Updated: Oct 27, 2021
January 6th, 2021 — Only six days into the new year, and already a new group of protesters emerged. Only this time the fight was not for black lives, and the protesting tactics used could be considered too extreme, over the top, and honestly really dangerous. This protest was in response to Donald Trump losing the 2020 election and the belief that the election was rigged. Not only did this group of protesters break into the Capitol while Congress members were inside, but they took pictures, sat on congress member’s desks, stole things, and walked around like a bunch of children on a school field trip.
The group of protesters raised big flags and signs in support of Donald Trump, saying “Trump 2020” or “Stop The Steal.” Many of the rioters were not wearing masks and, of course, not social distancing. Some even had guns and other weaponry on them. This led to Congress being evacuated and to the activation of the National Guard. Forty-seven arrests were made for curfew violations and another five for weapons violations. D.C. Emergency Medical Services transported ten injured civilians along with fourteen police officers. Four people died, with one woman shot and three other protesters due to medical emergencies. It is clear that there was nothing peaceful about the events that took place at the Capitol.
This can only be described as a riot and domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism is the commission of terrorist acts in the perpetrator’s own country against their fellow citizens. As former presidents and politicians express their anger and disappointment, Donald Trump has yet to condemn the behavior of these supporters and instead tweeted things like:
Many were horrified by this attack. Civilians were outraged about the way this group of protesters was handled by authorities and the president, in contrast to the treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters and supporters.
Black Lives Matter protests were held not just in the U.S. but all over the world. Many of these became violent too. However, many consider police officers as the source of violence. These protests began and persisted in order to gain justice for all the innocent black lives wrongfully taken by unequipped or careless police. Though most people in these protests were wearing masks and didn’t have guns or weapons on them, a lot of the protests still ended in chaos. Protesters were left injured, arrested, missing, or dead.
Some Capitol protesters were also injured, arrested, and, unfortunately, killed. Though this is tragic, these protesters were being violent. When confronted by authorities they decided to fight back and continue to break the law, risking their lives as well as the lives of others.
B.L.M. was inspired by the need for peace and justice for the black community. Most protests were done peacefully and didn’t get violent until police officers, the National Guard, and other authorities came over and began running people over with their cars, shooting rubber and wooden bullets, hitting people with batons, and throwing tear gas or pepper-spraying crowds. Wrongful arrests ran rampant.
All this was because people wanted equality or were protesting in the streets and creating some traffic. B.L.M. protesters responded in what can only be seen as self-defense, while protesters at the Capitol looked as if they were prepared for violence, were waiting for it to happen, and fought violence with more violence once met with it. They then acted as though they were victims of injustice, after just committing domestic terrorism.
To be fair, not everyone chanting “B.L.M.” or “Black Lives Matter” were peaceful either. Some protesters choose to loot and burn stores. But this is when we need to ask ourselves: Were those real supporters or people who saw an opportunity to steal things, be chaotic, or make B.L.M. supporters look bad?
Even with that, 93% of B.L.M. protests remained peaceful, and protesters tried to avoid and not engage in any violence, according to USA TODAY. Capitol protesters were treated with more respect, dignity, and privilege and were handled less harmfully. Protesters proudly gave their names to the press and laughed while breaking into the Capitol building. They posed with monuments and carried out souvenirs. While former President Donald Trump gave nothing but a slap on the wrist to the Capitol protesters, he had the opposite reaction to B.L.M. protesters:
It is truly disheartening to see people deemed as “criminals” and “thugs” for asking for freedom and equality in a country that claims to have justice for all. Meanwhile, those who choose to take advantage of our freedom to assemble, causing fear and violence, get away virtually scot-free. It has now become more clear than ever that police brutality is aimed towards a specific group of people. We, as a nation, need to encourage being educated and more involved in these topics and in politics as a whole. This is how we create change and achieve “justice for all.”