Quite a couple of days it's been, eh?
There's a lot to be said about the attempted coup and attack on the Capitol building by some of the world's dumbest criminals, but I'm going to skip a lot of that right now. Other people are saying those things very eloquently anyway, particularly Chris Hayes:
But among all the talk and righteous outrage has been a lot of anger about the lack of force used by law-enforcement against the insurrectionists. That's the part I want to get into.
Firstly, the Capitol Police were (a) compromised by infiltrators/partly collaborating with the mob and (b) prevented from having adequate manpower to handle the situation by Federal officials, victimized by Trumpian sabotage. So even though their lack of preparation is astounding, it was part of the coup attempt and that should be factored into the outrage. That lack of manpower is a big reason there were so few arrests Wednesday—when you're that understaffed to begin with, you don't want to take more officers away from trying to handle a mob in order to book people—but hopefully there will be many arrests to come in the next several days. After all, so many of the mob members were quite willing to let us know who they are, with their selfies and carrying their phones with them the whole time and their stupid refusal to wear pandemic-practical face coverings. Finding them shouldn't be that hard.
But the thing that's bugging me is the backlash at the obvious double standards among police forces—surely, if these were BLM people demonstrating, there would have been lots of shooting, lots of beatings, a much higher death toll. Which is unquestionably true. For the reason that the people in charge have radically different agendas for those two circumstances, and because of systemic bias in law-enforcement that sees brownness as a threat and palefaces as protectees. That part of the outrage isn't what unsettles me, it's the next part of most of those complaints: "Where were all the rubber bullets and brutal beat-downs?" When that part is said in ironic fashion to illustrate the reality of the double-standard, right on, I'm with you. When it's meant literally, with a genuine wish to see the police assault and brutalize these insurrectionists—a group I have heard suitably described as "Vanilla Isis" and amusingly if not appropriately as "Y'all-Qaeda"—that's where I get a little queasy. We can't be out for blood for the sake of getting even.
Which isn't to say there shouldn't have been a decent-sized security force in place Wednesday, there absolutely should have been. After all, this was a known event, they fucking announced it to the world in advance. And said force should have repelled the mob when they tried storming the building for the safety of the officials and staff within. I would have preferred the members of that mob be subdued and arrested rather than helped down the Capitol steps and sent on their way after leaving the building they just vandalized.
But in the vein of two-wrongs-don't-make-a-right, brutalizing Vanilla Isis once they're not an immediate danger is just as bad as brutalizing Black Lives Matter protesters. Yeah, I'm human, I get the idea that there would be some satisfaction in seeing that asshole photographed with his feet on Nancy Pelosi's assistant's desk or the idiot carrying a lectern out of the Capitol laid out with a blow from a cop's baton; heck, it might feel good to take my Louisville Slugger to Ted Cruz myself. But we can't have it both ways. If beating up our black and brown neighbors for peacefully marching is intolerable—and it is—then we shouldn't be calling for similar smackdowns of these fuckers.
The Capitol Police need to be investigated, there were clearly elements of that agency that were in on the insurrection. But the rest of them were overwhelmed by design, hamstrung from being able to effectively contain the mob by the fact that the Defense Department and the Executive Branch of the Federal government—i.e. Trump and his minions, otherwise known as the instigators of the insurrection—control things like the DC National Guard and prevented aid from other jurisdictions from being speedily deployed.
There's so much outrage to go around with this event, it's truly gobsmacking that we are in this reality of a United States populated with a hefty percentage of people who are truly evil and/or astonishingly stupid and pathetic to allow a Donald Trump presidency in the first place. I just don't think it helps anyone to actually want to see heads cracked.