Democracy at Stake – One Year Anniversary of the 2021 Capitol Attack


Caiden Leyva, Staff Writer

Democracy at Stake – One Year Anniversary of the 2021 Capitol Attack
Caiden Leyva, Staff Writer

Domestic Terrorism- To influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion
-Cornell Law School

One year ago on January 6, 2021, the government of the United States of America found itself under siege as a mob of right-wing extremists attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The attack was eventually repelled, but not without casualties on both sides. The Washington D.C. Police Department reported that five people lost their lives in the chaos — including police officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered brain trauma after being bludgeoned in the head by a fire extinguisher. Now, one year has passed, and there are still contradicting stories about the events of that day. So what actually happened?

The attack started brewing at 12 p.m. EST on January 6, when President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters that the 2020 election was “corrupt and outrageous”. He then appeared to urge the gathered supporters to attack our country, saying, “We fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

What followed is best described as a battle. Trump supporters marched down to the Capitol, throwing flag poles at and beating up police officers who attempted to contain the riotous group. The officers were no match for the weight of the thousands of people pushing against them, and they had to fall back within the Capitol Building or risk being killed.

Trespassing on federal property with intent of harm or intimidation is a textbook definition of terrorism, and the mob had no right to enter the Capitol Building like they did. The attackers who died were not heroes, but domestic terrorists by definition and the police members who defended our nation were doing their duty as Americans and keepers of the peace.

The next few hours on Capitol Hill were chaos. Rioters were breaking down doors and windows trying to enter the building. Secret Service members and police were doing their best to repel the attackers, but many were reported to be injured by the New York Times and one was beaten to death. “We don’t have to hurt you — why are you standing in our way?” one rioter told an officer as they were forcing themselves into the buildings.

Officers within the building were locked in a fierce battle with the terrorists, but because of their training they were largely succesful in repelling them. It was then that Officer Sicknick was brutally beaten to death by several terrorists with fire extinguishers. Four of the attackers died in the fighting, and several others were injured.

The attack simmered down and eventually was fully repelled around 4 p.m. EST, when President Trump released a video on Twitter calling for the attackers to go home, but he also said,“We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.” With attackers quickly leaving and the arrival of the Maryland state guard, the attack slowly but surely began to fizzle out. In a statement released by the D.C. Police Department 140 officers were confirmed injured in the fray. There were no reported numbers for injured attackers, but it can be assumed that the number was in the dozens.

The siege was started with the intent of being violent, and over the course of hours the attackers were able to penetrate the Capitol and battle police officers and secret service agents before the attackers were finally subdued. It was a clear indication of how many right-wing extremists believe that the way to deal with democratic processes that do not favor them is violence. But thanks to the public servants protecting the Capitol, we were able to avoid the United States government falling, and our electoral processes are still intact. The day 01/06/2021 was a shock to many, and there is no doubt it will be remembered by all.