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Capitol Attack Was Months in the Making on Facebook (techtransparencyproject.org)
616 points by alexrustic on Jan 19, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 875 comments



All: I know this is a little late, but those of you posting ideological flamewar comments to this thread are breaking the site guidelines. We're trying to avoid hellfire here, and we're banning accounts that feed it. Please don't feed it.

HN is not for all types of discussion. It is specifically for curious conversation. Here's a test you can apply: curiosity is equally open to what's true, false, or interesting about anything. If your position is that your side is right about everything while the opposing side is wrong about everything, you have left the spectrum of curiosity gratification and are functioning in the spectrum of political battle. Those do not overlap.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...


It was planned for months, openly on Facebook in plain view of everybody. Remember that when politicians call for more intrusive surveillance in response.


Yeah, it's weird that the discussion has centered around censorship, rather than like... why didn't law enforcement shut this down sooner? Or at least properly prepare for it?


Far-right terrorism in the US has never really been taken seriously. No one took them seriously. Until the Capitol was attacked.

The Feds are starting to roll up high ranking militia members, so hopefully they learned their lesson this time.


Far-right terrorism in the US has never really been taken seriously. No one took them seriously.

That's not really true.

Far-right terror was taken very seriously in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI hired 500 agents specifically to focus on domestic terrorism [0], particularly the then-new militia movement. Virtually every state and federal law enforcement agency established a domestic terror unit. Through continuous effort they'd pretty much quashed the militia movement by 2004, despite the shift of federal resources to the Global War on Terror post-9/11. However, far-right militias surged again in the Obama years [2].

(Much further back, U.S. Grant used the Army to crack down on the Klan [3]. Unfortunately, his successor Rutherford B. Hayes effectively ended Reconstruction and rolled back much of this progress.)

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20120210125747/http://news.bbc.c... [1] https://web.archive.org/web/20110623153230/http://www.rickro... [2] https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/03/08/148217754... [3] https://www.historynet.com/grant-takes-klan.htm


I apologize for being imprecise. Far-right terrorism hasn't been taken seriously until a far-right terrorist actually commits violence. Then government is vigilant for a couple of years and goes back to ignoring them.

Far-right terror was taken seriously after the OKC bombing. But the far-right terrorist threat had been steadily increasing for three years at that point. Ruby Ridge and the Waco Siege contributed to a surge in far-right militias and other terrorist groups. It took someone driving a truck bomb and killing hundreds of people (in an attempt to spark a race war) to take far-right terrorism seriously.


In fact, the feds had besieged Ruby Ridge in the first place due to Randy Weaver's far-right connections. They wanted to flip him as an informant on the Aryan Nations [0], a white nationalist group with ties to deadly terror cells like The Order [1]. To this end, they threatened him with the weapons charge that led to the the siege at Ruby Ridge, and ultimately to the shooting deaths of Samuel and Vicky Weaver. So far-right terror was taken seriously pre-OKC, but afterwards it was taken very seriously.

The 2017 PBS documentary "Oklahoma City" was my intro to this subject matter [2]. Excellent film, gripping presentation.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Ridge#Development

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Order_(white_supremacist_g...

[2] https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/oklahoma-c...


Another way of looking at it is that the federal government entrapped Randy Weaver on weapons charges when he didn’t want to do their leg work, and when he didn’t show up to court, they killed his entire family.

In other words, taking terrorism “seriously” sometimes is done in ways that involve killing innocent people and inciting more blowback in the long run.


Yep, Ruby Ridge and Waco were fiascos which led directly to the bombing of the Murrah Building. McVeigh explicitly called out those events as his motivation for the bombing.

The lessons learned were apparent in the government’s approach to the 2016 wildlife refuge standoff. Rather than dash in guns-blazing, the government simply established a perimeter and waited for the occupiers to run out of Clif Bars. Took the ringleaders into custody with a minimum of force when they attempted to leave. Of the 30-40 occupiers, only one was shot as he reached for his gun. No law enforcement officers were harmed. World of difference compared to Waco, where 4 ATF officers and 82 Branch Davidians were killed.


>and when he didn’t show up to court, they killed his entire family.

This is true, but it misses the nuance that the letter ordering him to attend court had the wrong date listed on it. Makes the assault on the family even more egregious.


They took far right terrorism seriously in the 1870s. They more or less stamped out the (original) KKK while simultaneously giving the south the requisite autonomy to enact Jim Crow. Obviously Jim Crow doesn't square with our modern view but at the time the lack of some systemic way to keep the black people down was a serious grievance that a lot of people had. The government cracked down on the extremists who were starting to get off the porch while simultaneously extending an olive branch to the people who sympathized with them (and throwing black people under the bus in the process).

The same thing happened in the civil rights era. When it looked like things might get serious the .gov caved to the MLK types to prevent the Malcom X types from gaining further sympathy from the masses.

Fast forward to the 1990s and you get the ATF trilogy. Of course the magnitude of the problem was smaller than the KKK so the reaction and adjustments were smaller. On one hand the FBI cracked down on all the extremist groups (cue jokes about how the modern KKK is just a recreation club for FBI agents) but at the same time you'll notice that when the Bundy Ranch rolled around the feds didn't just shoot everyone and botch the thing as they would had they let historical precedent be their guide. Same pattern. Crackdown on the extremists while avoiding pissing off the moderate sympathizers.

Likewise hundreds of cities are reconsidering how they allocate law enforcement and social services resources after the events of this summer while also (recently, like past month) starting to crack down on protests to prevent them from getting fiery. Same pattern.

The overarching theme is pretty clear. The government never takes people's grievances seriously until there's a "real" threat of extremists getting off the porch and causing serious problems with a large body of sympathizers to back them up.

In light of that it'll be interesting to see what if any long term changes come out of the whole capitol thing.


> he government never takes people's grievances seriously until there's a "real" threat of extremists getting off the porch

I haven't noticed any gay-marriage terrorists on their porches, and yet here we are. Women-for-equal-pay have not been observed cleaning and oiling their rifles menacingly, and yet the law was mended in their favor. And I don't think Irish or Jewish terrorism was a problem in the US, but their persecution has ended all the same. You're only looking at things that became explosive, so quite naturally you will not find things that were resolved peacefully and/or timely. They still exist though, in fact they may be dominant.

It's a great comment otherwise, I enjoyed the trip down the memory lane. Looking forward to seeing you again.


> I don’t think Irish or Jewish terrorism was a problem in the US

Both international terrorism (directed at the UK, but sometimes involving direct conflict with the US military) and organized crime-linked terrorism were very big things associated with the Irish in America in the 19th C.

And, on the Jewish side, more recently, Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League was a real thing.


All of the examples you gave are of non-terroristic means of attempting to achieve the goals of a cause, where the groups involved generally lack violent extremists.

GP's point was about how they believe federal law enforcement has reacted to groups that necessarily included violent extremists, as those were the pawns for bargain to offer the opposition while reducing harm to the moderate sympathizers.

Yours appears to be a strawman argument.


Allowing the riots to continue unabated over the summer was a serious mistake. It fed a perception that political violence and intimidation was a viable means to get what you want.


A take like this represents a woeful ignorance of American history.


It seems to me that the unpleasant, but unavoidable conclusion is that a significant fraction of the citizenry is sympathetic to the far right domestic terrorists.

Edit: If you think this is untrue, you have an extremely narrow filter bubble.


But in 2009 Homeland Security published a report on the domestic terror threat. Republicans reacted badly. The agency backtracked and eventually closed the division.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dhs-domestic-terror-warning-ang...


They have not taken this threat seriously. You specifically mentioned militias, but the domestic terror threat is not just militias.

Look at this case for example. He has left many threatening voicemails to congress members over several years, including while under probation, and the FBI just told him to knock it off without arresting him. So he kept doing it. They only finally arrested him after the terrorist attack on the capitol.

>According to the complaint, Capriotti repeatedly called multiple Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., between October 2019 and January 2020 and left “disturbing, anonymous messages” that often included “profanity along with derogatory remarks concerning the race, religion, political affiliation, or physical appearance” of some members of Congress.

>FBI agents located Capriotti and interviewed him last February, according to the complaint, which states that Capriotti admitted making the calls but insisted he was “just f---ing with them” and “didn’t mean any ill will.”

