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January 6, 2021
I'm composing this photo essay on the evening of the day of these events. I have no idea how the following days will unfold, but I want to record today for posterity.

UPDATE: I've written an addendum four days after this account because I want to archive an incident during the riot that I feel needs to be honored for years to come. See below.)

Today was to be the day of the ceremonial recording in the Senate of the electoral votes affirming Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. As I write this at 8:30 PM PST, that is in fact finally happening. But it hasn't been the proforma event it's always been. This is how things started on December 18...

"Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!" He wasn't being subtle. In fact, he held a rally this morning near the White House two hours before the start of the Senate ceremony.


After the two-hour rally in which Trump told the crowd, " We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore," and Giuliani exhorted the crowd to conduct "trial by combat", they marched the two miles to the Capitol.

Meanwhile in the Senate chamber Ted Cruz received a standing ovation from his fellow Republican senators for objecting to the counting of electoral votes.

Encountering very little resistance from the Capitol Police, the rioters attacked the Capitol.





This was a planned attack, as evidenced by this communication between two seditionists.
Incidentally, openly carrying weapons in Washington D.C. is illegal and yet the police did little to enforce that law, even within the Capitol.

Several rioters were wearing this shirt, clearly anticipating violence.

Inside the building, the chambers were evacuated. Staff members removed boxes of electoral votes to safety as rioters broke through windows and filled hallways...




This terrorist was armed and clearly intending to take hostages.

And clearly people were terrorized.




The rioters desecrated the halls and chambers of The People's House...






This is Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, from Gravette, AR showing off the personalized envelope he took from Speaker Pelosi’s office. (Exhibit A in his trial for mail theft.)


So who are these people? They're public service enablers...

... and white supremacists (those are White Power hand signs)...
... and secessionists...
... and Qanon conspiracy theorists (that's a Q shirt)...
... and anti-Semites...
... and racists.

All very fine people.




UPDATE 1/10/21:
Artist Jon Lion drew this portrait of Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, noting that he’s a hero.


Not only is Eugene Goodman a hero, he’s a classically nonviolent one.

On Wednesday he was pursued by elements of the mob led by Doug Jensen, the guy in the Q shirt, up the stairs of the Capitol.


When Goodman got to the landing what he saw to his left, a few feet away between the two chairs in the hallway, was an unguarded door to the Senate chamber.   Just moments before, Vice President Pence—whom the mob was hunting—and his family had been rushed into a room a hundred feet down this same hall on the right.


The Senate was still in session and there were many senators on the floor.  The events of the day could have been very different if Goodman hadn’t acted as brilliantly as he did in this moment.

He first blocks Jensen’s view of the hallway…


… then shoves him, knowing this would bait the aggressive white man…


… and then backs down the hallway leading Jensen and the mob away from the unguarded door.


These stills are from a video by Igor Bobic of this instance of Officer Goodman's remarkable courage and quick thinking.   (Scroll down Bobic's page until you find the tweet, "Here’s the scary moment when protesters initially got into the building from the first floor and made their way outside Senate chamber.")

The Washington Post has assembled a remarkable video timeline of events in the Capitol.  It's amazing to me how close the seditionists came to overthrowing our United States democracy.  Officer Goodman is primarily responsible for preventing a devastating loss and deserves presidential and congressional recognition.

The New Yorker photographer Luke Mogelson was inside the Capitol with the rioters and recorded remarkable, up-close scenes of the chaos and destruction.  Watching the rioters, I'm troubled by the enigma underlying all the criminality: What's the point of all this? What's their grievance?  It certainly isn't poverty, or loss of civil rights, or tyrannical government.  They just seem to be what my mother would have called spoiled brats.

Pro Publica has archived many Parler videos from the day.