To the Editor:
What price would you pay to defend democracy where you work? Brian Sicknick, 42 year-old Capitol Hill police officer, gave his life to defend a sacred symbol of democracy, the U.S. Capitol building and those inside on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
When the pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol building, he was beaten severely on the head with a fire extinguisher, dying the next day. The flag was lowered to half-staff on Jan. 10 to honor Brian and four other lost lives.
It didn’t matter that Brian was pro-Trump himself, the unencumbered barrage of rioters who broke into the Capitol were too great a scourge for the shorthanded Capitol police to thwart.
Impeachment papers have been drawn up declaring Incitement of Insurrection by President Trump for falsely claiming voter fraud ever since and before the Nov. 3 election that the vote was stolen from him and his people. He spoke to a rally of supporters just before the deadly onslaught at the Capitol. He unsuccessfully urged Vice President Mike Pence not to certify Joe Biden’s victory and rallied his followers to stop the counting of certain states’ Electoral College votes in order to overturn the election in his favor. Just before launching the highly agitated crowd toward the Capitol, Trump said, “You will never take back our country with weakness.”
The mob took out their rage on everyone who they felt stood in the way of Trump’s presidency for another four years – on the Capitol police, looking for and chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” ransacking and looting offices of Pelosi, Schumer and Clyburn – anything they could to seek revenge. Fortunately, representatives and senators in the joint session of Congress to certify states’ votes found safety before the mob could find them.
It was terrifying to watch. I can’t imagine what it was like for those experiencing it firsthand. This is not America and yet it is. There is a saying about white privilege that we observed for several hours on our TVs that day: “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” It’s going to be a long, hard road, requiring lots of prayer, to get us to any reconciliation. I hope and pray we can do it.