>The agents advised Capriotti to stop making the calls, but phone records showed he continued to do so between February and November 2020. A series of voicemails Capriotti allegedly made to Congressional offices in November and December were then detailed in the complaint.

https://news.wttw.com/2021/01/12/chicago-heights-man-charged...

https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2021/1/12/22227466/feds-a...


The rush to call the storming of the capitol terrorism is really misplaced.

By adopting words like "terrorism" you're paving the way for an overreaching response from lawmakers and law enforcement -- something that will likely end up being used against a cause you might support, like BLM.

Firstly, nobody was terrorized. No, this wasn't "our 9/11." I doubt it'll even be a topic of conversation in a few years, just like we don't talk about 1983 United States Senate bombing today at all.

I have no doubt a few of the rioters really were planning terrible deeds and they should be prosecuted; the violence and property damage is inexcusable. But most of these people just seem to be caught up in the moment -- taking selfies and LARPing around the capitol after hours.

What we need right now is de-escalation.


> Firstly, nobody was terrorized.

This doesn’t seem to be true. Several elected officials have expressed fear they or their family would be harmed by members of the far right, most notably Rep. Pete Meijer (R-MI), who was one of the few house republicans to certify the results of the election:

“I had colleagues who, when it came time to recognize reality and vote to certify Arizona and Pennsylvania in the Electoral College, they knew in their heart of hearts that they should’ve voted to certify, but some had legitimate concerns about the safety of their families,”

He also said “That was what weighed on the colleague in mind’s conscience, and the last thing that that individual said to me, concern about the safety of that individual’s family, if that individual voted to certify the election... That is where the rhetoric has brought us. That is the degree of fear that’s been created.”

In Facebook comments, one rioter wrote: “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in.” “We get our President or we die,” they added. “NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/11/people-will-try-to-kill-us-s...

https://www.vox.com/2021/1/13/22229052/capitol-hill-riot-int...

Sure seems like terrorism to me.

Now, do I think we need increased surveillance? Absolutely not, it was largely planned in public on Facebook. We just need an FBI that takes this movement’s threats more seriously. Exposing that some far right elements act like terrorists is one way of calling attention to the seriousness of the problem.

Edit: I also think the appeal that they might somehow treat BLM protestors even worse is not worth considering much. I don’t identify with any “side” that uses the threat of physical violence against elected officials to change their vote, even if they were to do it for a “good cause”. I don’t want that to be an available tool for BLM or anyone either.


Millions of Americans watched the Capitol insurrection play out live on tv. That has an impact on the national psyche that's very similar to a terrorist attack. People aren't going to forget about it because we all witnessed it together. It's going to be the defining event of trump's presidency, whether you think that's fair or not


You honestly think that THE defining event of Trump's presidency is going to be the Capitol riot? You don't think it's the bungled response to coronavirus that landed us all locked up in our houses for over a year, the assassination of an Iranian leader on another sovereign's soil, the trade war with China, the tax reform bill he pushed through, the Mueller probe, the BLM protests, the "stolen" SCOTUS seats, or any number of other things he did?

You think the defining moment of his presidency is something that he only tangentially had a hand in that resulted in a couple arrests and a stolen podium?

That's a hot take.


How many of those other things was he impeached and subsequently condemned by the Republican floor leader in the Senate for?


None of those threatened Senate directly. They are simply protecting themselves.


I didn't realize that Moscow Mitch was the bellwether of history.


Being impeached twice is the landmark here. We're living some pretty important history as it's being written right now.


Yup, down fall of an empire. Don't fight it, world would be a better place afterward.


Would it? After the fall of rome we got the middle ages


Those are slow burns. The attack on the capital was a severe jolt to our national psyche. You may not want them to be different, but they are.


To be honest I had almost forgotten about many of these events until you mentioned them again. There are just so many things going on that it's hard to fixate too much on one thing. That said, humans tend to focus on both the beginning and end of a time-frame. In this case, the Capitol raid has a clear advantage over the other things you listed.

The virus is in its own zone as far as memory is concerned. It's been going on for so long that it overshadows Trump to some extent


> It's going to be the defining event of trump's presidency, whether you think that's fair or not

Trump's approval is not the lowest it's been during his presidency - it was lower in Dec 2017 [0], and even now at 39.2% it's almost twice that of Congress [1] at 20%.

It doesn't seem to have hurt him all that much. If you look at favorability rather than job approval, it even seems to be almost unchanged [2], only having gone from 45% to 43%. And if you give any weight to Rasmussen, they have Trump's total approval going up since the 6th, from 47% to 51% [3]!

[0] https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/01/politics/poll-of-the-week-con...

[2] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/poll-trump-a...

[3] https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/tru...


> Trump's approval is not the lowest it's been during his presidency

In the Gallup poll it is [0], in the particular weighting and aggregation used by 538 it is not.

> it's almost twice that of Congress

Congress isn't a person, it's an aggregate, for which any voter will not have had a voice in selecting 532 of 535 voting members. Comparison of Congress’s approval ratings to the President’s are meaningless, and only ever resorted to by people trying to make horrendously unpopular Presidents look more popular than they are.

> if you give any weight to Rasmussen,

You probably shouldn't; they've always had a pro-Republican house effect as a pollster matching their editorial tilt, which isn't too worrying, but they’ve pretty overtly gone into hyperpartisan mode since the election.

[0] https://news.gallup.com/poll/328637/last-trump-job-approval-...


I can't discount Rasmussen completely, because their presidential polling was among the most accurate in both 2016 and 2020.


So you just get to pick and choose which polling to use?


The first one is an aggregate, the second and third were just among the top of my Google results (and CNN has been pretty biased against Trump for his whole presidency), and I do specifically call out Rasmussen.


The capitol was ransacked by a non-homogeneous group as far as I can tell. Some people were probably there just to wave some flags and take some selfies, as you suggest. Others were erecting gallows, setting bombs at the RNC and DNC headquarters, breaking windows, carrying zip-tie handcuffs into the building, actively searching the building for Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi, fighting with the police, and so on. (This is just the stuff we know about.)

I think it would be a stretch to call all the rioters terrorists, but I think a lot of them would fit any reasonable definition and they were well-organized, intentional, and numerous. Even if a terrorist attack is unsuccessful or does not kill or injure a large number of people that doesn't make it not terrorism. And I think there was a real risk that members of Congress could have been kidnapped, injured, or killed if things had gone a little bit differently.


I'm deeply saddened to see so many people on Hacker News trying so hard to downplay this.


Saying something wasn't terrorism doesn't mean it wasn't unlawful or stupid or terrible. It just means it wasn't terrorism.


The definition - 'the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims' - seems to fit the event we're discussing.


Yup, and Antifa and BLM have caused fear in Portland for political reasons as well. They lit the mayor's apartment building on fire, but were not called out as terrorists.

The media is not even handed here.


Yes, there is credence to the old saying: "One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter".

But I really don't think we need to devolve to whataboutism here. We're talking about the actions of people storming the capitol building, to try and say 'yes well X group of people are also terrorists' is a completely moot point and an intentional deflection.


This thread started with you saddened at folks downplaying the events at the Capitol.

I'm much more concerned with the media being complicit in downplaying what we both agree is domestic terrorism elsewhere.

I suppose that's a "what about", but I fear the current structures of power colluding to form narratives more than angry trumpers.


So, there's a few things to unpack here.

1. I don't (personally) agree that the 'black lives matter' protests should be considered as 'terrorism', because fundamentally they began as a protest against the systematic mistreatment of a certain race/demographic of people. While it can be viewed as political, it's not quite the same as 'storming the capital of a country to overturn the result of an election', which is undeniably a political goal. While some BLM rioters eventually did conduct what could be described as terrorist acts, it fundamentally isn't the same thing.

2. You're welcome to disagree on that point, but it's not what's being discussed in this thread.

3. Yes, media overreach is an issue, but it's not the topic of the conversation.

4. I am still sad that people are trying to downplay the issue, and not just because some people don't want to call it terrorism. People saying 'oh in the future it won't even be remembered' etc etc is also problematic as it's downplaying the event itself.

