As the House’s Jan. 6 committee opened its hearings, carried live on TV around the world, four officers gave raw, emotional testimony that was shocking even to people who had closely followed coverage of the insurrection.https://t.co/U5Mkn6VXQz
— Jon Cooper ?? (@joncoopertweets) July 27, 2021
“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, it will be wild!” ~ Donald Trump
I am writing this not so much for the people who will wholeheartedly agree that he was issuing an undeniable invitation to storm the castle (um, Capitol) and is responsible for what transpired on what was considered sacred ground.
I’m penning it for those who need convincing that it was horrific, unthinkable, unjustified, and shameful. Not that they are likely to read it, but I intend to make it visible to them as well as those in my own sane echo chamber.
I watched because I couldn’t avoid it—the testimony of the officers who held the line and, according to a tearful Adam Kinzinger, who said it so eloquently, they won.
Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell shared their first-person accounts of the terror they experience as they did their best to protect the Capitol and those inside from domestic terrorists who think of themselves as patriots.
I found myself in tears, feeling nausea, feeling rage, and feeling fear. I feel a sense of disgust toward anyone who participated in that day in any capacity. Yes, I believe in the First Amendment, but they abused it to incite and participate in violence.
I hold accountable anyone involved. I hold accountable the one who invited them to the party. I hold accountable anyone who justifies what happened. I hold accountable anyone who perpetuates The Big Lie. I hold accountable anyone who still supports the former guy—this is what you voted for.
Two days after the insurrection, riot, terror attack, violent protest, attempt to overthrow the government and overturn a fair and just election, I wrote a piece called “Which Is More Horrifying—The Actions of The Outgoing President Or Those Who Enable Him?”
I included a letter to Trump supporters, whether they voted for him, are on his side of the aisle in government, deny the reality of what happened, or were there on January 6th. Here it is:
Are you watching what is going on in D.C. right now? Protestors have stormed the Capitol. Instigated and perpetuated by the man you voted for.
This is what you bought and paid for with your vote. I am furious and frightened. How are you feeling right about now? If invaders from another country were doing this, you friggin’ know you would be all for immediate intervention.
This is terrorism, nothing less.
These are our fellow Americans.
How can we create peace when they are waging war?
The verifying of President-elect Biden’s electoral votes has been halted as everyone is being evacuated. When peaceful protestors were standing up against police violence, this administration unleashed hellfire. Although I am a pacifist, there needs to be a strong response to stop this.
You know that if the majority of the protestors were people of color—this would be a massacre.
Some of you who are reading this article might say that I should be compassionate, nonjudgmental, and not take sides since people had their own personal reasons for voting for him—but I’m not that lofty; I will always take sides in situations like this.
These officers put their lives on the line for the people who inevitably don’t stand by them now, some who wouldn’t look them in the eye, shake their hands, or even thank them.
These folks will have PTSD for the rest of their lives. I hold people accountable who contributed to this.
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room,” Michael Fanone testified. He punctuated his words by pounding his fist on the table in front of him and said, “Too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”
Officer Dunn claimed he had never been called the N-word while in uniform.
When the crowd claimed that nobody voted for Joe Biden, he answered, “Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”
“You hear that guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden!” said a woman in a pink MAGA shirt. “Boo! Fucking n*****!” the crowd chanted.
Officer Gonnell testified that it was not a love fest, as Trump claimed. “I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day,” he continued. “If that was hugs and kisses, then we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him. To me, it’s insulting, and it’s demoralizing because everything that we did was to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt. And what he was doing instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support, or telling his people, his supporters to stop this nonsense, he egged them to continue fighting.”
Officer Hodges was seen being crushed in a door as his helmet was being pulled off. “I did the only thing I could do, scream for help,” Hodges said. “To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for police, more than once, as the terrorists continued to ignore our commands and attacked us.”
These alleged Back the Blue folks used their flags as weapons. They used the American flags as weapons. They used Trump flags as weapons. They used Don’t Tread On Me flags as weapons. They used their bodies and their words as weapons.
When I see these flags in my daily life, I cringe and flip them the bird.
I have had the paradoxical feelings of wanting to sit with those who display them and get to the root of how they came to endorse hatred and wanting them to have a karmic moment where they see consequences for what they believe in.
Some of them are neighbors in my region. Some who traveled to Washington D.C. that day, whether or not they crossed the line into trespassing or violence and went there with the intent to protest the legitimate election results.
None of those who objected to the outcome who won down-ballot discounted their wins using the same systems and vote counting regimen.
Who was there to witness their grief and trauma wasn’t as telling as who wasn’t. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed to be too busy in meetings to watch what went on.
I wonder if he was guilt-ridden. “The president bears responsibility for [the] attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said on the House floor. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.”
Shortly afterward, he stepped it back and even made the trip to Bedminster, New Jersey, to pledge fealty to the former president. What are he and his compatriots afraid will be uncovered?
As I sat with what I watched and listened to their words and let them sink into my soul, I felt my own rage rising.
These men face their detractors in the Capitol every day and still are obligated to protect them. They also have no idea if they will come face to face with any of the rioters who were not arrested. More than 540 rioters have been charged, while more than 3oo have not been arrested.
Even more appalling is that at least 15 of them had been police officers themselves.
I watch Don Lemon as he asks, “Where do we go from here?”
If there is justice in the world, anyone in the White House who planned, plotted, was aware, didn’t stop it, and the hitman who sent them will be prosecuted and found guilty and serve time.
Officer Dunn said it succinctly, “If a hitman is hired and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does. There was an attack carried out on January 6th, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.”