I spent the entirety of Tuesday morning watching the 1/6 investigation to write about it on here later that day. As you can see, I didn’t post on Tuesday. Nor did I post on Wednesday. Or even Thursday. And the post I originally planned on posting is not going to be what I’m posting today. I didn’t understand the gravity of what I would be witnessing before I watched what the police officers had to say. I had no idea how traumatizing the stories and video would be. And I simply cannot bring myself to write what happened that day using their words or my own. I can only speak of my own pain and point you to various videos so that you may learn more about that day on your own.
The officers, US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, DC Metro police officer Michael Fanone, DC Metro police officer Daniel Hodges, and US Capitol police officer Harry Dunn, each shared petrifying incidents of that day in great detail. Their words have been on repeat in my head ever since; the videos have replayed over and over. It’s as if there’s a tape player in my head over which I have no control that has taken over both my waking moments and my dreams. One of Michael Fanone’s statements, in particular, replays constantly.
But let’s back up.
We started with opening comments, some by Liz Cheney (R-WY), which were incredible. She ensured that the commission would work together in a bipartisan manner, but would discover the truth — no matter what.
This is where I planned on writing out the stories of the men that day. I planned to quote them, and show the body cam footage. Unfortunately, hearing the events of that day traumatized me so much that I’m unable to do so.
I presumed I knew how awful 1/6 was. It was an act of domestic terrorism, so of course it was horrifying. People got hurt and died. We all saw the pictures and videos. We saw the gallows outside. We knew they were there to kill people — particularly Pence and Pelosi, and absolutely would have if not for the police officers.
However, I didn’t fully grasp the pure terror the officers felt that day. Their stories were overpowering. Their body cams rendered me speechless except for my emotional cries. I won’t allow anybody to deny the depravity of this day in my presence anymore. I won’t just be silent to evade an argument. Not out of anger towards that person, but out of admiration, respect, and recognition of the officers who did everything they could to defend and protect our democracy that afternoon. No — for the officers who saved our democracy that afternoon.
People can no longer say it was a typical tour visit or a love fest. I think it’s clear to everybody with open eyes now that the only two handy words are domestic terrorism. There are no more advantageous justifications available. January 6 was an attack on our country, funded by Trump’s campaign funds (and likely more), well-organized with brochures including the march to the Capitol, and with anger incited by media icons, elected officials, and the President of the United States himself. How did this happen? How did we let it get so far? Why weren’t we able to stop him? How did we just keep letting him do this? How did any of this happen in the United States of America?
And what are we going to do about it? How are we going to protect our democracy?
One might question if it genuinely was domestic terrorism. Officer Hodges answered this question for us all.
I am not the only person that became emotional after hearing the testimony of the four police officers. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) held back tears as he spoke to the men.
One important thing to note is that all of them blame Trump for inciting the crowd.
In order to get justice for January 6, we cannot just charge the ones inside the Capitol — we need to charge the ones who incited it. In order to get justice for that day, we need to see the ones who provoked it put in handcuffs.
What upsets me the most is that I know is that we are in 1930 Germany now. However, we never have to end up in 1993 Germany — not if we don’t allow ourselves to get there. We need to go wherever the investigation takes us. No matter how ugly it gets. We can stop this from ever happening again.
I struggled so much while watching the testimonies that a friend told me that I should put my mental health before writing this blog. So I did. I can’t give you complete and accurate descriptions of what was said in order to protect my mental health; therefore, I will direct you to two Twitter threads. The first has multiple videos of the 1/6 investigation. The second is a woman’s live tweet of the investigation.
Finally, I will leave you with a full video of the testimonies of that day. Just be prepared that the stories you will hear are heartwrenching and disturbing beyond all belief. I recommend you watch it — I viewed the entire thing myself — but it was not an easy watch. However, this is imperative to understanding January 6, and it will go down in history. And it’s essential we know the stories of the men who saved our democracy that day, no matter how depressing it is to hear them.
I will no longer allow anybody to deny that day in front of me just for the sake of dodging a dispute. Neither should you. This was domestic terrorism, and the investigation makes that even more clear.
“There are times when you must speak, not because you are going to change the other person — but because if you don’t speak, they have changed you.”