January 6, 2021

Witness Post: Capitol Breach

Starting at 8pm on January 5, I felt sick to my stomach. Two hours later, I was throwing up my dinner and losing all of the fluids in my gut. By 5am on the 6th, I was losing my balance and could not walk up the stairs in our house. My wife called 9-1-1, but there was no answer. Gritting my way through vertigo, it was time to drive to the emergency room at the closest hospital in SW Portland. Off we drove, my wife at the wheel and me hoping my latest wave of nausea would wait. In short time we were in the triage area at OHSU in Portland, awaiting a Covid-19 test and determination what to do with me as the latest “walk-in” patient.

Little did I know what was going on in Washington. DC that day. A day that will live seared into our memory.

Under the Dome

Breach of the Capitol, 1/6/2021

Some of the descriptions from the New York Times, seasoned by 9 months of marinade, were in the Sunday edition today (October 17, 2021). Here they are for some reflection on the revolt and time for restitution, perhaps.

“Sprayed chemicals choked the air, projectiles flew overhead and the unbridled roars formed a battle-cry din — all as a woman lay dying beneath the jostling scrum of the Jan. 6 riot.” In those suffocating clouds of chemicals, Americans fought other Americans with fists and cudgels, with bear spray and hunks of broken wood. Examining the image above, the Capitol building was under siege and the crowd had been whipped up by the President. “We need Patriots!” The Stop-the-Steal and Save-America-March attendees had devolved into an angry mob. The blood of patriots was soon spilled on the steps of the Capitol that day, a republic turned upside down.

Trump from the Ellipse calls for march on the Capitol to stop the steal.

The New York Times has been trying to “slow down the video evidence” of what happened on the Capitol steps and “trace back the roots of the violence and its perpetuators … duped by political lies, goaded by their leaders, and swept up in a frenzied throng.” How could the crowd unite in breathtaking acts of brutality toward those defending the Capitol?

Hand to hand combat on the Capitol steps

As the authors said, “The American flag became a blunt instrument in [a] man’s hands. Wielding the flagpole like an ax, he swung once, twice, three times, to beat a police officer being dragged down the steps of the United States Capitol.” One officer died from his physical wounds, five more died from the psychological ones. Five Trump supports died.

Shortly before 1:00pm on the 6th, the protestors, after forming furious eddies of resistance, brimming in MAGA hats and green camo, breached the police barricades surrounding the Capitol. With the resulting attack on the symbol of our democracy, these “patriots” celebrated the first assault on the Capitol since the British launched their fiery attack in 1814. This time it was Americans doing the attacking. Thousands were on a rampage to destroy their own symbol of democracy and kill the vice-president.

Insurrectionists in the Capitol on January 6

When does the shame end? When does the stain disappear? Perhaps never.