President Trump previewing the events at the Capitol a week before, which would escalate from his rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6. (Photo Courtesy WJLA)
President Trump previewing the events at the Capitol a week before, which would escalate from his rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6.

Photo Courtesy WJLA

Editorial: Comparing a terrorist attack to peaceful protests is ridiculous

The U.S. Capitol riot wasn't a protest, but a terrorist attack

January 13, 2021

The following is an editorial that represents the views of the staff. The views expressed in this editorial do not represent those of the adviser, teachers or administration of Robinson High School or the school district of Hillsborough County.

Protests are constitutional. Peaceful protests are constitutional. It’s a secured right in the First Amendment. It is your right as an American to fight for your opinion to be heard, but what occurred at the country’s capitol building on Jan. 6 was unbelievable.

The Capitol was under attack.

Trump supporters furious with the election results rallied together in DC as members of Congress met inside the Capitol to certify the electoral college’s votes. President Trump engaged on Twitter and during a rally earlier in the day, encouraging supporters to go to the Capitol. They listened. They stormed in during the protest with guns, zip-ties and a variety of flags—including Confederate, Blue Lives Matter and Trump. They rampaged the chambers and even the private offices of representatives and senators.

It was no longer a protest—this was a riot, a domestic terrorist attack on democracy as we know it.

Americans across the country were glued to their phones for updates on what was happening. No one had ever stormed the Capitol during an event like this! The last time that building was stormed was in 1814 by the British in a time of war. History was unfolding before the eyes of the world.

Over the past year, protests arose across the country around Black Lives. When thinking back to what happened at the Capitol, two questions stand out: What if those associated with the Black Lives Matter protest did such an act to the Capitol and where were the police?

Protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest on June 4, 2020 in Downtown Tampa. (Photo Trysten Higgins)

The Black Lives Matter Movement was prominent in June of 2020 as people took to the streets to express their discontent with racial inequality with regards to police brutality. Almost every protest, police were present. Many of the protests were peaceful (only 7% of the total protests were the burning/looting of stores). Even if they were mostly calm, the police were still present as to “keep peace.” However in some cases, these BLM protesters were shot at with rubber bullets, teargassed, hit and maced by police regardless of what they were doing.

Now to the DC protests. This protest was to combat the “supposed election fraud” President Trump has preached to his followers for the past two months. They marched all the way to the capitol building without much trouble. From the eyes of an onlooker, the police didn’t seem to care. They took pictures with these people, and according to a video circulating the internet, moved the gates out of the way to let them get to the building!

Where was the teargas? The rubber bullets? Yes, a woman was shot, but from watching the news, it seemed that the police peacefully removed many of the others from the building. On that day, only around 69 people were arrested (as the days went on, more arrests were made) while in one demonstration for the BLM movement, 194 arrests were made.

Black Lives Matter was a civil rights movement while these Trump supporters were upset at a fair election that didn’t go their way. And the way the police acted was different in both cases! The police were less aggressive with the terrorists attacking the Capitol than everyday people wanting to be heard. The double standard is appalling.

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