It Was A Lot of Things: A Normal Tourist Visit Was Not One of Them

It’s time to Break It Down!

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives select committee investigating the January 6 attack at the Capitol held its first hearing on Tuesday with harrowing testimony from four officers who shared their stories of being attacked by the rioters. Oh, there will be lots of puffery from the right suggesting that these hearings are just another partisan show. 

Really? Minority Leader McCarthy served the Democrats with a list of demands and pre-conditions for establishing a bi-partisan commission, like the one that investigated the events of 9/11/01. To his surprise, and likely chagrin, Speaker Pelosi accepted them. All of them. Check! Well, akin to MiO, that, “Changes everything.”  To virtually no one’s surprise, McCarthy and his House GOP compatriots came out against the proposal none of the Republicans, save possibly Liz Chaney and Adam Kinzinger, had any interest in holding anyway. 

Earlier, Andrew Clyde, representative for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District characterized what have commonly become known as “the events of January 6th,” this way:

“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a ‘normal tourist visit.'”

With that kind of Twilight Zone analysis, spoken out loud, without any significant intra-party pushback, and with at least some concurrence, what other outcome, could we logically expect? Exactly, none.

In yesterday’s hearing, four police officers testified. They told lawmakers they were “beaten, taunted with racial insults, heard threats including “kill him with his own gun” and thought they might die,” during their efforts to defend the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, against a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. Based on Reuters reporting, their testimony included, but was not limited to the following:

“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect the people in this room,” said District of Columbia police officer Michael Fanone, referring to lawmakers. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” Fanone added, slamming his hand onto the witness table.

“He himself helped create this monstrosity,” Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell said of Trump as he described rioters wielding weapons including police shields, batons, sledgehammers, flag poles, Taser devices, chemical irritants, metal pipes, rocks, broken table legs and metal guard rails.

“There was an attack carried out on Jan. 6, and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that,” Capitol police officer Harry Dunn testified.

Fanone said he was pulled into the crowd, beaten, shocked repeatedly with a Taser, robbed of his badge and knocked unconscious, suffering a heart attack. Fanone said he heard a rioter say, “kill him with his own gun.” “I yelled out that I have kids,” Fanone said, appealing to his assailants’ humanity.

Dunn, who is Black, said rioters repeatedly called him a racial slur. Dunn said he challenged their claims that no one had voted for Biden by telling them that he had done so.

Gonell, an Iraq war veteran and naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Dominican Republic, likened the violence to “a medieval battlefield” and recalled rioters labeling him a traitor who should be executed. Gonell said he thought to himself, “This is how I’m going to die.”

Washington officer Daniel Hodges called the rioters “terrorists,” citing the term’s legal definition. He said they told him: “You will die on your knees!” Hodges said many rioters appeared to be white nationalists. While Black and Hispanic colleagues faced racial slurs, Hodges, who is white, said rioters tried to recruit him, asking, “Are you my brother?”

The rioters sent lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence scrambling for safety. Four people died on Jan. 6: one rioter shot by police and three others who experienced medical emergencies. A policeman who was attacked by rioters died the following day. Two others later committed suicide.

“Some people are trying to deny what happened, to whitewash it, to turn the insurrectionists into martyrs,” Thompson said. “And all of it for a vile, vile lie.”

During the hearing, Democrat Stephanie Murphy asked Hodges what he was fighting for as he confronted the rioters.

“Democracy,” Hodges replied. “It Was A Lot of Things: A Normal Tourist Visit Was Not One of Them!”

I’m done; holla back!

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