An Olympian (Klete Keller). Off-Duty Cops (Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson). An Orthodox Jew who is the son of a Superior Court Judge (Aarom Mostofsky). Nazis (Robert Keith Packer). A real estate agent who flew on a private jet (Jenna Ryan). Former military officers (Larry Rendell Brock Jr.). Elected officials (Derek Evans).
A sampling of over 100 people arrested following the January 6th riot and insurrection at the capitol building gives us the expected believers from the mass delusion of Qanon, acolytes like Jacob Anthony Chansley, the Qanon “shaman”, as well as those more unexpected, like ex Latin King member Kash Lee Kelly.
Legal Action on Terrorism
Lawmakers who may have assisted or aided via previous tours are facing jeopardy due to prosecutors potentially working the events as conspiracy cases.
We witnessed a terror attack at the seat of our government. In plain terms, terrorism is the use or threat of violence against civillians, civillian targets, or civillian resources, in order to achieve political goals. These can be (but not limited to) a concession on policy, to propagandize, or to force a change in government.
The entire premise behind the riot almost perfectly matches the definition. Lawmakers are not soldiers, the Capitol is not a military target.
There was certainly violence and the threat thereof, with 5 people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Gallows were erected on the lawn. Rioters chanted to “Hang Mike Pence”, the sitting Vice-President. An Alabaman was arrested with Molotov cocktails filled with homemade napalm and firearms. A broken down truck separated one man from attempting to kill Nancy Pelosi.
Danger to Democracy
There has been plenty of discussion of how the BLM protests this summer were met with a wholly different response than people who actually stormed the Capitol. The overwhelming force that greeted people protesting racial injustice was not needed then, but was very much needed on the 6th.
This was a known fact.
Trump's own Department of Homeland Security warned that White Supremacist Groups were the single most dangerous source of domestic terrorirsm in the US, in September 2020.
The FBI warned this fall that right wing terrorism would be a flashpoint around the election, and prepared intelligence briefs that said as such.
Even with whistleblowers saying the Trump Political employees were downplaying this threat, Congress itself was briefed this fall about the threat Far-Right ideologies posed to our country.
What the hell happened?
By being overwhelmed in force, law enforcement had to retreat. They had to get creative in their job of protection when if it came to force, they would lose. Eugene Goodman of Capitol Police managed to engage and convince a crowd to follow him away from the unsecured Senate Chamber.
Where do we go from here?
With prosecutors considering conspiracy charges, the next few weeks and months will likely continue to see people identified and arrested. If conspiracy becomes the main angle that prosecutors take, as it looks like it will, sedition charges will become likely. However, to prove a conspiracy the government is likely going to take time to try and connect each member of the riot and attack to anyone they coordinated with in order to prove the breadth of the conspiracy. This will take time.
While not everyone who took place in the riot will be arrested, it is highly likely that we will continue to see arrests well past the start of the Biden administration. It is also safer for the arrests to be conducted after the crowd subsided. In addition to risking conflict with the mob, the logistical hurdles of arresting people en masse, while not impossible, as seen nationwide this summer, is even harder when law enforcement has essentially been “pantsed” by the Trump Administration.
Make no mistake, this was a terrorist act that we witnessed on January 6th. And while the cases have not been heard in court, law enforcement, especially the FBI and acting US Attorney for D.C have not been lacksiasical about ensuring those who participated face justice.