The Talon’s Response to the Attack on the Capitol


Alejandro Barba via

The United States Capitol Building, Washington, DC. The Capitol is the site where Congress presides over the legislative branch of the United States government. It is also the site of an attack by domestic terrorists on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.

By Rebekah Sun ‘22, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The horrifying events taking place on Wednesday left America in shock, embarrassment, and horror.

The Trump administration’s uncompromising narrative about voter fraud and its fervent efforts to overturn the President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory in the past few months proved futile. On January 6th, 2021, Congress convened to undergo the certification of the Electoral College’s results in Biden’s favor.

It was during this time that a mob gathered outside of the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the proceedings. The group originated from the thousands of protestors meeting in DC to attend President Trump’s “Save America” rally, during which he delivered a speech in response to the impending confirmation of his loss, most notably saying: “we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… our Republicans, the weak ones… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

Fueled by Trump’s words, the group of rioters, waving Trump flags and dressed in pro-Trump clothing, gradually began to gather outside the Capitol’s gates and eventually attempted to force their way into the building. During this period, shocked congressmen, press, and Vice President Pence who were in the process of confirming Biden’s victory, rapidly evacuated underground. Eventually, the massive crowd of protestors overwhelmed the Capitol Police force and penetrated the building from multiple sides, breaking windows and forcing doors open. Inside the building, the demonstrators vandalized statues in the Rotunda, broke into the Senate chamber, and trespassed Congress members’ personal offices and desks.

Wednesday’s incident amplified the deep hatred that has always pervaded the nation. One demonstrator could be seen waving the Confederate flag (the first to ever do so inside the Capitol building), which was raised by the Confederate army during the Civil War and is a modern symbol of white supremacy and hatred towards people of color. There were also Neo-Nazis who joined the terrorizing, including an unidentified man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt with the Nazi motto “Work brings freedom”, as well as many other parading far-right extremist messages.

The blatant display of anti-Semitist hate symbols and and racial bigotry at the nation’s capital is absolutely horrifying—it is clear that the demonstration was not merely an attempt to support a political figure, but also a shameless and repulsive demonstration of white supremacy and heinous ideologies. The tangible hatred exhibited amongst people flaunting Trump beanies, shirts, and flags says all too much.

Many have also begun to look back at our nation last year during the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement following the police murder of George Floyd. During many protests in which people of color and allies demanded racial equality and the right to their lives, the police used military grade weaponry, like tear gas and destructive rubber bullets, and abusive force to wreak violent havoc on peaceful crowds.

During Wednesday’s incident, however, police officers could be seen conversing with and even taking selfies with the rioters. Though many did try to stop the mob from entering the building, the overall police response was slow and weak. How is it that a demonstrator managed to sit down at Nancy Pelosi’s desk with her emails open? How is it possible that these rioters had the time to vandalize the statues in the Capitol rotunda with pro-Trump merchandise, take pictures next to them, and meet no resistance? How does this make sense when we compare this to the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters at St. John’s Episcopal Church?

The answer is that there is no morally logical answer.

This horrifying contrast only points to one ugly truth: skin color wields terrifying power. There is, without a doubt, that if these overwhelmingly white demonstrators had been anything but white, they would have never been able to make it past the Capitol gates. What makes it all the more revolting is that the Capitol mob happened because someone lost an election. BLM protestors were fighting for their basic human right to live.

The irony imbued in the occurrences on Wednesday is appalling—the riot provoked in the name of so-called “patriotism” was nothing short of domestic terrorism. It compromised the sanctity of our long-standing democratic processes with barbaric violence, and it distorted the historical practice of protesting from peacefully demanding progressive change to shattering windows, planting pipe bombs, and vandalizing the capital of the nation its demonstrators claim to fight for. Many of these rioters and their counterparts have long championed Law and Order, yet hypocritically resorted to monstrous insurrection in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

We as a school must join together in rebuilding our sense of balance and outwardly condemn this violent display. Our faculty and staff at Good Counsel are working relentlessly to lessen the emotional blow, as can be seen in Dr. Barker’s school-wide message.

No matter our commitment to one side of the political spectrum or the other, it is indisputable that this incident and its effects transcend political affiliations. The Xaverian value of Compassion is a basic, universal human virtue that was brazenly neglected—instead of kindness and compassion for one another, the nation saw more division and hatred than ever. At Good Counsel, we are taught to love one another despite our differences, recognize the dignity of every human being, and stand up for equality. Seeing that these principles are not always upheld in the world around us, it is now more imperative than ever that we strive to maintain a sense of community: one founded on Simplicity, Humility, Zeal, Compassion, and Trust.

The attack on the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC represents an incredibly dark and broken time for the nation: one characterized by bigotry, polarization, and hatred. Though the grave repercussions of this demonstration on American unity and conversation are surely inevitable, one can only hope that this nation stands resilient in its democracy.

This story was originally published on The Talon on January 10, 2021.