Edit: Added point 2


Thank you; I really appreciated this comment. I’m feeling much the same way, and it’s been in my mind a lot lately. I think the heart of the issue is a failure to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. People look at each thing in isolation and say, “it’s not that big a deal”, but somehow (especially surprising for folks who frequent HN) fail to see the larger patterns.


And every single BLM fear-monger here continues to ignore that violence at those protests had outside agitators in the mix: https://www.startribune.com/police-umbrella-man-was-a-white-...


93% of the BLM protests were peaceful [1] despite protestors numbering in the millions, if not tens of millions - compared to the tens of thousands at the capitol. The most notable violence during the BLM protests was an incident where far right extremists, members of Bugaloo boys group involved in the capitol attack, used the protests as cover to murder cops [2].

To compare the two is disingenuous.

[1] https://acleddata.com/2020/09/03/demonstrations-political-vi...

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/17/boogaloo-st...


93% of meteors hitting earth are harmless.

This is not about the probability but the outcome at the tail

7% or 3% or 1% is still huge. The right number to use is 0%. Not 1% or 7% Zero. Those protests literally shut down critical stores for people in dire straits. For ex. The only pharmacy near low income seniors with limited motor ability, with the double whammy that public transport also shut down.

Cities on fire every week is not OK especially when the offenders are inmune from law enforcement.

To think that 7% is acceptable smacks of priviledge. Someone is clearly not living in the inner city, and does not know what it means to not own a car when the public transport system is halted and the only supermarket near is razed.


95% of meteors don't even hit the ground, and most of those that do are just pebble sized.

Are you really trying to compare Black Lives Matter to a mass extinction event?

Edit:

Okay, you've massively edited your comment. A single gender reveal party caused more property damage than all the BLM protests combined. I do not get this continued obsession with BLM protests, especially in conversations regarding the insurrection at the capitol this month.


Well, it is racism. Watching America from the outside, it is quite obvious. Blacks from my country visiting America experience a culture shock how they are treated there compared to here; for context.


Absolutely -- as they only focus on the violence that has occurred and never acknowledge that the protests themselves are warranted.


> A single gender reveal party caused more property damage than all the BLM protests combined

Source? I’m seeing multiple news reports of about $1-2 billion in damages due to the riots.


Within a few blocks of where I used to live, armed “protesters” physically seized control of a police station and city park and committed four shootings—ironically, the last of these entailed the armed “security” forces misidentifying and opening fire on two black teenagers, killing one of them.


Sounds like you're talking about Seattle. I followed the news enough to know you've misrepresented it.

Unarmed protesters wanted to protest in front of the police station. The police blocked them. The protests grew day by day because the police kept escalating to violence.

Then the police suddenly abandoned the station and the area. The protesters didn't ask for it. The mayor and police chief denied ordering it. The police just went rogue and left the protesters to figure out what to do. They never occupied the police station.

The first shooting was just outside the protest area. People who knew the victim and the suspect said it was a long running feud.

The second shooting was outside the protest area. The victim said he was attacked by white supremacists.

The third shooting was outside the protest area. The victim refused to talk to police. So no one knows who did it.

The last shooting did involve armed protesters working as security guards. It wasn't a case of mistaken identity though. The teenagers drove at the barricades minutes after erratically driving through the occupied park.


> The last shooting did involve armed protesters working as security guards. It wasn't a case of mistaken identity though. The teenagers drove at the barricades minutes after erratically driving through the occupied park.

Setting aside the notion of gunmen manning barricades on public streets here—the SUV they fired on was, by many reports, a different SUV from the vehicle before.

Regardless, this is still the exact type of incident that they were supposedly protesting against in the first place.


The city placed the barricades. People driving into protesters was common.[1] Other people had threatened to harm the Seattle protesters. The police had abandoned the area. Carrying guns on public streets is legal there.

The SUV the guards shot was recorded driving through the park.

Many reports said shots were fired from that vehicle. They didn't find any guns so probably not. Internet detectives decided the shots were fired from a different SUV recorded speeding away afterward. But it was actually recorded speeding toward the area. And people feared getting rammed not just shot.

They were protesting police brutality against peaceful or restrained black people. That isn't exactly like an oncoming SUV.

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/07/08/vehicl...


If the police had committed the exact same shooting, you wouldn’t be making excuses for it.


Correcting falsehoods isn't making excuses.

I would want to know why the police didn't set up a safer perimeter or have spike strips. They have resources volunteers don't. But they have a moral duty to protect other people when they reasonably believe lives are in danger. And people there believed their lives were in danger.

What I might say in another situation is irrelevant anyway. Someone can be right for the wrong reasons.


Sorry man, but the most notable violence during the BLM protests was the gangland style execution of two black teens after the "movement" had taken over six city blocks.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/shooting-at-... https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2020/07/seattle-times-rep... https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8471219/One-man-dea...


If we're still talking comparisons, then also setting things on fire all over the capitol (including attempting to burn down multiple buildings): https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/31/fires-light-...


I was noting flashbangs, less-lethal bullets, gas, and batons being used against unarmed people for months, but you are right that those things aren't notable. It is, in fact, the most expected, and normal thing about the entire summer.

In fact, half of the point of the protests were to protest against that kind of run-of-the-mill, un-notable, indiscriminate application of violence by police.


Well, just today 11 officers were injured in the MLK day protest at City Hall, NYC. The Police Commissioner Dermot Shea himself stated that this was not a peaceful protest.

What about the BLM protesters who attempted to burn down the Portland courthouse with federal officers inside ?

Why is this not actively denounced as terrorism ? https://nypost.com/2020/07/22/portland-protesters-barricade-...


Antifa doesn't even exist as an organization and yet it was classified as a terrorist organization. I know many people who live in Portland with families and exactly zero of them had any concern about the protesters, fwiw.


BLM is protesting against systematic racism, the trumpers where trying to overturn an election.

Why would you even try to group those two things together?

How could it possibly be a problem that "the media" doesn't consider those two things equal?


It doesn't matter. Violence for a political reason is terrorism[1].

I'm pointing out media hypocrisy, that doesn't mean I'm condoning any violence.

Violence is wrong in support of BLM, it's wrong in support of Trump.

The ends do not justify those means (and in fact are likely to be counterproductive).

[1] ter•ror•ism tĕr′ə-rĭz″əm► n. The use of violence or the threat of violence, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political goals.


Terrorism is one of those words that are a bit hard to define.

If you would use the definition you wrote here, a lot of things would be considered terrorism. There would probably be more terrorists than non-terrorists in the world then..

But anyway, I think we can agree on the "violence is wrong"-part, and the counterproductive part.

But saying that if any form of violence occured during a protest, then those protests should be considered equal, is, well, I don't even know what to call it; Dishonest?

Now, what I really disagree about is the "I'm pointing out media hypocrisy"-part. I really don't think you are doing that, I think that what you are doing is, complaining that "the media" seems to agree more with me than with you on this issue, and then phrasing it like your point of view is objectively correct.


I think missing from the definition is "indiscriminate"

That makes a significant difference.

On one side, the Right's movement against the capitol was specifically targeting politicians. This movement affected a priviledged political class and the people that they employ.

In the other extreme, the BLM movement against (x) targeted (y) . This movement affected seniors, students, women, owners , employees, blacks, latinos, indiscriminately.

This is the crux of the issue. X and Y are quite random and thus lend themselves far easier to the classic definition of terrorism


Terrorism, by definition to many, requires the intentional infliction of terror to achieve those aims. That’s why it’s called “terrorism” rather than “political violence”


It's quite odd that that phrasing allows for lawful violence and intimidation.


the same people have been denying this problem for the past few years. they’ve been constantly either changing the subject or denying that the problem exists at all. mass shootings? oh no big deal. a newsroom was shot up? oh no big deal. bombs sent to every democrat leader, cnn, soros, etc..? oh don’t discuss that, discuss this instead! obvious signs of misinformation and propaganda spreading like a virus through internet forums? oh that’s not anything to worry about.


The people huddled in offices with an angry mob banging on the door were terrorized.


And so were a nation that believes in democracy and democratic elections.


True. Here in Germany, we were very frightened by the attempts of the president to attack the election. It looked like a banana republic to be honest.


There is already a huge gulf between how BLM protests were treated and how the capitol protest was. There’s a photo from a BLM protest in DC where the Lincoln Memorial steps (not the capitol building, which is widely-stated misinformation) had lines of National Guard troops stationed on it.

