The Insurrection at The Capitol


On Monday January 6th, 2021 an attack was held on the Capitol, Washington DC. Though details may vary based on which news source you are referring to – or which eyewitness account – the core components remain the same. At roughly 1 pm, a large group of self proclaimed Trump supporters stormed down Pennsylvania avenue, some armed despite strict firearm laws in DC. Ignoring all laws and protocols regarding Capitol safety, the terrorists marched onto the lawn – before breaching onto the floor of the House and Senate in which electoral college votes were being counted. 

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP)

Despite all this, Capitol Police only arrested 14 people, and one account of someone being fatally shot exists. Some officers were seen high fiving participants, as well as posing for selfies with them. Many of the tools used in earlier protests of 2020 were noticeably absent; items such as police dogs, mounted officers, or a perimeter heavily manned with officers. Because of the backlash the Capitol Police are now receiving (including popular tiktoks or memes comparing the security to supermarkets or plastic packaging), many have gone on record saying this wasn’t expected, as it had come out of the blue for them. This information can be proven untrue, as many accounts of ‘D Day’ were seen just days before the attack occurred. Items were stolen from The Capitol, going so far as having Nancy Pelosi’s podium found on ebay for a couple days before subsequently being taken down. It was only in the aftermath that actual consequences were doled out, many of the terrorists being put on no flight lists and unable to be taken home. 

In short, the events of January 6th were illegal, dangerous, and planned. People looked to President Trump for a response; some hoping he would explain that he didn’t support it, while others hoping he’d support the behavior. The full 1:01 minute video was posted to Donald Trump’s official twitter account, including phrases like “I know your pain,” as well as “We love you”. Following this tweet, Donald Trump’s account was suspended then banned from twitter.  Click to view Trump’s Response.

The Blue and White asked students from Apopka and students living in DC about how they felt regarding these events. 

Marriana, a highschool student, lives in DC, explained how both they and their mother felt after the attack. “I don’t feel safe leaving home… I’m LGBT and a person of color … People have tried to attack my mom’s car because she has anti-Trump, pro LGBT, and Native American stickers on her car.” They even elaborated that, “I have to be careful of what I wear outside so I don’t get attacked.” To them, the attack was, “Extremely dangerous… people were armed in places where it’s illegal to even have a concealed weapon. I’m angry and disappointed…. No one stopped them from storming The Capitol. They had guns on federal property.” Marriana explains that they personally were upset with how the situation was handled, from both Trump and the Capitol’s Force perspectives. “There’s evidence of the police helping the Trump supporters storm The Capitol. They would have acted differently if it was people of color protesting… [they] would have prevented this from ever happening. They did act differently during the Black Lives Matter protests.” When asked about how they could prevent it, Marriana elaborates. “I knew [before it happened]… I was traveling home from Texas and the plane was full of Trump supporters.” The last question regarded how America could even move forward with this, about what could be done to fix this. “This wasn’t a step in the right direction. [Trump] let the racists believe it was okay to be racist.”

Jade Graham is a student of color at Apopka High School. She believes that not only was this “a calculated move,” but also that “there is no organization in the riots. There are people joining cause they think it would be fun.” She explains that, though it was planned, it wasn’t well thought out. Simultaneously being erratic and messy whilst also targeted. “Trump has proven to me that he doesn’t work for his position… So many things have happened while he was in office. He should have done something to stop gun violence at the start, so it would not have gone this far.” She continues by stating that, “I think now we need to be very careful… now that people know how easy it is to walk inside the office, I can only assume the worst  to come.” 

Another student at Apopka High School, who wishes to stay anonymous, stresses that she believes the riots are an example of radicalism– and not the right as a whole. “The left is using blanket arguments that everyone on the right is bad… [but] most people on the right don’t agree with the rioters, and the rioters themselves were a fringe group of nutcases.” She believes that this wasn’t a calculated move, explaining “The rioters had no idea that they had the capability to breach The Capitol until they tried. I think its unprecedented in the sense that it was an attack on the government itself, [and not] American citizens or businesses.” When asked about her initial reaction to seeing it on the news, she explains that “My initial response was ‘can’t wait to see how the left media sees this’, and lo and behold, they blamed Trump for it despite him calling for them to leave. I wasn’t surprised when I saw it on the news, and I knew that there was going to be a demonstration in DC.”  When asked how she thought America should proceed, she replied “I don’t think America will move on from this. I don’t think that the country will move on as long as media companies, harsh rhetoric, and personal feeling continue to charge, anger, and scare Americans into believing that if you disagree with them politically, you are evil.”

A staff member at Apopka High School (who also wishes to remain anonymous) focuses on how shameful she found the events. “[The attack] was dangerous and unprecedented, but partially calculated. I think some acted on the spur of the moment, but many came to DC with violence and insurrection on their minds. Too much was planned ahead for that not to have been the case.” She adds that, in her opinion, “I think this was domestic terrorism. I do think many of the people involved were lied to. They actually thought the election could be overturned by them storming The Capitol.”  When questioned about how the police reacted and if the reactions would be different if the crowd was a majority of people of color, she replied, “I sadly believe that if the crowd had mainly been POC, many would have been killed. I think [the police] were ill-prepared and assumed that that kind of crowd would be loud and not act on anything.” Finally, she explains how she thinks America needs to move forward.” We need to focus on security, unity, and non-violence. So much damage has been done… that it will take a long, long time or change to occur, I fear. I am afraid for our country. Those who stormed the Capitol were claiming it was for freedom from tyranny, but in reality, they are fascists. We need to strengthen the checks and balances to avoid this in the future.” 

People shelter in the House gallery as rioters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP)