What I Saw on January 6th in Washington, DC
The morning began with a hearty breakfast at a Crystal City diner. I don’t typically eat before noon, but my friend and I knew it was going to be a long day on our feet. At about 9:15am we Uber-ed straight from the diner to the Washington Monument and began looking for a decent place to observe the proceedings. Already by 9:35 there was no real chance of making it anywhere close to the stage, near The Ellipse, though we tried. The crowd was already immense, and we were at first caught in a crush of humanity so dense that we could barely move in any direction. We retreated back to the Washington Monument lawn.
There was a satellite viewing screen and remote loudspeakers, but we were two football fields’ length away from the screen. We took up position and waited. The crowd continued to grow until — in every direction, as far as the eye could see — was a solid teeming mass of humanity. Tens-of-thousands waved flags, banners, signs, and placards. Trump flags predominated, but every other patriotic symbol, including myriad versions of the Stars and Stripes, were also on display. Hundreds of Gadsden flags, pro-2nd Amendment flags, and every manner of ethnic and nationality pro-Trump signs and banners. Of the last, the far most common were Chinese-Americans who wielded signs that both supported Trump and condemned the CCP. (Hmmm. What do these people know?) Just in my eyeshot, alone, they numbered in the hundreds.
Yes, I saw two Confederate flags amongst the thousands of others. Which have I seen most often in MSM coverage since Wednesday? (One guess.) I even heard an NPR lead story line in which the anchor said the Capitol had been assaulted by “white supremacists” waving all manner of “racist flags and signs.”
Way to go, NPR. True to form, focusing on the smallest minority of fringe wing-nuts, they never seem to notice all the communist flags and hammer & sickle imagery flaunted at BLM marches or Antifa riots.
First impressions of the preparedness of this event were not good, the most obvious being the lack of portable restroom facilities. I know a bit about outdoor event planning, and knew this was going to be a big problem. Additionally, the audio-visual preparation was less than third-rate. The audio pregame and interlude music — as well as the voices of the early speakers — were going in and out, with volume levels oscillating wildly. There was no electronic time delay between distant PA locations to compensate for the sound travel speeds, so it was often just a jumbled, unintelligible cacophony. Another of my friends later described the entire production of the event as having been put together by the “Z team.”
Still, I’ve never witnessed anything like the size of the crowd. I’ve heard estimates ranging from 600,000 to 1.5 million. I’ll go with something closer to the lower number, but really . . . who can know? It was nonetheless breathtaking, and I couldn’t stop taking it all in and videoing 360-degree panoramas of the scene.
It was windy and cold, but not bitter. The wind whipping an endless sea of flags added to the spectacle. The early speeches from the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Don Jr. were less than awe-inspiring and did nothing to warm-up the crowd. Then, President Trump’s appearance was an hour late, so we stood around listening to many of the same songs over and over again, badly jumbled by the poor audio. (Who in the hell showed up with a playlist of so few songs?)
Shivering, and legs stiffening from not being able to move around, we had time for some analytical conversation — my friend being a widely-published political writer. My first question to him during the long wait for Trump to take the stage was, “Are we looking at the power of the Trump Cult or a sea of disaffected patriots seeking an answer to their frustrations with our government?” He simply answered, “A little of both.”
At another point I mused, “You know, this rally is on a Wednesday morning. Conservatives actually tend to go to work on weekdays, but 100s-of-thousands of people have traveled from all over the country to be here. Do you think a significant percentage of these folks are currently unemployed because of COVID?” He shrugged.
Maybe they all believed Trump would this day finally unveil “The Kraken.” That long hoped-for piece of evidence that was going to eradicate the phrase, “President-elect Joe Biden” from the media’s vocabulary. It wasn’t to be. No Kraken ever emerged from the depths of the Deep State. Still, he’d tweeted this meet-up was going to be “wild,” so, there we were.
Trump finally took the stage at 11:57 but, from our vantage point, everything he had to say was garbled by the overlapping audio coming from unequally distant PA placements and the continuous volume dropouts. From what we could make out, it was not his finest speech or presentation. From a show business perspective, he did not rise anywhere to the occasion offered him by such a throng. A crowd size surely unprecedented for any non-inaugural presidential address in history.
We were bored, cold, and needed to get our blood flowing, so we decided to make a move toward the Capitol building long before the President’s ramble concluded. Winding and bumping our way through the sea of people, we finally emerged onto the boulevard with the Capitol directly in our sights and made a quick pace of the long walk. We weren’t alone. Tens-of-thousands had the same idea and were headed in the same direction. At one intersection I counted seven streets full of people marching toward Capitol Hill. I’ll confess to being truly inspired at the sight of so many patriots about to make what would surely be a powerful visual statement to the oath-breaking criminals who – at that very moment – were debating the certification of the Electoral votes. Not that it would ultimately matter to any of them, but damn . . . this might at least give them something to think about if they looked out their windows and saw so many flag-bearing patriots marching in their direction.