Compare that with the tiny Capitol Police force guarding the Capitol building while one of the most important state functions was in progress, with much of the executive branch succession and the legislative branch in attendance. National Guard troops were denied both in advance and for a while during the ensuing riot, citing concerns about “the optics.”

Any meaningful discussion of protest response and overreach, potential or actual, has to account for that disparity.

As you said, some rioters were “planning terrible deeds,” which increasingly clearly means “kidnapping or executing congresspeople and the VP for not keeping DJT in power.” This raises the issue to the level of sedition (organized incitement to rebellion) and insurrection (actual acts of violence against the state or its officers).

Maybe “terrorism” doesn’t broadly apply here, and it’s better to refer to the capitol invaders as “insurrectionists.” Trump, the other government supporters of the protest, and any private backers should be labeled as “seditionists.” I am less likely to push for a “terrorism” label if I can be confident that the other two labels will be applied and prosecuted as such.


Well the left wingers have already successfully bombed the Capitol building in 1983, so it's prudent for law enforcement to be wary when they protest near it.


Alternative take: Maybe DC Police and others learned some restraint in the ~6 months in between and tried to avoid escalating the situation in the earliest moments.

Even if it was misplaced, isn't that a better opening mindset?


That’s a fair take concerning the Capitol police (who are a separate force from DC police, just FYI). But even the calls to have the National Guard on standby, given new intel 1 or 2 days before the event that it was going to be bigger than expected, were denied before the event.

Then when things began to escalate, calls for National Guard assistance were denied by the Pentagon for at least a full hour. In a rapidly-evolving situation, especially when the Capitol building has been breached and it takes time to summon the troops since they weren’t on standby, that is an eternity.


You’re onto something there. But it’s more a means to a political end, as opposed to another data point of systemic racism. Both are awful, but not entirely correlated in this instance.


Using these violent incidents as “a means to a political end” is the very definition of terrorism.


They had homemade bombs. They had firearms. They had bags full of restraints. Their intent was to kidnap and kill the politicians and they almost succeeded if it wasn’t for the hero that killed the terrorist that was breaching the only door left between them and the politicians. You are disingenuous if for you this wasn’t a terrorist attack just because they didn’t succeed and only managed to kill some cops instead of some politicians.


  They had homemade bombs. They had firearms. They had bags full of restraints. 
How many functional "bombs" were deployed? How many people were shot (by trespassers)? How many abductions occurred?


Luckily they never got to their intended targets.


So a bungled incompetent terrorist attack isn't a terrorist attack?


> Firstly, nobody was terrorized.

I can count six DC-area thousand+ employee firms that provided grief counseling in response. And as a reminder, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism - even if a subset of people implemented violence with political ends in mind (breaking in, beating innocent people, attempting to take hostages, all in the name of overturning a legitimate election), at the very least, that subset meets the precise definition of "terrorists."

> No, this wasn't "our 9/11."

The Capitol was breached as part of a coordinated and failed plot. Last time this happened was 1814.

> I have no doubt a few of the rioters really were planning terrible deeds, and the violence and property damage is inexcusable.

Yes, using the rest of the people in the crowd as human shields, but nonetheless:

> But most of these people just seem to be caught up in the moment -- taking selfies and LARPing around the capitol after hours.

This isn't a valid defense to any crime literally ever.


If you expand the definition of terrorism to such an absurd degree (anybody who may need grief counseling) you're diluting actual terrorism.

The Pulse nightclub is what real terrorism looks like. And the Christchurch shootings. And 9/11.

The storming of the capitol was not at all similar.


I think you're underestimating the intent of people who showed up with pipe bombs and flex cuffs and gallows.

Sure, there were a lot of play acting idiots hanging on and joining in, like that girl who seemed somehow incensed that she got pepper sprayed when "all she'd done" was "shown up for the revolution and trespassed on The Capitol", but not all of them were just clueless morons.

Some of them had plans and intent that would 100% be called "terrorism" if they were of middle eastern descent, and should 100% be called terrorism even though they're home-grown American citizens.


So what was the goal of storming the Capitol? You keep saying it wasn't terrorism, so what was the purpose?

It seems pretty obvious to me the purpose was to intimidate elected officials in some misguided attempt to prevent them from completing their constitutional duties. That is literally terrorism.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/terrorism

>Terrorism, the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.


> If you expand the definition of terrorism to such an absurd degree (anybody who may need grief counseling) you're diluting actual terrorism.

> The Pulse nightclub is what real terrorism looks like. And the Christchurch shootings. And 9/11.

> The storming of the capitol was not at all similar.

Interesting. What makes 9/11 a terror attack that doesn't similarly make the Capitol Insurrection one? Because they both left a similar imprint on the people, and they were both implemented by groups with extremist ideologies and political objectives in mind.

I note that you tossed the reference to the definition of terrorism and focused on grief counseling. Interesting decision.


I'd say intent to kill is what makes them terrorists. What makes this muddied is the varying degrees of intent from all the people who stormed the capital. Some saw it as a chance to kill people. Others just went to protest -- not really unreasonable since we've been having protests nonstop for like a year.

Calling both kinds of people terrorists feels sort of like calling the passengers of the 9/11 flights terrorists too


> I'd say intent to kill is what makes them terrorists. What makes this muddied is the varying degrees of intent from all the people who stormed the capital. Some saw it as a chance to kill people. Others just went to protest -- not really unreasonable since we've been having protests nonstop for like a year.

> Calling both kinds of people terrorists feels sort of like calling the passengers of the 9/11 flights terrorists too

I'm straining my neck to understand how you equated the litany of protesters who broke into the Capitol building (excluding the terrorists who came equipped with pipe bombs, tactical gear for hostage-taking, and who planned the insurrection for months) with innocent bystanders on doomed flights on 9/11.


> tactical gear for hostage-taking

You're talking about people who wear tactical gear to go to the corner store. Who carry guns and flex-cuffs because they are desperate to be some kind of "big man".

Probably a handful of them intended to actually "do" something.

But mostly they just milled about looking like penguins escaping the zoo.


Then you're not even trying to see any perspective but your own. "Terrorist" should mean violent, radical extremists. If you're saying that all of the protestors are terrorist then you're either loosening the definition of terrorism to mean anyone who commits a federal crime, or you're saying that all of those people at the rally were ready to start gunning people down.

The relationship with the innocent bystanders is the same that I said before -- intent. The people who went to protest outside are protestors. The people who went to break into the capital and steal, march, whatever, are insurrectionists. The people who went with weapons are terrorists.

It's already accurate to call them insurrectionists, why add controversy to it by calling them terrorists?


> Then you're not even trying to see any perspective but your own. "Terrorist" should mean violent, radical extremists. If you're saying that all of the protestors are terrorist then you're either loosening the definition of terrorism to mean anyone who commits a federal crime, or you're saying that all of those people at the rally were ready to start gunning people down.

Didn't say that.

> The relationship with the innocent bystanders is the same that I said before -- intent. The people who went to protest outside are protestors. The people who went to break into the capital and steal, march, whatever, are insurrectionists. The people who went with weapons are terrorists.

You didn't understand me.

> It's already accurate to call them insurrectionists, why add controversy to it by calling them terrorists?

Please re-read.


Well, for one, almost 3000 people died in the September 11th attacks. Kind of an important point.


I don't really see how the number of people killed makes a difference in whether an attack is terrorism. An attack can result in zero casualties and still be terror (depending on some definitions. Others require at least one death)


  The Capitol was breached as part of a coordinated and failed plot. Last time this happened was 1814.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Capitol_shooting...


Ah, TIL. Thanks!


The Capitol was successfully bombed in 1983 by a left wing terrorist group.


The full list of incidents is here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-capitol-hist...

But while all of those are incidents, attacks, etc., I think the distinction (which I failed to highlight) is that 1814 and 2021 involved a complete overrun of the building rather than a localized incident or intrusion. Doesn't make much of a practical difference in the end, though.


> I doubt it'll even be a topic of conversation in a few years, just like we don't talk about 1983 United States Senate bombing today at all.

