Capitol Police Asleep at the Switch

Ideas and Issues
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January 8, 2021

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

            New Orleans       One of the late-night comedians noted that these early resignations from White House staff and cabinet officers with less than two weeks before Biden’s inauguration are almost meaningless expressions of johnny-come-lately-principles that were more like “leaving early to beat the traffic.”  Twenty-fifth Amendment and impeachment talk are mainly just that:  word bombs to try and herd Trump into better behavior before he packs his bags and runs out with his tail between his legs.  I’m still interested in how folks were able to breach the Capitol.

I’m a professional and have done actions at the Capitol, on the Ellipse, and on Pennsylvania Avenue, and I wouldn’t have thought that was possible even with a feisty push-and-shove action.  We’ve always found the Capitol Police to be pretty hard ass.  During the Reagan Ranch Tent City, where we even got a rare permit, we had nothing but trouble from them including their effort to evict us at dawn.  It took a call from the late great San Antonio Congressman Henry Gonzalez to get them off our backs.  How were these wilding folks able to get through the line?

It seems like they were not so much asleep at the switch as blinded by light that was beaming almost pure white.  The FBI offered to help.  No, thanks.  The DC police offered to help, and in fact the reports in the Washington Post indicate that it was the DC police reinforcements that pretty much saved the day – and the Capitol.  The Defense Department had offered a hand, and remember this was all before the Trump days of rage, and the Capitol Police were again, no, thanks.

They seem to have figured this would be a bunch of old white guys with MAGA hats and Blue Lives Matter shirts, and no problem.  They didn’t create a hard line around the Capitol.  They didn’t have all the barricades up and manned as is common.  California Congresswoman Maxine Waters says she met with them four days before and was assured that all was good.

No one gets why they were surprised.  They claim they had no intelligence that trouble was brewing.  Social media was blowing up with calls to arms and chest beating.  Everyone knows Facebook is terrible at stopping calls to violence.  How could they miss all this?  And, hey, they didn’t need to monitor average Joe from Kokomo, all they had to do was keep their eyes on the rightwing Twitter substitutes and the leaders of the pack, all of whom where sending out the call, and making plans to be in that number when Trump would be marching out.

No surprise that the Capitol Police chief and the sergeants of arms for both the House and the Senate have resigned, but seems like to me there is a deeper problem here.  They better fix it or there will be a lot more of this in the future coming from all directions.