My backpack was beginning to weigh rather heavy on my shoulders, loaded as it was with my camera tripod, microphone, cables, computer, and several bottles of water. (The water remained untouched once I’d assessed the woeful lack of porta-potties.) I brought all this with me in hopes of accomplishing my true intent of this trip, that being to record and document as much as possible, and maybe even get a few interviews from rally participants, or from any VIP upon whom I might chance.
It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my writings these past years, that my early #NeverTrump stance evolved into an ambivalent, issue-by-issue #GoodTrump or #BadTrump, as deserved. My recent endorsement of his 2020 run came for two reasons:
First – the Bolshevik Democratic Party machine is now a fully-realized, openly neo-Marxist organization, and they must be stopped. Also, no other 3rd party had a chance in hell.
Second – the wishful thinking that Trump — for all his faults, (and maybe because of them), would finally be exposing and bringing down the Deep State.
Timelines are important at this point. I took one video of the Capitol building about two-thirds of the way from the Washington Monument. This was 1:10 p.m., which meant Trump’s 70-minute speech was nearly over, but 10s-of-thousands of people were already at the Capitol, and more were on the move. As we arrived at the reflection pool, it was obvious something serious was already happening. We saw the fluorescent-sleeved jackets of Capitol Police officers racing down steps toward the first upper tier above street level. I looked at my friend and told him we needed to see what was going on — there — so we hurried our way to the stairs which I believe are on the House Chamber side of the building.
At 1:19 p.m. I captured my first video of the melee, already fully underway, which was of a man and woman receiving “first-aid” for the pepper spray in their eyes. Both were on their knees with other individuals pouring water on their faces and eyes. Both in agony. This was my first such riot ever to see in person. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the spectacle and certainly missed a lot of detail while taking in the bigger picture. One detail I didn’t miss was how many of the “protestors” were wearing gas masks. I saw it, and even commented on that to my friend, but wasn’t nearly ready to begin processing the ramifications of that reality as the violent action was unfolding in front of my eyes.
Capitol Police, some in riot gear, but many with no special protections at all, were already tightly lined up and defending the next level of the building access with only ‘bike rack’ fencing between them and that portion of the mob attempting to break through. The police were using only non-lethal riot control measures that we’ve seen far too much of post-George Floyd. Individual agitators would rush up and try to pull down a section of bike rack, get pepper-sprayed and retreat. Sometimes they would go in waves and try to push police back. Sometime the streams of pepper spray were coming from the mob, directed at the police line. Many police officers were themselves having to retreat from the line to receive aid, of some form or another, as a result of the mob attacks.
Pepper spray seemed the best deterrent for most trying to cross the barrier, but flash bangs and gas grenades were also in use. It was so windy that gas had little effect, but if you were innocently downwind from one of those pepper streams you were likely to get an unwanted dose. My friend and I tried to keep up with each other, but it was the pepper spray that permanently separated us for the remainder of the day. He’d taken eight or nine leeward doses and decided to take up an observation post on the windward side of the action. I personally took only one indirect hit — a splatter off the actual intended target, to whom I was much too close — and that was enough for me. The rest of my time was spent operating the camera while keeping both eyes darting back-n-forth between those officers operating the spray guns.
Unlike myself, many of those present obviously came prepared for such a confrontation. From protective eye goggles to full gas masks. Tactical helmets to protective vests. Some even wearing full body armor. In fact, after pouring over the video footage and seeing dozens of people in body armor, helmets, and gas masks, my mind woke to the reality — beyond any shadow of a doubt — that Trump didn’t incite this violence when he encouraged rally supporters to “walk down to the Capitol” after his speech. This assault was planned well in advance. The frontline attackers didn’t even hear his speech. How could they? You’d have to accept the proposition that after hearing Trump tell them to move to the Capitol, they suddenly ran home through almost a million people, geared up, and got back to the Capitol before Trump even finished his rambling 70-minute talk? I’d left the rally long before the speech concluded, and when I arrived on scene, the scrum line was already fully engaged. I’ve seen video reports that “protestors” were arriving at the Capitol building as early as 8:00 a.m., and that the outer barricades were breached as early as 9:30.
(“Breached,” or “opened” by Capitol Police, themselves, is for another discussion.)
I’ve spent many sleepless hours combing through all my videos. I am fully prepared to tell you that my original “eyewitness” assessment was tainted by my virgin riot observer’s adrenaline-of-the-moment. The crowd gathered on the level where the violent attacks were taking place was overwhelmingly, 90-95%, flag-waiving Trump supporters, but the hyper-violent, small minority were all-too-apparently prepared for exactly the type of non-lethal agitation we’ve witnessed in dozens of American cities during much of the latter part of 2020. Pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades . . . no problem. Even more telling were the fully-armored professional “press” photographers — using very expensive gear — also already on the scene before Trump’s speech was over. Some even had official-looking press “credentials.” Point being, they were ALREADY THERE and geared-up well in advance of Trump’s alleged marching orders.
