Americans are told that the right-wing demonstration and riot on 6 Jan 2021 was an insurrection. Was it?
Merriam-Webster defines an insurrection as “a usually violent attempt to take control of a government.” US Legal defines it as follows:
“Insurrection refers to an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government. It is a violent revolt against an oppressive authority. Insurrection is different from riots and offenses connected with mob violence. In insurrection there is an organized and armed uprising against authority or operations of government whereas riots and offenses connected with mob violence are simply unlawful acts in disturbance of the peace which do not threaten the stability of the government or the existence of political society.
The following is a case law defining Insurrection:
Insurrection means ‘a violent uprising by a group or movement acting for the specific purpose of overthrowing the constituted government and seizing its powers. An insurrection occurs where a movement acts to overthrow the constituted government and to take possession of its inherent powers.’ [Younis Bros. & Co. v. Cigna Worldwide Ins. Co., 899 F. Supp. 1385, 1392-1393 (E.D. Pa. 1995)] ”
On January 6, 2021, a large crowd assembled on the US Capitol grounds to protest the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. A sub-group of several hundred people claiming to be in support of the sitting President, Donald Trump, during the Joint Session of Congress tasked with certifying election results, broke into the US Capitol, carried away some items, did some damage but did not set anything aflame, and struggled with Capitol Police. One unarmed protestor, an Air Force veteran, was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer. One protestor died of a drug overdose, two protestors and one officer died of natural causes, and four involved officers killed themselves within the ensuing seven months. 138 police officers sustained minor injuries in fights with protestors. None of the protestors carried guns.
One protestor, who came into the Capitol with his mother, was photographed carrying zip ties. The media said that he planned to use them to restrain lawmakers, which proved that the attack was premeditated. Actually, the zip ties were left by the police. There is no evidence that weapons that were found before or after the Capitol entry were ever intended to be used in the Capitol. The building was damaged, but much of it was scattered trash. Another protestor came in wearing bull horns with red, white, and blue face paint, and holding an American flag. It appears that a few protestors yelled “Hang Mike Pence.” The event lasted three hours. No media outlets, communications centers, military bases, key economic institutions, or other significant infrastructure were touched. No military formations or military weapons were involved.
The media has told Americans that these events were an insurrection aimed at the overthrow of the US government. Talking heads compared it to 9-11, in which almost 3,000 Americans died, and the Civil War, in which over 600,000 Americans died. Others say that it was worse than the Black Lives Matter Riots of 2020, in which thousands of police were injured, cars and structures were set aflame and broken into, and some died. Damages totaled over $2 billion..
Consider other events that have been considered insurrections in history:
- The Taliban’s take over of Afghanistan on 15 August 2021. Taliban rebels killed thousands in the weeks leading up to their final success, and many more before.
- The German Plot against Hitler. On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg used a bomb to try to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Simultaneously, army coconspirators captured key points in Berlin. Communication lines were cut. The plan was to seize media outlets, broadcast Hitler’s death to the world, and proclaim a new government. But Hitler survived and the plan was aborted. German police arrested 7,000 and executed 5,000.
- The American Revolution (1776-1783)
- The French Revolution (1789-1799)
- The Haitian Slave Rebellion (1791-1804)
- The Chinese Revolution (1911)
- The Russian Revolution (1917)
The Capitol break-in on 6 Jan 2021 was ill-advised and regrettable. It has shown Republicans and conservatives in a bad light. However, the incident on 6 January 2021, although tragic, was a protest that devolved into a riot. By contrast, the seven events listed above were real insurrections.
The left wants to exaggerate that day to minimize their bona fide assault on America, her institutions, and her people. Few on the left are likely to admit their irresponsible hyperbole. Hopefully those interested in a historical perspective will learn the truth. America is not nearly as close to totalitarian domination, right or left, as histrionics fear we are.