I am not one to cry wolf and to make comments saying I am triggered or anything else along those lines. However, today was truly a mentally draining day that had me thinking about and comparing today's events to January 6th or the insurrection as it is now known. Seeing the police presence, the rapid response teams, and the armored vehicles only made me think "here we go again".
I was in Washington, DC on January 6th, and being a naive and honestly a stupid person I went up to the Hill that day. My roommate at the time had asked me to go up and take some pictures since he was at work in one of the House of Representatives Office Buildings. If you care to read about that day and really just how unreal it was I have a link to one of the posts I wrote about it here. While at the time I was scared looking back on that situation made me realize how much worse it was and made me really question why would I have put myself in that situation. I definitely learned a lesson since hindsight is 20/20.
Today I was lucky enough to be off the Hill, my next internship starts next Monday actually so I have a couple of days off. I have a ton of friends though on the Hill and at the time they were stuck and could not get questions answered about which paths were open for them to evacuate as the situation was initially pretty chaotic. Since I knew roughly where the situation was and the overall layout of the buildings once again I went towards the complex and talked to a Secret Service Officer to find out the quickest way for one of my friends to evacuate the building he was in. Luckily once my friend was released from his office and was able to leave it only took him 10 minutes to make his way out of the complex.
So what happened today?
There are a hundred ways to describe the situation and every single one of them would not fully encompass the nature of the events. Especially since information is still being gathered about what happened. Tons of media sources have been quick to label the guy a MAGA individual however on his live stream he did say he loved President Biden and wanted to talk to him about what was going on. Personally, I do not feel like a true MAGA person would make a comment like that at all but each person should draw their own conclusions.
The individual was a white male who was 46 and while his name has been released to the public I do not believe people like this should have their name released due to research showing this fame can cause copycat individuals. When the man first arrived at the Madison Library of Congress building he started throwing money out of the window and told people he had a bomb and to call 911. When an officer at that building went to investigate the report he saw what could have been a detonator in the man's hand so immediately he sounded the alarm to lock down and evacuate people.
Initially, only one building was locked down and another was evacuated however once the threat was found to be credible the whole Hill complex went on lockdown, and the House side where this event was, for the most part, transpiring evacuated. The man did not answer the negotiator's phone calls and instead live-streamed his rant on Facebook while communicating some with police via a whiteboard he had in his truck. In my opinion, the biggest thing to take away from what the man stated as he was upset about the situation in Afganistan, the military, and health care. He did call on all Democrats to step down but at the same time pronounced his love for President Biden. After 5 hours of negotiations, he did surrender peacefully to the police. A ton of people have commented that snipers should have just taken him out however with it being determined that the bomb was a credible threat if there was a deadman switch attached to the explosive shooting him only would have resulted in an explosion hence the reason why he was not shot.
This leaves the next part which is next month is going to be a very trying time up here in Washington, DC. The reason for this is the "Justice" rally for those who have been arrested and charged with crimes from January 6th. The crowd that is going to be attracted to this rally is not going to be you average everyday American and honestly will be the type that could be out for nothing short of trouble. While it has not been announced yet I would assume that the fence around the Capital will be reinstalled and the National Guard might be called in. At the end of the day, it is better safe than sorry and we saw what could happen with the events in January.
I have to admit I am concerned about what is going to be done to keep my friends and myself safe during that time. I have friends, good people who love this country, on both sides of the aisle. I am one who believes that our differences, when respected, make this country not only a stronger state but a stronger society. Right now no one cares to listen on the TV or in the paper and the public is fed extremes of both sides. Not every Republican is like Marjorie Taylor Greene and not every Democrat is like AOC. I continue to be optimistic and hope that this will soon pass that everyone will calm down and come together for our countries sake. The next big test though is going to be in September and how each side reacts and responds will truly give us an understanding of if both sides will come together soon or not.
Below are photos I took today while waiting for my friend to evacuate.