It’s funny how change happens. You thought the big change came on Election Day, when the incumbent president lost, but that turned out to be nothing compared to the change that came two months later.
On Jan. 6, supporters of Donald Trump swarmed the Capitol building. Some forced their way inside, and Washington has never been the same. It may never be the same. As a result of what happened on Jan. 6, your descendants will live in a very different country. Some in Congress have compared that day to 9/11. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has likened it to Pearl Harbor, which spurred America’s entry into the Second World War.
Every day we hear new and more florid comparisons from Democratic partisans. But Tuesday night, CNN outdid all of them by comparing what happened Jan. 6 to the Rwandan genocide.
Keep in mind that close to a million people were murdered in Rwanda in 1994, about 70% of all ethnic Tutsis in the country. Entire towns were hacked to death with machetes. People were set on fire and crushed alive by bulldozers. Hundreds of thousands of women were raped. It was among the most horrifying crimes in human history.
How does a country recover from something like that? Well, first, obviously, you punish the guilty quickly and severely. Then, and this is more important, you set about reordering your society from top to bottom to make certain nothing like that ever happens again. So you purge the military, suspend basic civil liberties, send troops to the capital, tear down the old, destroy all vestiges of the past in order to save the future.
However, before we remake America to prevent future genocide at the Capitol, maybe we should know a little bit more about the crime that occurred on Jan. 6, if only to understand the justification for overturning our lives permanently. What exactly did happen that day? You may be surprised to learn how little we know, even now. In fact, it’s remarkable how many of the most basic questions remain unanswered more than a month after the fact.
Let’s start with the headline of the day: Five Americans died on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. You’ve heard that, but it doesn’t really tell you very much. It’s the details, as always, that matter. Who were these people and how did they die? That’s how you understand what actually happened.
DEMOCRATS PLAY PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED POLICE COMMUNICATIONS FROM CAPITOL RIOT
So with that in mind, here are the facts: Four of the five who died that day were Trump supporters. The fifth was a Capitol Hill police officer who apparently also supported Donald Trump. Why is this relevant? Of course, the political views of the deceased shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately, in this case, they do. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and many other elected Democrats claim the mob was coming for them that day. Yet the only recorded casualties on Jan. 6 were people who voted for Donald Trump.
The first among them was a 34-year-old woman from Georgia called Rosanne Boyland. Authorities initially announced that Boyland died of a “medical emergency”. Later video footage suggested she may have accidentally been trampled by the crowd. We’re still not sure, but that’s the best guess.
The second casualty was 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, who died of heart failure while talking to his wife on a cell phone outside the Capitol. “Kevin had a history of high blood pressure,” his wife later said, “and in the midst of the excitement, suffered a heart attack.”
The third was 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips of Ringtown, Pa. Phillips was a Trump supporter who organized a bus trip to Washington for the rally that day. He died of a stroke on the grounds of the Capitol. There is no evidence that Phillips rioted or was injured by rioters or even went inside the Capitol building.
INVESTIGATORS ADVISE NO CHARGES FOR CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER WHO SHOT ASHLI BABBITT
The fourth person to die, the only one from intentional violence, was 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, a military veteran from San Diego. Babbitt was wearing a Trump cape when she was shot to death by a Capitol Hill police lieutenant. Babbitt’s death was caught on video, so hers is the best-documented death that took place that day. Yet it is surprising how little we know about it.
Babbitt was shot as she tried to crawl through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby within the Capitol, and that’s essentially the extent of what we know. Authorities have refused to release the name of the man who shot her or divulge any details of the investigation they say they’ve done. We may never know exactly why this unnamed Capitol Hill police officer took her life.
According to that officer’s attorney, “There is no way to look at the evidence and think that he is anything but a hero.” Of course, we can’t actually look at that evidence, because they’re withholding it. We can’t even know his identity. Killing an unarmed woman may be justified under certain specific circumstances, but since when is it heroic? When the dead woman has read QAnon websites? Republicans aren’t asking that question.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., has said he immediately hugged the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt and told him, “Listen, you did what you had to do.” Did the officer really have to do that? We don’t know. We do know that Ashli Babbitt was not holding a weapon when she was killed. Nevertheless, at the impeachment trial this week, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., described what happened at the Capitol as “an armed insurrection.”