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Multiple reports place police, military, and community pillars in the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 after casing the place the day before.

2021-01-14

A few dozen of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6 have been identified and arrested so far. We can guess that at least 20,000 people were on the Capitol grounds and several hundred gained access to the building after pounding on the locked doors for half an hour. So many did not wear masks, or had other obvious identifying patches, badges, hats, or paraphernalia that hundreds were readily picked out on photo and video.

The people who entered the Capitol did not bother to try to hide their identities. They seemed oblivious to the many cameras or even posed for selfies. A few posed with police officers who were supposed to be keeping them out.

Those who have been identified represent a cross-section of the white community: businessmen, doctors and nurses, politicians, policemen, many ex-military members (and a few current members), and other gainfully employed functioning members of society. There was not a predominance of young agitators; in fact, most of the crowd was not in college nor recent graduates.

There were no left-wing group members identified, despite conservative canards that the violence was perpetrated by Antifa or other agitators. It appears that the left avoided the Capitol on that day. A middle-aged black woman in the crowd outside was assaulted despite her intended appearance to support the demonstration. There were virtually no other black or dark brown people in the crowd.

A more disturbing observation was reported by a Congressperson (an ex-helicopter pilot for the Navy) and enclosed in a letter to Capitol authorities. On the day prior to the assault (January 5), she noticed unusual groups of people apparently touring the Capitol building. She received word from the Sergeant at Arms that any groups would have to have been escorted in by members of Congress or their staffs.

No tour groups have been sponsored in the Capitol since March 2020 as a precaution against spreading COVID-19. The ex-Navy pilot described the unusual groups as appearing to be engaged in “reconnaissance” and an attempt to figure out which way was best to enter the House floor or the Senate chamber. These groups, if they were brought in by members of Congress or their staffs, suggest a higher level of organization than has been proposed.

These reconnaissance groups, along with the two distracting pipe bombs in nearby buildings that were discovered before they could explode, suggest a more intense and comprehensive organization. These suggestive findings are sinister to contemplate. Conspiracy theories about attempts to take members of Congress hostage or even murder them are hard to avoid. We should try to maintain open minds and not assume that there has been a deep conspiracy afoot, but neither should be be naive about this situation.

We are suffering under an avalanche of COVID-19 infections, with record hospitalizations overwhelming hospitals all over the country. Vaccinations cannot come too soon. At the same time, we should be alert for opportunistic attempts to overthrow our democratic form of government.

(sleeping fox by pexels via pixabay.com)

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