Column: Capitol riots show double standard

Destiny Blanchard

Last Wednesday, Jan. 6 the U.S. endured an attack on our capital that will be written in history books. This attack has cycled the news every day since it happened. As I watched the events unfold something plagued my mind. The outcome of the attack would’ve been much different if those who stormed it looked like me.

This thought was not only shared by me, while watching the news my mother looked over and said: “You know that if they were Black they’d be dead before they reached the door.”

Of course she’s right; there’s no version of America that would allow thousands of black and brown bodies to break into the U.S. Capitol to cause damage and incite violence. Many have called upon the hypocrisy of the handling of the Capitol attack when compared to the many Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the summer of 2020.

On June 1 of 2020, 316 Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested in Washington D.C. And throughout the rest of that week around 6,000 troops, agents, and officers were implemented in D.C. control and arrest those who participated in the marches. Helicopters flew over while armored vehicles patrolled the streets.

Law enforcement took their jobs seriously, sometimes to a point that was overtly aggressive and violent. Throughout the country, other marches were met by officers in riot gear, who often sprayed tear gas and spattered crowds with rubber bullets. The message sent at the time was that law enforcement would be willing to do anything to thwart control over those people.

On Jan. 6 we saw a stark contrast in law enforcement. The pro-Trump rioters were easily able to get past the Capitol’s barricade and overpower the police. Rather than the police, it was the Trump supporters who sprayed chemical irritants and held weapons.

This resulted in the injury of 50 officers, the death of five people, and the destruction of the Capitol. A limited amount of unarmed National Guard members was called upon, but not until three hours after the start of the attack. Of the 2,200 Capitol police, only 500 were on duty that day and only 340 National Guard members were added to control the attack that included 8,000 people.

By the end of the day, only 61 arrests were made. The outcome of the riot is unsurprising and disappointing, hopefully it allows for people to reevaluate the ideals, they hold as many of them are shared by those who stormed our Capitol.

 

Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]