Blazers react to the insurrection that took place at the Capitol
On Wednesday, January 6, while Congress was in session to certify the election of Joe Biden as President, a group of President Donald Trump's supporters broke into the Capitol Building, forcing Congress into a lockdown. Blazers all throughout the community were completely shocked as they watched the events unfold.
According to the New York Times, the insurrection at the Capitol followed a speech in which President Trump called on a crowd of supporters (which included members of the “Proud Boys” group) to “show strength” and “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” In total, 5 people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
While news outlets have struggled to find the proper term to characterize the events, ranging from “riot” to “insurrection” to “attempted coup,” many in the Blair community had strong opinions about what they felt the events should or should not be called. Blair AP World History teacher Kenneth Seat knows most of all what they cannot be considered. “Breaking into one of the most secure buildings in the United States, you can’t just call that a protest...some of them, perhaps could be considered domestic terrorists,” Seat said.
Blair teacher Andrea Maples, who teaches Law & Administration of Justice and a former lawyer of 7 years herself, agrees with Seat. “I think it’s more appropriately characterized as riots...I think that those who stormed the capitol were absolutely not protesting….at least not in the sense of a constitutional sense, you know your first amendment right to peacefully protest. I think they had a completely different thing in mind,” she said.
Blair Senior Dawit Seifu struggled to find the words to describe the events. “I don’t think there is one word that can actually, you know...cover the magnitude of what they did...But what I can say is that this is unheard of.”
Blair Social Studies teacher Ronda Ravilious was also deeply disturbed by the events. “Nothing that would contribute to the good that was involved in this protest. And the people who were involved were driven by...deep hatred and anger,” Ravilious said. Ravilious later concurred that “protest” was not the appropriate term for the events.
While Seat noted some of his students made comparisons between the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, he iterated that the two series of events are extremely different. “I don’t think you can really compare them...‘Black Lives Matter’ protests and other civil rights protests throughout history, the goal is to try and increase democracy, increase participation and bring more rights to people whose rights may have been neglected,” Seat said. “The events on Wednesday were basically people who were not accepting of the democratic process...trying to destroy our democratic traditions.".
Ravilious also noted how she was troubled by the stark differences between the treatment of the group that broke into the capitol and Black Lives Matter protesters. “The mob, the violent, angry swell that really consumed the capital, was really treated in a very different way than when you have other types of legitimate peaceful protest, such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest. That’s also a distinguishing factor that we can’t ignore,” she said.
Seifu was also frustrated by the disparity in the severity of responses. “When it was about ‘Black Lives Matter,’ you know, they were being shot with rubber bullets. Here, there wasn’t that much of that,” he said.
Maples added her disbelief to the difference in reaction by law enforcement. “There definitely was not equity in how these people were treated compared to Black Lives Matter protesters in the summer,” Maples said. “My biggest question I guess, in this regard is why weren’t there more police, national guardsmen there to begin with...I completely can’t understand it..It’s either complete incompetence... or it’s gross negligence. Or there’s complicity there, which I hope it’s not that,” Maples said.
Seat offered what he believed to be one of the potential causes of the insurrection. “I think they were egged on by the President who said that they would not accept defeat, that no one should accept defeat. And this was sort of the logical conclusion if you don’t accept defeat,” Seat said.
Following the swearing-in of Joe Biden as President of the United States, Seifu has hope for the future. “I’m rooting for Biden. These next four years, I hope that he’s able to bring as much change as possible,” Seifu said. Yet, he also had another message for his fellow young Blazers as they head into a new era. “Let’s not live in the mistakes of our ancestors, still dealing with the same problems year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation. Let’s leave racism with the millenials. Let it not carry down to Gen Z, because if it carries down to us, then the generation that comes after us is gonna have to deal with our mess, with our BS.”
“So I am asking that we all stand together, that we all stand hand-in-hand. Let’s work, let’s love on each other. Let’s say ‘your people are my people’...Let’s not create divisions on some silly stuff like race, color, gender, religion, anything. Let’s all love one another. Let’s all say...“We are all Americans, we are all one.”
Luke Sanelli. Hi, I'm Luke Sanelli, and I'm a writer for Silver Chips Online. I enjoy to watch TV with my family and play video games in my free time. I'm also a major Buffalo Bills fan and baseball cap fanatic. More »