States and the people, but the Democrats look right over it.  President Trump is being blamed for the riots that occurred on January 6, 2021.  Donald Trump had said multiple times that he did not want violence and that violence would not be tolerated.  The Democrats are trying to kick the Republicans while they are already down.  The Republican party “lost” this election already.  If they are so confident that Joe Biden will do a phenomenal job and actually received 80 million votes, then the Democartic party should not be worried about Donald Trump running for President again. There is no reason to impeach President Donald Trump.

AK: Impeachment is justified under the fact that some of the president’s words emboldened and encouraged some of the terrorists to storm the capital, but that is also up to interpretation. Congress is relatively split on this decision and that is because it depends on how one interprets the words and actions of the president. In my personal opinion, impeachment was not justified until the various tweets Trump sent out during the attack. One of the videos he sent out only further emboldened them by continuing to drill in the false narrative that the election was stolen, the reason they were storming the capital in the first place.

Any final thoughts?

DS: I believe that the riot that occurred is just as bad as the riots over the summer. A riot is a riot no matter what the motive is. Neither are justifiable. Many want to focus on the riot at the Capitol Building and blame the Republican Party for all the violence. There was more violence during the riots and looting over the summer.  Both are completely disgusting. The people of America can’t condemn just one political party’s riots. The riots need to be condemned by everyone. The violence and destruction is uncalled for. The riots and looting over the summer was far worse than the event at the Capitol Building yet less people pointed out how sad it was. More people died and more property was destructed. Not only were more people injured or killed, but many lost their jobs and businesses due to the burning of buildings. That being said, they were both disgusting and unjustifiable. Riots cannot happen. A riot is a riot and the violence needs to end.

AK: In the end, no matter how this is categorized, this day will be remembered for years to come. 4+ years of division culminated into that day, and as a country, we can’t let something like that happen again. We cannot let hatred, fear, and personal differences get the best of this us. As a country, we are more than Democrats and republicans we are human beings, and if we can’t treat each other as just that, then we have a long way to go.