On January 6, 2021, as the United States Senate, House of Representatives, and Vice-President of the United States met in joint session to debate and count the electoral college votes for our democracy’s next president, President Donald J. Trump instigated an insurrection in a desperate attempt to maintain his power.
One hundred and thirty-nine of Trump’s cult followers in the House of Representatives, and 13 of his loyalists in the Senate, attempted to overrule the results of the 2020 General Election while the electoral count was beginning.
Simultaneously, Trump held a “rally” near the Capitol, and stoked his extremist supporters — racists, anti-semites, xenophobes, white nationalists, criminals, and deranged fools — to riot and take control of the Capitol building itself.
Despite weeks of public promotion of the “rally” and many months of advance intelligence about Trump’s right-wing extremist thugs, his insurrection was phenomenally successful in overpowering the Capitol Police, taking control of the Capitol Building even as the joint session of Congress was in progress.
The insurrectionists held the building and disrupted our nation’s electoral count for four long hours before federal forces finally regained control. In the riot, one insurrectionist was killed. Three individuals died for mysterious “medical” reasons, and to date law enforcement has not explained those deaths.
Some 50 law enforcement officers were injured.
And one Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, died of injuries received while defending our democratic institutions and our duly elected representatives, senators, and vice-president.
It is utterly incomprehensible how this insurrection could have succeeded. It is utterly disgraceful and absolutely unacceptable.
Given the secrecy of politics and law enforcement, I doubt that our nation will ever know the full truth of who was complicit in this assault. There’s not the remotest likelihood that any of the politicians involved in the attempted coup will ever be held to account.
But we can do more than just bring the rioters to justice. At the least, we can demand that the responsible cops and everyone involved in planning security for the Capitol during this joint session of Congress, lose their jobs.
And three of them already have.
Here are the faces of the three disgraceful federal cops who were responsible for security of the United States Capitol when Trump’s insurrectionists stormed and took command of the building.
Steven J. Sund, Chief, US Capitol Police:
Michael C. Stenger, Sergeant-at-arms of the United States Senate:
Paul D. Irving, Sargent-at-Arms of the United States House of Representatives:
As individual human beings, I have sympathy for each of these men. No doubt they all have loved ones and no doubt they each earned their positions through years of experience and accomplishment. But these people, and others, enabled or assisted in an attempt to undermine the peaceful transition of presidential power in this country. Whether by incompetence or complicity, these three men — and doubtless others yet to be identified — failed in their duty to our nation when a mad president tried to overthrow the will of the voters.
At the very least, they’ve been fired. They will be disgraced throughout the rest of this nation’s history.
If any of them are ever found to have been complicit, I hope that they’re prosecuted, convicted, and thrown away for life.
But I have no illusions that justice will be served, for these three men nor any of the real instigators and planners of this insurrection — most especially not Trump, not Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, nor Ron Johnson. It’s not even likely that any high-level military, Homeland Security, DOJ, or law enforcement people will be brought to justice.
But perhaps time will prove me wrong, and I’d like to be wrong about this.