We still talk about the Clinton impeachment today, and the acts that precipitated it. Students of history still study the Andrew Johnson impeachment. You're being naive if you think an unprecedented, record, second impeachment of a president will be forgotten that quickly.


The violence and property damage wasn't the problem. Democracies can survive some broken windows, stolen laptops, and yes, even people getting hurt and killed at a protest. This sort of thing has happened for decades and centuries.

What they can't survive is groups of thugs that don't like the result of an election, and go off to physically prevent its results from being honored. That is unprecedented.


> What they can't survive is...

And yet, here we are, democracy intact.


There was an excellent article by someone from a place where a failed coup led to a real one a couple of years hence. Democracy is not 'intact', it is now damaged, and whether or not manage to repair it remains to be seen.

The most dangerous thing you can do now is to think this is behind you and from here on in everything is normal. It isn't and it probably won't be for some time. If you manage the next two transfers of power at the end of election cycles without further mishap I'd say that you can say democracy is intact. Until then all bets are off.

Edit: I wished I could locate the article, so far no luck.

edit2: finally found it in my history, this article was from 11 November 2020, and very prescient:

https://indica.medium.com/i-lived-through-a-coup-america-is-...


I would like to see some data on failed coups that does not involve any military.

The latest major failed coup that I can remember would be the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, and the effect it had on the country is well known. The general consensus internationally seems to be that the efforts by their government to stamp out their "terrorists" has been a bit of an overreaction, even if literal tanks was involved. The censorship machine in particular has been quite overreactive.

One can really hope that the US democracy manage a more appropriate reaction that is more proportional to the threat.


The only worse than the the content of that link was the writing style.


Thank you for your contribution. Note the error in the one line comment you made.


Ha! Well I'll take unintentional typos over the drivel in that article any day of the week.


So far he's made the right call though. Note when it was written, and what has happened since.


Predicting that somebody stupid would do something stupid after the last election does not make one Nostradamus.

He also claims that Trump is refusing to leave and is leveraging the military to facilitate that. That's bunk.


It's bunk because the military didn't play ball, not because it wasn't tried.

What's mostly bunk here is that you think that this is behind you and I am not willing to accept that until we have seen one, and preferably two transfers of power without mishap, preferably in both directions.


Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You're claiming the sitting President tried to mobilize the military to prevent a transfer of power. Do you have any evidence of that?

Claiming there was fraud in the past election, that the election was stolen, or that the results should not have been certified is not mobilizing the military. It's not even illegal, it's part of the constitutional process.

Hell, some Democrats did exactly that to Trump in 2017. Even the Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi herself disputed the results in 2005 yet she now claims that anyone else repeating her own words is an insurrectionist.


Ok.


Democracy only works because we all believe that it works.

When that belief is shattered, and people no longer believe in a peaceful transfer of power, you get violent transfer of power.

I think it's far too early to make such a claim. Wait till 2022, or 2024, or 2028. This genie is not going back in the bottle without putting up a fight - not while its being egged on by opportunistic mainstream politicians.


> > What they can't survive is...

> And yet, here we are, democracy intact.

You keep cutting off quotes without including the relevant details. You need to stop doing that. The original quote:

> What they can't survive is groups of thugs that don't like the result of an election, and go off to physically prevent its results from being honored. That is unprecedented.

The last part of that sentence you cropped (emphasized by me) didn't come to pass because it was interrupted by Capitol contingency plans and Shelter In Place protocols, among other things. It very well could've been successful; we're lucky to not know that outcome.


Are we? Because to me there are huge cracks opening up. Death toll isn't the important part about terrorist attacks, it's the responses that count, and the response to this seems about the same or more extreme as 9/11 to me, and I lived through that on a military base. I don't remember 25k troops being deployed into DC for 9/11.


And that was a foreign attack. 25000 national guard are in D.C. due to a domestic enemy, white nationalist American terrorists, making credible threats.

It's self-evidently anti-Democratic. The last time this nation got into a dispute over an election where the minority decided to just set it aside and not submit to the result, resulted in the bloodiest revolution to date.


Right, just like Germany survived the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 just fine, democracy intact.

People are fools to think this is all just suddenly over now that Trump is gone and big-tech de-platformed one tiny social media platform.


Steve Banon has been pardoned. Stay tuned…


And now Trump is considering starting a "Patriot Party" due to his lack of support in the GOP for overturning the election. Spitting image of the failed Putsch when Hitler realized, in Jail, that a coup d'état wasn't going to work and they needed to attack at a different angle, a democratic angle, and be seen as a legitimate political party.

It's happening just like it was always going to, like clockwork. Americans aren't out of this yet.


These actors haven't finished. The pattern so far is that the current admin has tried every single dirty trick they could muster to avoid leaving power. Even if something happens to Trump today, these folks will recrystallize around a new cult leader.


Far-right terrorism has been taken seriously as recently as 2009, but conservatives complained they were being treated unfairly and the efforts were abandoned.

2009 reporting: https://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/15/extremism.report/

2012 update: https://www.wired.com/2012/08/dhs/

2017 update: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/0...

2020 update: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/07/21/right-wing-terrorism...


Rolled, and let go on bail? [1] Or just released with a stay-away-from-DC order? [2] The discrepancy between how BLM and white nationalists are treated is staggering.

[1] https://apnews.com/article/arrests-florida-nancy-pelosi-capi...

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2021/01/14/judg...


There was a varied response to BLM riots.

In my city, BLM demonstrators - or at least people purporting to be part of BLM - declared several city blocks an autonomous zone. The zone's security forces subsequent killed several people (among them, ironically, an unarmed black 16 year old). It took the city 3 weeks to clear out this zone, and it was done without lethal force.

By comparison, the people occupying the Capitol were removed in a matter of hours including employing lethal force.

The Capitol protests were met with more leniency than some BLM demonstrations, but less than others.


Worth mentioning that the only lethal force in the capitol was when they were breaching the barricades where (I think) VIPs were being guarded.

That's lethal force in self-defense, not lethal force to clear out the protest.


>The zone's security forces subsequent killed several people (among them, ironically, an unarmed black 16 year old).

There seem to be a lot of people who are absolutely certain that the security forces were responsible for this.

The police aren't among their number, however, since they haven't detained, arrested or charged anyone.

There was also another killing in the zone that was, iirc, erroneously blamed on the security forces.


The police stated that the crime scene had been cleaned of evidence by the time they arrived to investigate it.


That doesn't clear anything up or indicate guilt.


Is it?

> According to an accounting by the American Bail Coalition, verified by The Fact Checker with a review of Hennepin County jail records, all but three of the 170 people arrested during the protests between May 26 and June 2 were released from jail within a week. Of the 167 released, only 10 had to put up a monetary bond to be released; in most cases, the amounts were nominal, such as $78 or $100. In fact, 92 percent of those arrested had to pay no bail — and 29 percent of those arrested did not face charges. (The American Bail Coalition is a trade group of insurance companies who profit from underwriting bail bonds.)

[1] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/politics...


another thing that immediately came to mind after the capitol rioting was the standoff with Cliven Bundy and an article I saw a few years ago[1]. I even remembered that at the time there were people on Fox who were downplaying this as some sort of patriotic resistance against the government. Imagine if someone started a caliphate on US territory, I'm sure we'd be hearing the same kind of arguments /s

"Cliven Bundy and sons cleared in case of 2014 armed standoff, a major defeat for the federal government that critics fear will empower far-right militia groups"

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/08/bundy-family...


You forgot to mention why the charges were dropped:

> The judge declared a mistrial in December and ruled on Monday that prosecutors could not retry the case, arguing that the US attorney’s office had willfully withheld evidence and engaged in misconduct.


Somehow I don't think such consideration would have been extended to the Boston bombers, even with LE overreach on display for the whole country to see re: the search and entry tactics in Watertown et al.


The Bundy thing was 100% government needlessly escalating a matter, that should have been some lawyers negotiating a reasonable fees and promises to not intentionally graze on federal land. If that failed they simply could have arrested him driving in to town or some equally mundane action.


The government tried to negotiate with him for something like forty years.

He had no intention of complying or paying any of his bills.


>Far-right terrorism in the US has never really been taken seriously. No one took them seriously.

The FBI, hardly a bastion of left-wingers, has been warning for decades that white supremacists have been attempting to infiltrate police and the military.

