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I’m not one of those people who thought that the ends justified the means when it came to the few hundred people among the many tens of thousands in attendance who on Jan. 6, 2021, decided to enter the U.S. Capitol building without authorization.
It doesn’t matter if they thought they were in the right. Committing criminal trespass — anywhere, but especially in our sacred halls of Congress (regardless of whether we don’t like the people in charge at the moment) — isn’t really any different than using physical force to barge into an IRS office because you think it’s immoral and unconstitutional for your taxes to be as high as they are.
The behavior of people such as Jacob Chansley, the guy wearing Viking horns better known as the “QAnon shaman,” was particularly damaging.
Chansley became the face of Jan. 6, and for a long while was the gift that kept on giving to Democrats and Republican Never Trumpers, who falsely blame the riot on President Donald Trump, even though he specifically told those in attendance to go to the Capitol and “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard. Not to mention that many of the Capitol invaders planned their caper days and even weeks in advance of Trump’s speech that day.
But now there’s a new and supremely important twist to this tale: As it turns out, Chansley didn’t break his way into the Capitol at all. He entered with two Capitol Police officers following him a few steps behind and several more looking on as he passed them en route to the Senate chamber, where he even led a prayer for them, thanking them for their service.
Why on earth didn’t the Capitol Police stop him? I can only think of two plausible reasons, which are not mutually exclusive.
Perhaps the officers stood in solidarity with the protesters, also believing that the election was “rigged” and “stolen,” and weren’t about to offer resistance. Much like cops during the Prohibition era who thought the 18th Amendment was ludicrous and weren’t about to enforce it.
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