The January 6 Show Was a Flop
“The disappointment was palpable. As the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot approached, the Department of Homeland Security had warned state and local law enforcement officials that ‘domestic violent extremists’ could strike again. Security forces were on guard and many people were on edge, reported the New York Times. Yet, as a CNN anchor morosely observed during the network’s saturation coverage of the anniversary celebration: `There’s been no violence at the Capitol today.’ “
So begins Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald’s City Journal piece discussing the remarkable show of hypocrisy laid out in wall to wall national coverage of last year’s January 6 “insurrection” by evil Trump supporters. “The media’s Capitol riot anniversary celebration, however, was choreographed to underscore the fictional claim that white supremacy is the biggest impediment to civil order in the U.S. today,” MacDonald says.
“The vandals boorishly violated the respect due to our national monuments. The rioters who assaulted police officers undermined conservatives’ claim to be the party of law and order and aligned themselves with the thugs who have been killing or attempting to kill cops since the George Floyd race riots.
“So far, however, the most concrete fallout from the January 6 tantrum is not a `dagger at the throat of democracy,’ as President Joe Biden put it in a speech from the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. There was no chance that that clownish crew of disorganized, deluded Trump acolytes would reverse the election outcome or permanently halt the vote certification. The real consequence of January 6 is rather the excuse that the riot gives the Left to go after conservative causes and conservative speech, all in the name of fighting an imaginary white-supremacist threat. And to ensure that the pretext remains vital, leaders from Biden on down are peddling distortions and unctuous, newly found patriotism.
“But Biden’s promise to present `God’s truth about January 6, 2021′ was a mirage. Biden recounted how he and First Lady Jill Biden `mourned police officers in this Capitol Rotunda not once but twice in the wake of January 6th. Once to honor Officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life the day after the attack, and a second time to honor Officer Billy Evans, who lost his life defending this Capitol as well.’ Biden implies that Sicknick and Evans were killed by the January 6 unrest. But Officer Sicknick (he of the lethal fire-extinguisher myth) returned to his office after the riot and reported that he was fine, despite having been pepper-sprayed. He died the next day of natural causes, according to the coroner, who did not attribute his death to any January 6 rioter. The Justice Department’s investigations and indictments of the January 6 vandals have charged no one in Sicknick’s death.
“Biden’s linking of Officer Billy Evans to January 6 is an outright fabrication. Evans’s death had nothing to do with January 6: he was killed by a black nationalist follower of Elijah Muhammad who drove his car into Evans and other Capitol police officers on April 2, 2021. It is a mark of how desperate the Democrats are to elevate the January 6 death toll that they are willing to undermine their white supremacist story by including in that toll a black nationalist murder of a police officer nearly three months later.”
But the only person actually killed on January 6, 2021, was an unarmed former veteran, Ashley Babbitt, by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd,
“in what appears to be a patently unjustified use of force. Byrd had zero reason to think that Babbitt was armed or posed an imminent threat of lethal danger to himself or bystanders. Had Byrd been white and Babbitt black, even if Babbitt’s political sympathies were otherwise unchanged, the media would have called racism on him. And had a white-on-black shooting occurred outside the Trumpist context—had a white police officer shot an unarmed black trespasser breaking into a public building, say—the resulting mayhem would dwarf by magnitudes the January 6 riot.”
“Yet the media and Democratic politicians showed no interest in the Babbitt shooting. The homicide went down the memory hole. Byrd was accorded anonymity for months until he emerged for a long, sympathetic interview on NBC. By comparison, the press and activists routinely publicize the names and addresses of white police officers charged with killing black suspects, jeopardizing the safety of those officers and their families. No criminal charges have been brought against Byrd; he has been subject to no departmental discipline.
“In light of the crocodile tears shed over the trauma experienced by the Capitol’s defenders on January 6, you would think that the Democrats’ post-George Floyd denunciations of systemic police racism never happened. In his speech, Biden lauded the “brave law enforcement officials [who] saved the rule of law.” In the immediate aftermath of January 6, CNN anchor Don Lemon cried while watching video of an officer being squished in a door. Newspapers ran multipage spreads on the cops’ post-traumatic stress; the networks devoted entire specials to their stories.
“This outpouring of grief and gratitude contrasts with the silence regarding quotidian anti-cop violence. Through November 30, 2021, 67 police officers had been feloniously murdered by criminals, a 56 percent increase over 2020. That toll rose in December 2021. Ambush assaults on officers were up 91 percent in the first six months of 2021. Those victims elicited no tears from the media or tributes from national politicians. In almost every case, their passing went unacknowledged.”
MacDonald goes on to describe what amounted to a genuine insurrection during the first three days of the George Floyd riots as rioters attacked the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, forcing officers to escape as the building burned to the ground.
“The Minneapolis officers received no sympathy from the national Democratic establishment. No media outlet ran profiles on them. Similar silence greeted the hundreds of officers across the country who have been injured during each successive wave of George Floyd riots.
Members of Washington, D.C.’s law enforcement community, by contrast, have been serviced by trauma experts and wellness dogs to help them recuperate from their January 6 emotional scars. The petting dogs showed up again for the January 6 anniversary, wandering the halls of Congress to provide comfort if the ceremonies triggered flashbacks in Democratic elected officials. In further mimicry of the therapeutic campus, House Democrats shared their experiences in a two-hour therapy session, hugging and clapping after each testimonial, reports the Times.”
She closes with this: “The George Floyd riots also took aim at the symbols of government—courthouses, prosecutors’ offices, police stations, City Halls, and squad cars. The cop hatred that they amplified has proved far more lethal than the January 6 convulsion. Far more people have participated in the George Floyd riots and in the ongoing assault on law and order than breached the Capitol. The events of January 6, 2021, do not meet any legal definition of ‘insurrection.’ But if Democrats and the mainstream media insist on the term, then the violence of the last two years has also been an insurrectionary force.”
Just to be clear, the statement that the police use of force against Ashli Babbitt “appears to be … completely unjustified” is Ms. MacDonald’s opinion. I am inclined to doubt it, though I haven’t investigated the facts sufficiently to take a public position on this particular case.
In general, police should be encouraged to use more force to suppress riots, not less. We have become too tolerant of rioting and rioters. A person who chooses to participate in a riot runs the risk of police use of force, including deadly force. In the fog of confusion, it is quite possible that police may not finely calibrate their use of force by individual culpability. That would be too much to expect in a chaotic situation.
So here is the simple solution. If you don’t want to be shot during a riot, leave immediately when a riot starts.