When polled 25% of active-duty military personnel say they know at least one.


>Far-right terrorism in the US has never really been taken seriously.

Tell that to Ulysses S. Grant.


>so hopefully they learned their lesson this time

I might be cynical, but I think that will work just about as well as the first impeachment.


> The Feds are starting to roll up high ranking militia members, so hopefully they learned their lesson this time.

Here’s a post that basically says that. I think someone posted it here.

https://arcdigital.media/qanon-woke-up-the-real-deep-state-7...


Did you ever read any actual FBI documents regarding extremism? Clearly not, I guess.


When it happened, there was a reporter on CBC talking about how it was common knowledge in DC for a long time that there was a protest planned there.

So indeed. The real question is why was there seemingly no preparation to handle it.


Compared to other DC protests, the absence of preparation was the preparation.

Clearly some of the Establishment wanted it to succeed.


> Clearly some of the Establishment wanted it to succeed.

Or massively & publicly fail... if we’re trading conspiracy theories.


You have a point. I'm trying to find the differences between this attempted insurrection and a police sting and there are less than I first guessed.


That difference might not be observable from the outside at all. How do you separate "good old incompetence" from "malicious withdrawal to allow the coup and seize power" from "malicious withdrawal to allow the coup to fail and use the blowback to seize power"? Investigation into the behavior of the Capitol police will be of greatest importance to the integrity of the republic.


Fail in what way? I mean they didn’t actually overthrow the government or string up Pence, but their penetration and looting of the Capitol buildings was incredibly successful.


They were within minutes (reported in national newspapers as “within one minute”) of being in the room with Mike Pence, so perhaps the Vice President was lucky.


Qanon and friends have been talking about "the storm" for years now.

January 6 was either luck and foolery or clever planning.

A year ago I would have said luck but the weekend before super Tuesday last year with the centrists clearing the lane for Biden all within 36 hours convinced me there's capable skilled political actors who can orchestrate things.

January 6 was perhaps the least harmful version of the storm possible. The people there, they are the kinds of people that follow crazy conspiracies and do mass shootings, tens thousands of them. They've been antagonized and fueled this antigovernment narrative, some of them for almost 30 years by the shock jock grifters.

They got their storm, the pitchfork moment and relatively little violence happened, it lasted just an afternoon, then they left, not returning the next day and now people are being arrested in a way that doesn't martyr them as revolutionaries or put them into any kind of overarching constructive narrative.

They weren't lined up against the wall and taken care of like revolutionaries but instead individually arrested like common criminals. There was no clear "deep state" repression or large arrests to stoke the conspiracies of prison camps etc.

The storm happened. It was a dud. Afterwards the conspiracy social media accounts were denouncing the Republican party. Almost like the Republicans were able to shake off this toxic part of their coalition in the exchange.

This is an extremely favorable outcome for the establishment. They even got to shut down a bunch of the biggest troublemakers in the process. So really I don't know what to think. Brilliant execution or dumb luck, maybe a bit of both...


FWIW, the “storm” of QAnon is a different prophesied event, when the secret Democrat child sex trafficking ring would be exposed once and for all and the perpetrators all arrested at once, dramatically. That’s what QAnon actually believe, and if you are that deluded, storming the Capitol building in a desperate bid to ensure that Trump remains in office long enough to break up the secret Democrat child sex trafficking ring has a certain internal logic to it.

This is no joke—one of the rioters who made it to either the House or Senate floor was carrying a sign with a vague message about saving the children, while another one—the one who faced off with heroic Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman—was wearing a “Q” hoodie.

It’s very strange to consider that some 4chan troll had this impact on history.

To your point, I think it’s worth considering all the potential outcomes:

1. Harm coming to any of the elected officials in the Capitol that day 2. A bloodbath on the Capitol steps on live television 3. Chaotic scenes of men in pelts occupying the Senate floor followed by the resumption of normal business that evening 4. A large armed presence with physical barriers and riot squads surrounding the Capitol

Obviously in retrospect we would take #4, and that’s what we’ll get for the inauguration. But #3 was obviously the second best choice on the table, and potentially the best if you want #4 to look legitimate, especially after about half a year of anti-police narrative.


Right. I've been following the qanon phenomena for a while. My real curiosity is whether January 6 fizzled out the energy enough that it no longer becomes such a large phenomena.

I'm sure we all know a few people who have slipped into sheer lunacy down internet rabbit holes and seem to more or less be literally insane from the various wild stories.

The best I can imagine is for it to occupy the same fringe space as other wild conspiracies from the grifters like David Icke and Alex Jones.

These people will always exist in society but they should be a small enough group that we aren't forced to deal with them as a political force.

We shouldn't have to spend time, for instance, showing how Vincent Fusca isn't the secret alias of a JFK Jr faked death... it's such a waste of public engagement.


Neither is a good look. But the result will be the same. More heavy handed undermining of privacy, rights, etc.


They employed tear gas to get Trump to hold a bible upside down. [1]

It's hard to overstate how poorly they managed this. This is something a special investigation should be commissioned out by congress/the DOJ.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867532070/trumps-unannounced-...


Doesn't change your point, but the Bible was right side up.


Yup, that's what really stinks about these protests. You could go to several social media sites and see the 6th plans.

It was incredible to see so few Capitol police guarding the capitol. Further, the fact that they didn't employ things like tear gas sooner was incredible. They just sort of let the rioters through the weak barriers they setup.

Security HAD to have known this was coming. This wasn't some secret plot. I knew this was coming just because I like to keep tabs on what the trump supporters are saying. It was all over the reddit knockoff (win).


The winds that day were fairly strong (looked like 15+ knots, with many of the flags being fully horizontal). It seems like tear gas would be relatively ineffective as a crowd-dispersal agent in strong winds.


There have been a bunch of Trump protests in DC since the election. The city was boarded up in preparation for them. But they’ve all been completely peaceful. People got complacent.


That's why trump replaced his secretary of defense after he lost the election. That's why they didn't bring in requested national guard troops. (if I understand the situation, Trump never authorized the NG, as he was cheering on the coup from the WH, and the guard deployed bc Pence was pleading for it, which has its own weird constitutional issues.)


He offered to dispatch NG, but that request legally had to come from the Capitol Police (which does not report to the Administration branch in any way), just like NG can't be deployed in states without the governor specifically requesting same and declaring a formal State of Emergency.

"Not just a good idea... It's the law."


Technically, couldn’t he have invoked the Insurrection Act?


From Wikipedia: "Before invoking the powers under the Act, 10 U.S.C. § 254 requires the President to first publish a proclamation ordering the insurgents to disperse."

It hasn't been invoked without state/local request since Kennedy.


My guess is that it was a calculated decision to allow to allow a poorly organized insurrection attempt to fail as opposed to shutting things down and strengthening their cause. Life was certainly lost. So if that's what happened they should have shut it down as it was happening instead of ignoring capitol police calls for support.


Some of the Capitol Police workers did apparently bring concerns to their supervisors, but nothing much was done about it.

Part of the answer that I am surprised you haven't been given yet is that there is an ongoing infiltration of the police forces in this country by far right wing activists. I mean, Exhibit A is the two off-duty cops from (I think) one of the Carolinas that were present in the actual riot. Here is a think piece [0] that has links to sources. I would not be surprised at all to learn that there were people in the Capitol Police itself who were sympathizers.

[0] https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/hidd...


The protest was planned, that’s for sure. But here the context is the attack, not the protest.


Can somebody explain, since this was a long planned coup attempt against a Capitol that has its own police force, in a capital that has one of the largest and most heavily armed police forces in the world, why did the guncrazy far right militants leave their guns at home? And instead behaved mostly like an out of control protest with a few dozen violent rioters? It is a very peculiar way to attempt to overthrow a government.


You don’t need the guns if you have people on the inside. And a good number of the rioters seemed really quite surprised when law enforcement fought back against them. After all, they were carrying Blue Lives Matter flags, surely the cops are on their side!

(and besides, there were a good number of people with guns at the protest. And some others brought pipe bombs. Thankfully neither ended up being a factor but no one would have known that at the time)


Doesn’t add up. How are you going to hold the Capitol or any hostages without weapons?


As I said, they did have weapons. Not an overwhelming amount of them certainly, but more than enough to pose a threat if they managed to capture Nancy Pelosi.

