Why is no one talking about the security failure on Jan. 6?
January 14, 2022
There are bad people in this world who do bad things. Sometimes they’ll blow up buildings or shoot people in schools or burn down a police precinct or even violently riot at the U.S. Capitol.
When these horrible crimes are committed, some of the questions we ask, especially with assaults on public buildings, are: How could we have prevented it? Was our security sufficient? Did we take the proper precautions?
And yet, no one seems to be mentioning any of these crucial concerns as we review and analyze the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol by Trump supporters.
I’ve read countless commentaries on this subject and all the focus seems to be on the bad guys and their threat to our democracy. No kidding! Assaulting a federal building while votes are being counted to certify a presidential election is indeed a terrible violation of our democracy. We must locate and prosecute all the criminals and make sure that such unspeakable acts never happen again.
But what about the obvious question: Where was the security to prevent the breach of the Capitol — especially since we had plenty of advance warning that trouble was brewing?
In fact, according to a report in The Washington Post, “The U.S. Capitol Police had specific intelligence that supporters of President Donald Trump planned to mount an armed invasion of the Capitol at least two weeks before the Jan. 6 riot.” This was based on the findings of a bipartisan Senate investigation released last June.
Why is no one talking about that?
One reason is that both Democrats and Republicans are too busy exploiting the assault on the Capitol for political purposes. Vice President Kamala Harris likened the events of January 6 to the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the tragedy of 9/11. But an attack from a foreign country or non-citizens is not the same as an attack from within. It’s easy to see that Harris wants us to connect the dots: It was Trump supporters who attacked our Capitol, and therefore all Trump supporters, and perhaps all Republicans, are the enemy. In other words, next time elections roll around, don’t vote for the enemy.
Many Republicans, on the other hand, continue to minimize what happened that day, arguing that we did not see what we saw — that it was only an innocent protest that got a little too carried away.
Both sides are wrong, and it’s clear that the focus of each is about retaining or grabbing political power. Isn’t that how it always is? Control the narrative — shape and re-shape it to fit your political agenda — and you control the outcome.
The constant manipulation of the narrative for political purposes means that no one cares to focus on the security component, which is something worthy of our outrage.
NPR reported last January that the former chief of U.S. Capitol Police said “security officials at the House and Senate rebuffed his early requests to call in the National Guard ahead of a demonstration in support of President Trump that turned into a deadly attack on Congress.” Why is the media not making more noise and asking more questions about such an epic security breakdown?
We’re experiencing a media orgy over the horrific crime that occurred on this day last year. But why can’t we devote equal attention to how we could have prevented that crime in the first place? Security is a bipartisan issue. No matter which party we support, we all have an interest in securing our public spaces.
Flawed, sloppy security is also a threat to our democracy. Failure to treat it as such is something we should all be concerned about.