The 2021 Georgia Senate Runoff Election will go down in history as a prolific moment in American Political Democracy. Prior to the election date, tensions were high due to anxieties leftover from the November presidential election which set the stage for fuel injected, race-based politics. Whether you were a common citizen, visitor, medical professional, educator, or front-line civil servant, it did not take rocket science to see that our “Melting Pot” has become a boiling pot filled with cultural bias, bigotry and pre-Reconstruction ideologies from a dark period of America History. The incident that occurred at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 5, 2021, during the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, was in part the result of both the erosion of the public trust and the pursuit of freedom by a new culture of citizens living in an interpretative past.
News outlets reported the event’s participants as a group of rioters, concerned patriots, nationalist, and other such terms. Other news reports and accounts have described the event as “a protest” that got out of hand, or “a riot” in which some people trespassed by entering the grounds and interior of the Capitol Building. Most mainstream media outlets described the actions and behaviors of those involved almost as happenstance or accidental in its criminality; though videos and accounts show a more intentionality to the violent and intrusive behaviors of those participants.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation-FBI, this event meets the criteria for an act of Domestic Terrorism. Their website lists the definition of Domestic Terrorism under U.S. Code 18 U.S.C. 2331(5), Involving acts that (5) [domestic terrorism] means activities that: (A )involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, (B) appear to be intended; (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States (FBI, 2020). This definition is clear and certainly allows for any critics to see the events as they intended to be, a blatant attempt to stop the ratification of the 2021 national voting process, and a coordinated attempt to detain and intimidate key members of the American Government.
America is no stranger to public protest and certainly no stranger to riots. For many who may perceive this massive disruption to the normal functioning of the Federal Government as free speech, it is likely that it may be recorded as the greatest misinterpretation of a constitutional right. It is this incredulous national mindset that has now created a perilous road to repair the integrity of American Democracy. The facts of the event revealed that thousands of people illegally stormed the Federal Capitol where they had no permit or no permission to enter or occupy the premises. They destroyed, defaced, and removed Federal property to include smearing feces through the hallways as reported by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Campanile and Yaron, 2021). A video released by CNN showed a police officer being purposely crushed in a door as these violent extremists launch a coordinated medieval human battering ram tactic (CNN, 2021). As these events continued to unfold, Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick was violently beat in the head with a fire extinguisher by the violent intruders and later died from the injuries (Mascaro and Daly, 2021). Additionally, four more people were killed during the violent mayhem. Three died after suffering medical emergencies, and one was shot by a police officer (Mascaro and Daly, 2021). Other accounts from national news outlets reported the placement and detonation of explosive bombs.
Whether you voted or not. Whether you are Black or White, Jewish or Muslims, Liberal or Conservative– on January 5, 2021, five Americans tragically lost their lives, and our American Democracy became victim of The Virus of Hate. Light years from Patriotism, this act is best described as systemic violent extremism, and an act of home-grown domestic terrorism. The divisive speech, racial propaganda and obvious online radicalized warning signs that preceded the day’s event and fueled this egregious outcome is another failed attempt to rationalize a dark history that the true Americans have toiled for centuries to overcome. Public Safety and Public Trust are two of the key cornerstones of any civil society and the social glue that hold ours together. These are the only two sides of the coin we need to prioritize in efforts to prevent the continued hijacking of our American Values.
Abdou the Author: Shafiq R. Fulcher Abdussabur is the author of “A Black Man’s Guide to Law Enforcement in America” a straight talk manual to interactions between police and urban males. He currently serves on The Police Transparency & Accountability Task Force for the State of Connecticut. He is a retired law enforcement sergeant with previous certification in FBI- LEEDS, Department of Homeland Security for Countering Violent Extremism, Amtrak RAILSAFE Counter Terrorism, and Daigle Law Group- Use of Force. His highlighted national lectures include 2016 Democratic National Convention panel speaker with Representative John Lewis “Disarm Hate: The Role of Guns in Hate Crimes,” Guest presenter at 2016 Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers- FLETC Summit on “Trending Issues in Policing,” and 2017 Guest Lecture at Yale University Divinity School “Black, American, Muslim, and Cop.”
Campanile, Carl and Steinbuch, Yaron. January 8, 2021, Rioters left feces, urine in hallways and offices during mobbing of US Capitol. New York Post. Retrieved on Friday January 8, 2021 from https://nypost.com/2021/01/08/rioters-left-feces-urine-in-hallways-and-offices-during-mobbing-of-us-capitol/
CNN Tonight. January 8, 2021, Officer crushed in door by rioters at US Capitol. CNN. Retrieved on Friday January 8, 2021 https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/01/09/officer-crushed-in-door-capitol-riots-lemon-reaction-ctn-vpx.cnn
FBI. November 2020, Domestic Terrorism: Definitions, Terminology, and Methodology. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved on Friday January 8, 2021 from https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/fbi-dhs-domestic-terrorism-definitions-terminology-methodology.pdf/view
Mascaro, Lisa and Daly, Mathew. January 8, 2021, Capitol Police say cop, reportedly hit with fire extinguisher during Hill mob, dies of his injuries. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on Friday January 8, 2021 from https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-capitol-police-officer-dies-20210108-f5sy2jrnj5d7jibygzcgiamtny-story.html
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