And again: if you have the support of the police (and potentially also the armed forces) it’s all pretty moot anyway.


The QAnon "storm" narrative revolved around unnamed "true patriots" within some unnamed national security service rising up to overthrow the corrupt.. something.

Or at least that's the common interpretation of QAnon ramblings.

But the point is that there wasn't any centralised leadership plotting this. There was some groups (who did have weapons) who were absolutely planning this, but the protestors in general was much more decentralized in purpose and method.


The FBI divulged this morning that the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, were trying to trap congress members in the underground tunnels of the capitol to gas them.


No, they didn't. FBI charging documents make zero references to any of the OK defendants possessing any form of lethal, or even irritant, gas weapons.


masonic is ignoring the possibility that "gas" talk was figurative. It was reported that Oathkeeper Thomas Edward Caldwell received facebook messages during the insurrection: “Tom all legislators are down in the Tunnels 3floors down,” and “Go through back house chamber doors facing N left down hallway down steps,” and “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas,” according to the FBI.

Perhaps "seal them in, turn on gas" was a figurative way of saying "trap them and kill them". Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy...


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

FBI charging documents do make references to the telecommunications of the OK defendants, where they are trying to trap and gas congress people under the capitol.


Hrm. You made a very specific (and false) claim, got called on it, and now you say "references to... trying to..." in apparent attempt to weasel around it.

Neither the FBI nor Capitol Police has made claim that any lethal gas was present, period. Not in possession of "Oath Keepers" or otherwise. Not in "underground tunnels" or anywhere else.

No reputable news agency seems to be claiming thus, either.

So, the burden is on the claimant to show that this isn't pure narrative fantasy.


A lot of the protesters have said they expected the police to be largely on their side. I suspect that when things got violent both the armed rioters and police realised that guns would just end up in a blood bath on both sides, and the first person to shoot on either side would probably end up dead pretty quickly.


I suspect the police weren't shooting because they realized how overwhelmed they were. I've seen a couple of videos where they had drawn their guns and prepared to fire but they were simply surrounded.


The interaction I saw between the rioters and those defending the Capitol just after the woman was shot seem more enlightening than this theory.


Crowds would have dispersed pretty quickly if the cops started shooting


Probably not. Even when actually shot, people don’t always run. It would be pretty hard for them to stop the crowd with a few cops and a few handguns.


Or they would have stormed the cops in a blind rage, killed them, and taken their weapons.


If I suspend my disbelief for a second, do you have a link to any interviews or similar with those protesters?

Surely you are not conflating quotes from peaceful demonstrators against (alleged) election fraud, with militants trying to violently overthrow the government?


Here's a WP article on it. I remember seeing video of a woman retreating from the Capitol saying something about them being on the same side as the police and complaining why they weren't joining them, but I can't find it, sorry. One of the protesters was carrying blue lives matter flag.

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IKWa_6...


Is this the same woman who was crying, “they pushed me down and maced me” while dabbing her face with an onion?


That's the one. There's a theory that onions help neutralise the effects of mace, they've been used by protesters in the Middle East for this and it's possible some of the Capitol rioters came with them and gave her one.


That sounds dubious to me. Have you chopped onions? What I’ve heard is that she probably wasn’t maced and was just using the onion to irritate her eyes and force tears to fake being maced. (People who actually get maced tend to be slobbery, snotty messes.)


I suspect they thought there'd be more complicity or active support from the police/guards. bringing your guns out in the open directly would have been too visible a giveaway up front, giving people time to react/block.


> why did the guncrazy far right militants leave their guns at home?

Because despite their public rhetoric and willingness to carry guns when they don’t expect law enforcement opposition, they realized that their only chance of success at the Capitol was to not be treated by law enforcement the way that law enforcement (including the Secret Service) would treat a visibly-armed mob surrounding the Capitol during proceedings (which include Secret Service protectees).


How did they coordinate not bringing guns? Or did they each individually realize this strategy without coordination? I think you’re giving them too much credit here.


I agree that “realized their chance of success” makes it more group-strategic than is probably warranted.

“Realized that the likely law enforcement stance likely at the Capitol would make visibly carrying a firearm increase their personal risk rather than their effectiveness” is probably more accurate.


Anecdotally, I tuned into some of the protester's livestreams early on because I assumed that they would be trying to get into the building to stop the confirmation of Biden's win. It almost felt so incredibly obvious to me that it was going to happen.


A few possibilities:

- Overcorrection: law enforcement had come under fire for using excessive force against protests and they erred on the other side.

- Conspiracy: the security state is firmly under the control of the pro-Trump faction, who (incorrectly) thought they could make Trump president for life once the Q Shaman took the Senate.

- Conspiracy: the security state is firmly under the control of the anti-Trump faction, who (correctly) thought that letting the protest go too far would be politically devastating for their enemies, and would provide the hook for passing new security laws.

- Incompetence: America can't protect its capitol for the same reason it can't distribute a vaccine, build railways or put a man on the moon.


This is similar to the conclusion I came to. Because there are so many logical possibilities, without a reputable source definitively stating that one of these is right, the door is open for anyone to pick a narrative and run with it.


Cynical view: Because way too much of law enforcement is totally in on it, from upper management right the way down to beat cops. Compare their (collective) preparations and actions on the 6th to their preparation and actions at many many black lives matter protests.

Like the song says: "Some of those who join forces, are the same who burn crosses."


*work forces


Or they paid exactly the right amount of attention to it and it's only the media that's blown it out of proportion. Had this been a BLM protest it would have been one of the 'mostly peaceful' ones with questions about why a rent a cop killed her when the professionals in front of him didn't think it was a situation to use deadly force in.

The hypocrisy from both sides is astonishing and the reason why cops can kill whoever they feel like: half the country will cheer them on because that {anarchist,nazi} deserved it. I find it sickening that I share a citizenship with blood thirsty savages with no concept of empathy.


I'm pretty surprised to not see more opinions like this. I'm in Minneapolis. Last summer, during the protests a police station was burned. To me, it seemed like a protest that got out of hand. Didn't seem like am organized attack on the police station.

At the capital, that also seems to me like a protest that got out of hand.

In each case, the opposing side seems convinced of much more malicious intent. I think that is the worst part - everyone is deeply offended when their opposition does X, but they support their own flavor of X when done by their side.


Trump appointees in the intelligence services were attacking members who investigated far- right threats.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/why-dhs-failed-to-wa...


There are different conversations in different places. The conversation here is obsessed with "censorship" for fairly clear reasons; more of our livelihoods depend on how these rules work. But there is a very active conversation about the law enforcement breakdown on multiple levels. I expect there will be a 9/11 style commission. I expect its findings to be very depressing (along the lines of the people in charge going easier on people they viewed more as "us" rather than "them").


It’s not at all weird that the discussion has centered around censorship in reaction to this. As Winston Churchill once said...”Never let a good crisis go to waste” [1].

Democrats are seizing upon the opportunity created by this incident to permanently silence their opposition and attempt to cement long-term political power. A former Facebook official has even publicly suggested that cable companies banish conservative news networks, and that Facebook and YouTube expel conservative influencers from their platforms, in reaction to the incident [2].

Attempting to silence and ostracize vast swaths of the population seems like it might backfire in pretty dramatic fashion. Even Jack Dorsey acknowledged that we had entered into dangerous territory when Twitter blocked Trump and the rest of big tech killed Parler, and he seemed to suggest that the only long-term solution was decentralized social media [3] (something I have been saying since they did this).

In any event, we are certainly in for a wild ride over the next few years. American society is cracking at the seams, and our “leaders” and financially-incentivized media companies seem to be actively encouraging it.

[1] https://www.oecd.org/agriculture/never-waste-a-good-water-cr...

[2] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/former-facebook-offic...

[3] https://twitter.com/jack/status/1349510769268850690?s=21


"law enforcement" was in on it. I'm using the term loosely here, I'm mainly thinking "police"; the FBI seems to have things in order much better at least. The warning signs were there for YEARS, but nobody's dared to stand up to the domestic terrorist organizations - probably because the president was one of them. "Stand back and stand by".

If you picture a Venn diagram, there's a significant overlap in Republicans, the insurrectionists, QAnon / Pizzagate types, Blue Lives Matters, the police, and nazis / white supremacists.


