A Contrast of Colors –  A Capitol Offense

Kenny Johnson

There it was in living color!

An organized, violent attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in broad daylight, as millions of Americans watched in horror on their televisions, computers and cell phones.

On January 6th of this new year, a joint meeting of Congress was taking place to confirm Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election held on November 3, 2020. As these lawmakers were carrying out this important work inside, outside there was an angry mob, which was incited by President Trump’s claims of a “rigged election” and his literally encouraging his supporters to go to the Capitol building.

While witnessing protestors climbing walls, breaking windows, and pushing steel barriers, something else was going on that you could not help but notice.

Despite the siege being planned and announced, where was the strong law enforcement presence?

Where was the riot gear and tear gas that was so prevalent during the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests? We did not see individuals being shoved to the ground and shot with rubber bullets!  The protestors at the Capitol building were also going inside the building! They were entering offices and stealing items! All the while gleefully documenting these actions on their own cellphones!

It was quite interesting to see that these protestors knew they were being filmed yet had absolutely no fear of being identified and punished. Reminiscent of the folks you see smiling for the camera in black and white lynching photos from the American South.

The same president who called Black Lives Matter protesters “thugs” and stated “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” released a video gently requesting protestors to ‘go home’ after assuring them that they are “very special” and that he “loves” them!

It is also quite telling that this obvious inequality in our justice system was on full display mere days after Kenosha county District Attorney Michael Gravely announced that there would be no charges against the officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times; weeks after the same decision was given by D.A. Daniel Cameron for the reckless killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky; and after the U.S. Justice Department decided not to file federal charges against the officer who killed young Tamir Rice.

As we begin a new year, we see many things did not change with the calendar. As we celebrate the Martin Luther King Holiday it is clear that his dream of an equal society remains elusive.

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