- DC Capitol Police go “political” to protect democracy
DC Capitol Police provide an object lesson in protecting democracy.
“Yes, this is political.”
-Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, during testimony before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol Complex, July 27
The question before the January 6 Committee — not ‘Commission’ — is not how “January 6” started, not how we prevent another “January 6,” but what we, as a “self-governing society,”are willing to sacrifice to protect democracy.
The DC Capitol police demonstrated heroism January 6. They are heroes.
They also committed a sacrifice — “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”
Today they served their country ably as witnesses and teachers. Moreover the officers provided context. One, Officer Daniel Hodges, “came prepared,” with a legal definition of “domestic terrorism,” which he read into the record.
Their collective concern, voiced several times during Tuesday’s opening session, is how do we find recruits? Who will replace me when I retire?
Who will care?
Good questions for the committee.
Not being investigated were the elites who delayed, stood by, turned away, argued “what-abouts,” refused, rejected, marginalized and abetted the “events of and surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Congress.”
Not being investigated was the aborted attempt to impeach President Trump for inciting the attempted overthrow of the government.
Not being accounted for were the military delays summed up by the cynical opinion of one military elite that deploying armed National Guard on “unarmed protestors” would be “bad optics.”
Committee prove me wrong.
In a bit of gallows humor, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the former House Committee Chair who directed the failed second attempt to impeach Trump, raised with one of the DC Capitol Police protectors, the existential question dangled by Republican co-conspirators, “weren’t these tourists?”
Officer Hodges’ answer: “If that’s what American tourists are like, I can see why foreign countries don’t like American tourists.”
There is something “snarky-grim” about this exchange: two protectors of democracy quipping about democracy’s fragility.
A critical question may soon loom before the committee: Why didn’t they (the insurrectionists) use guns? Two plausible answers: someone in a position of authority asked them not to (“freedom of expression”) and someone in a position of authority asked them not to use arms unless fired upon (“self-defense”).
This person(s) “in a position of authority”understands defense of civilian protest and has access to individuals who understand criminal defense. Such a legal calibration could only be orchestrated from the White House. Rep. Jim Jordan may have a copy of the script.
There is another dimension to this reckoning and that is coordinating such a terrorist response as witnessed January 6 requires planning, discipline and a “chain of command.” The committee’s work has just begun because behind the testimony and videos live-streamed on cable July 27 is a coordinated army of terrorists planning the next disruption of democracy, and the next… and the next…
To Sen. Ron Johnson, characterizing the call to investigate the role of domestic terrorist cells in the January 6 insurrection a “false narrative:”
I live in Michigan, the state where Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh recruited accomplices, where they planned, trained and armed before committing the Oklahoma City bombing.