Yesterday marked one year since the Capitol Riot of January 6 when supporters of the former president stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of electoral votes and …
Yesterday marked one year since the Capitol Riot of January 6 when supporters of the former president stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of electoral votes and ultimately overturn the election.
Images of broken glass, barricaded doors and hand-to-hand combat between outnumbered Capitol police officers and a violent mob are still fresh in our minds.
The sight of a gallows erected in the shadow of the Capitol and Confederate symbols carried through the halls of Congress are difficult to forget.
In the days after the attack on the Capitol, it seemed that the justified outrage at those who participated in this event crossed party lines. There was a glimmer of hope that those in positions of power would put their country above their party. But in the twelve months since, that bipartisan outrage has seemed to recede. There are those who would prefer to let this anniversary go by unobserved. There are others actively engaged in a concerted effort to rewrite history in order to absolve those responsible. They’d like us to deny what we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears.
Since the events of January 6, 2021 over 700 people who participated in the riot have been arrested and charged with a litany of crimes ranging from misdemeanor trespassing to felony assault on a police officer with a dangerous weapon. Of those more than 700 individuals, only 151 have pled guilty to their charges.
Locally we’ve been following the case of former Narrowsburg resident Edward Jacob Lang, who prosecutors say fought at the vanguard of the mob, holding a riot shield and swinging a baseball bat at Capitol police officers. Lang is charged with 13 counts, including multiple felonies. He recently rejected a plea deal that would have included at least six years in prison. Lang maintains his innocence and he deserves his day in court. That being said, the mountain of digital evidence against him includes photographs, cell phone and surveillance videos, as well as Lang’s own social media posts bragging about his actions.
Our Republican and Conservative friends might point to a double standard in the media coverage of riots and looting that took place in the summer of 2020 as millions of Americans demonstrated in support of police reform. They're right to differentiate between civil disobedience and criminal behavior. No matter what your motivation, indiscriminate violence and destruction is never justified. Hopefully that’s something we can all agree on.
But it would be false to draw an equivalence between events. Never before in our history has an outgoing president incited a violent attack on our own institutions of government in order to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to his duly elected successor.
No matter what your party affiliation, such autocratic behavior tramples on the very Constitution every president takes a solemn oath to defend. It should cause grave concern for every American as we move forward through these uncertain times.
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