Reflecting on Jan. 6 insurrection, one year later

Nation watched in disbelief as protesters infiltrated, desecrated Capitol

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Lindsey Plotkin

Midway through the third period on Wednesday Jan. 6, news broke that Trump supporters protesting the results of the presidential election stormed and broke into the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The insurrection led to the evacuation of the Capitol and four deaths. Around campus, many teachers tried to keep their classes going, but some teachers switched on the news. World geography teacher Greg Anderson was one of those teachers, with freshman Lucy Minton spending one of her first days on campus watching the news instead of learning about geography.

A year ago today supporters of former president Donald Trump broke into the U.S Capitol, interrupting the counting of votes to confirm President Joe Biden. The protesters smashed through barricades, assaulted law enforcement and eventually breached the interior of the Capitol forcing lawmakers into hiding. Former Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated as well as some House and Senate members. 

Many of the rioters came from a nearby rally where Trump urged them to “fight like hell” against the “stolen election.” 

“Our country has had enough,” Trump said during his Save America rally earlier that morning. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” 

Following his words, protestors marched to the U.S Capitol building.

It was interesting hearing the teachers’ opinion on the situation because they seemed pretty concerned, which concerned me because they’re adults. If the adults are concerned it’s probably bad”

— sophomore Lucy Minton

The insurrection resulted in six deaths. One woman was shot and killed by law enforcement while she tried to push her way inside a window to gain access to the Senate floor. A Capitol police officer died in the hospital after being struck on the head with a fire extinguisher while protecting the capitol from the rioters. An additional Capitol police officer died by taking his own life days after responding to the attack. Three rioters died from emergency health complications. 

Along with weapons brought by the rioter’s officials also recovered two pipe bombs and a cooler of Molotov cocktails while responding to the breach. 

According to NPR, more than 725 people have been arrested in connection with their association with the Capitol riot. As of Jan 6, 2022, 165 have pleaded guilty–145 to misdemeanors and the rest to felonies. Only 30 of the 70 that have been sentenced have gotten prison time, the other 40 with probation. 

Both members of the Democratic and Republican leadership have come out to talk about the insurrection. President Biden addressed the nation from Statutory Hall in the Capitol building calling the event and former President Trump a “threat to democracy.”

Sophomore Lucy Minton was in social studies teacher Greg Anderson’s room when he turned on the news to scenes of the capitol being infiltrated. 

“I was confused and a little nervous about what was happening,” she said. “It was interesting hearing the teachers’ opinion on the situation because they seemed pretty concerned, which concerned me because they’re adults. If the adults are concerned it’s probably bad.”

Language arts teacher Eric Wydeven said that the footage of the riot completely derailed the end of his third-period AP English class.

“Kids don’t know what to say. These are disheartening times,” he said. “We are on the edge of a cultural shift that is akin to any of these others, like the shift to postmodernism and the shift to modernism, all exacerbated by the coronavirus and the new recognition of all this institutional racism.”

Minton said the insurrection brought on a certain sense of deja vu. 

“At the time it reminded me of other historical events that happened when I or people I know were at school,” she said. “A lot of the teachers talked about 9/11 as well and how everything kinda just stopped to watch what was happening.”

We can now add Jan. 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy. ”

— then Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer

The ‘House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol’ is currently combing through thousands of documents that could shed light on the event.

Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama, among other politicians and activists, took to social media to express the gravity of the insurrection and its effect on American democracy. 

“If we want our children to grow up in a true democracy – not just one with elections, but one where every voice matters and every vote counts – we need to nurture and protect it,” Obama said in an Instagram post. “Today, that responsibility falls to all of us. And on this anniversary, nothing is more important.”

While many Mac students were not on campus to watch the events unfold but witnessed from couches, kitchen tables and desk chairs the effects of Jan. 6, 2021, will not soon be forgotten. 

“We can now add Jan. 6, 2021,” then Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said in an address later that evening. “To that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy.” 

with reporting by Naomi Di-Capua, Evelyn Griffin and Alysa Spiro