They haven’t drawn much attention from LE because they haven’t been a serious threat. I still don’t think they are. The Capitol security were overwhelmed by a massive protest providing cover for a large number of rioters to force their way in through unexpected routes. Those rioters were certainly a mix of malevolent and deluded but they were minimally violent considering the amount of opportunity and motive present. They should still be prosecuted, just not for terrorism. If this becomes our new bar for terrorism charges then don’t be surprised when you wind up on a no fly list and get a knock on your door after attending a protest.


> They should still be prosecuted, just not for terrorism

“Terrorism” isn't an actual crime you can be charged for regarding acts within the US (terrorism outside the US is a specific federal crime, as is material support for terrorism—the latter of which references knowing support for a wide range of crimes under the ambit of terrorism, a number of which seem not implausible to be justifiably charged against participants in the capitol insurrection, such as conspiring to kill or kidnap the President, Vice President, any member of Congress, etc.)

> If this becomes our new bar for terrorism charges then don’t be surprised when you wind up on a no fly list and get a knock on your door after attending a protest.

The “no-fly” list doesn't require being charged with anything, anyhow, much less “terrorism” specifically,


> “Terrorism” isn't an actual crime you can be charged for regarding acts within the US

Sounds like a case is being made for it, that’s what I’m concerned about. Those laws will be permanent and will continue to creep their way into daily life.


> Sounds like a case is being made for it, that’s what I’m concerned about

People have been called terrorists for domestic acts for decades without any effort at legislation to make that a specific chargeable crime, and nothing in the way people are referring to the insurrectionists at the Capitol as domestic terrorists is any different.


It seems so oddly funny to have people honestly question why the government didn’t make more efforts to stop something supported by their governments top leader.

It’s kind of like asking why didn’t the Russian police make efforts to stop a KGB assassination.

I mean do we really have to ask why? Isn’t it more relevant just to ask who knew about the attacks and kick them to the curb either for being astronomically incompetent, or either passively or actively assisting the attack?


TPTB like when certain tragedies happen because it catalyzes public support for laws they want to pass.


When the commander in chief is the orchestrator, blaming law enforcement is not clear cut either.


It's not clear whether the President was the orchestrator, or whether he was the conductor for music written by someone else.


"Following orders" isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card. If LE didn't speak out, they are co-conspirators.


Well, "following orders" can absolutely be a get-out-of-jail-free card when the orders come from the person in charge of handing out get-out-of-jail-free cards.


Considering the person in charge giving out said cards is going to be out of office tomorrow, that excuse is going to have less and less use going forward.

The constitutionality of "future-effective" pardons is in question. There's also the question of if those pardons will even be issued (does he care enough).


At a minimum, it is a reason people expect to get get out jail free cards when the person perceived to be giving orders has the power to hand out get out of jail free cards.


I have heard two theories that seemed plausible to me:

1. The Capitol police are used to dealing with large protests. They happen frequently in DC, especially in and around the capitol. So they may have unfortunately assumed that there is no reason to think this protest would be different, and thus not prepared properly

2. They assumed that a pro-Trump, QANON crowd would be pro-police. This is probably not a bad assumption, some of the people were waving blue lives matter flags etc. If they assumed that, they might have assumed that they would not break the law and were under-prepared.

Another plausible explanation could be large portion of the officers were sympathetic to the cause, but I'm not sure I have seen any evidence of that yet.


> it's weird that the discussion has centered around censorship

The discussion here has focused on the shutdown of Parler, both because the demographic leans right and because tech people feel more comfortable talking about data access and civil liberties than about political violence.

In the rest of society, I assure you, the laser focus of discussion is absolutely about the act itself, and the response to it, and questions about the likelihood of it happening again. The stuff about Parler is a side show for the most part.


If it’s due to a right leaning user base then you can be pretty sure that half the country has the same concerns. Everyone seems to keep forgetting that.


I haven't seen these calls for surveillance. I have seen calls for sedition charges against the politicians that encouraged it and law enforcement that ignored the evidence of coming insurrection.


Crypto wars II. Barr was making noises about banning strong domestic cryptography again, a few months ago. It's a Democratic party trigger, too, so don't expect this to change much.

[Can you fine folks in California vote out Feinstein? She's long past her best-used-by date]


I’ve tried but no smart up and coming democrat wants to start their career by poking the party establishment in the eye, so we largely don’t get great challenging candidates. And california republicans have the albatross of what the national Republican Party has become around their neck in the state.


Who actually believes the point of surveillance is for protection OF the people?


To be honest FBI did see this and they did work to counter it but the Administration did not take their warning seriously. Donald Trump refused to deploy National Guard and Pence had to do it even though Pence did not have the authority. You can't blame the tail of snake of the venom in its head.

There is plenty of evidence that the GREAT LEADER tried to overturn elections. If the Congress fails to impeach him it would imply the Congress is not a strong and relevant institution anymore and what the GREAT LEADER failed at someone else would succeed in future. Also, no point blaming FBI here as they were merely pen pushers, their bosses and Congress from which derive legitimacy are far more incompetent and responsible for this mess.

Cato Institute (Libertarian/Conservative think tank) analyst David Bier has a timeline here. The Great Leader Supreme had called for this rally in early December and had since used violent language asking folks to move to DC on December 6th.

https://twitter.com/David_J_Bier/status/1351552702032056328?...

Here are some quotable quotes.

> 12/19: Trump announces the Jan. 6th event by tweeting, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Immediately, insurrectionists begin to discuss the “Wild Protest.” Just 2 days later, this UK political analyst predicts the violence

> On Dec. 29, the FBI sends out a nationwide bulletin warning legislatures about attacks

> 1/1: Trump tweets the time of his protest. Then he retweets “The calvary is coming” on Jan. 6!” Sounds like a war? About this time, the FBI begins visiting right wing extremists to tell them not to go--does the FBI tell the president?

>1/5: Trump tweets at various law enforcement, intelligence, and military agencies that he supposedly oversees about the threat from “Antifa.” At the same time, a VA FBI Office warns of a “war” at the Capitol from the far right starting the next day.

> 1/6, 12:00-12:17pm: Trump begins his speech. At 12:17, he says that he will march with the rioters to the Capitol to demand the election be overturned.

> "After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol" - Donald J. Trump - Jan 6 2021

> "We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and we're going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give weak Republicans the pride and boldness that they need to take back our country... So let's walk down Pennsylvania Ave" https://youtu.be/ipTSkxiToDE


Yeah "we need to break all encryption to catch people planning terrorism in Facebook groups, e-mail, and unencrypted SMS..."

Most terrorists are idiots because most people who are not idiots are not terrorists.


There have been plenty of extremely well organised, sophisticated and technically competent terrorists. The IRA, the Red Amy Faction, the PLO and Black September, Al Qaeda.

Aside from 9/11 none of them have operated successfully in the US and your domestic terrorism has mainly been perpetrated by individuals or very small one off groups of just 2 or 3.


It's worth noting the Weather Underground were well organized and sophisticated terrorists, although they were admittedly a lot less violent and long-lasting than the listed groups.


Interesting, I'd never heard of them. They certainly do seem to be pretty sophisticated and disciplined though.


There was actually a fair amount of domestic terrorism in the 60’s and 70’s that doesn’t get widely discussed for some reason. FALN was another fairly successful domestic terror group that has gone largely forgotten.


They are still active, just not violent.


> Aside from 9/11 none of them have operated successfully in the US

The Provisional IRA ran fundraising operations in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAID


As did the Fenians long before. Also ran actual military operations out of the US.


Most people who are idiots are not terrorists either.

On average a terrorist would be smarter than the average person. Terrorists are highly motiviated individuals, they can deeply understand an ideology and they activity learn/train in specialized skills. Compared to the average person their IQ would be 20 points higher.

Being a terrorist isn't easy. It's not a job for everyone.


> On average a terrorist would be smarter than the average person

Because the stupid ones get killed/thrown into jail


> they can deeply understand an ideology

Looking at what motivated most of the Capitol insurrectionists does not support this claim. They are seemingly unable to distinguish reality from obvious propaganda or wild conspiracy theories.


>people protesting >terrorists

Pick one


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