Am I prepared to assign blame to any one political faction for what I’ve witnessed up close and personal? Absolutely not. I am willing to wager there were at least three types of agitators present. Two of which harbored premeditated intentions.
There is no doubt in my mind that both extreme leftist and right wing instigators were on the front line of this event. Michael Yon, America’s most experienced war correspondent describes them as “Agent Provocateurs.” (AP) He describes such a scene, thusly:
“Those who control the megaphones can cleave off some portion of any crowd and direct it to do work. Old tactic. Anyone can learn AP tactics and run a crowd. Basic carnival work. ‘Step right up! You there! Come here!’ Take social media, as example. The APs are the owners.”
I’ll go with the pro on that one. It was exactly what I was seeing.
What the AP knows — and the less experienced don’t — is once they get the battle started, emotions, passions, and adrenaline begin heating up inside many of those protestors who never had any intention of participating, and certainly didn’t arrive prepared for violence. Hell, the vast majority of those close to the action hadn’t even imagined such a thing was going to take place when they boarded a charter bus from Bumfudge, Iowa in hopes Trump was going to work electoral magic in the nation’s capital on January 6th. But, engage in the battle scrum is exactly what many of those formerly “peaceful protestors” absolutely did.
We saw this when the mob actions of the Minneapolis riots began to domino across the country. The difference being, they’re not releasing pent-up anger over “systemic racism,” but against the systemic malfeasance that’s been emanating from that very building where they now found themselves in the middle of a street brawl. Suddenly, those Capitol Police were the objects upon which to take out the frustration of progressively having their liberties taken away, while trillions of their dollars were also taken and misused. Wasted on foreign aid, foreign wars, $800 toilet seats, and on the enrichment of the occupants of that building, who were at that very moment certifying an election which 99% of those assembled fully believed had been stolen from them. Add to that the loss of income from untold numbers in that crowd due to COVID-19 lockdowns, followed by the inability of Congresspersons — who’d never lost their paychecks during these lockdowns — to provide a genuine relief package in which 75% of the spending was going to non-COVID, foreign, special interest payoffs.
How about the near evisceration of the 1st Amendment in the last year? They can’t go to work, can’t go to church, can’t assemble together in any other meaningful format, and the very act of asking questions about election integrity, or offering opposing data on all things related to COVID lockdowns is now a reason to have our speech utterly revoked by Big Tech . . . while Congress does NOTHING with regards to Section 230?
Yep. That can create some pent up anger.
Certainly, some folks might have come itching for a fight, but the notion of this riotous crush to enter the Capitol building somehow being a “coup d’état” or “insurrection” or “sedition” or “domestic terrorism” against the government of the United States is the height of laughable absurdity. First of all, the only persons possessing deadly weapons — even real “weapons of war” — were the Capitol Police and the various other law enforcement groups that arrived to assist. As of this writing, only one arrested member of the “coup” was found to have a concealed handgun, and with only 25 rounds of ammunition. (There are media claims of gun caches stashed around the Capitol, but no such evidence has yet been presented.) Another arrested was found to have a couple of weapons back in his automobile, many blocks away. The idea of a coup d’état, with no firearms, to overthrow the most powerful government in the world, in a building protected by snipers patrolling the rooftop and scores of other armed police on site . . . not to mention thousands of military troops within minutes of said building . . . come on. Really?
Still, the vast majority of the gathered crowd stayed far back from the fighting and taunting. They just waved flags and joined in chants of “USA, USA, USA,” or, “Whose house, OUR house!” They even sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at one point.
There was no rocket’s red glare, but there were plenty of flash bangs and smoke to stir the patriotic emotions, I suppose.
More and more of the rally attendees became too curious to stay away from the action and joined the crowd on the upper level. I could see obvious signs of what might otherwise clearly be Antifa and Black Bloc pros, (if not for the Trump logos), geared up, and slyly acknowledging each other before making their next moves. By contrast, I watched a MAGA hat wearer bend down and retrieve a pipe — which could be used as a weapon — and hand it to one of the growing number of police on the bike rack line, rendering it inaccessible to the mob. There are teenagers and 70-year olds pressing forward and being repelled by pepper spray. One lady is wearing a full-body American flag/Trump jumpsuit, with what looks like a laboratory-grade or hazmat crew face mask. It makes no sense to my mind, at all. Except that there is a handbook for this type of deception, and the concept of “false flag” has never been more literally on display than this day.
Reinforcements have arrived, and the police line is now two and three layers deep, all the way across. It’s 1:33 p.m., and that level of the Capitol exterior is crushingly packed with people. At that time I’m beginning to notice action on the other side of the platform that would soon most occupy my interest. The more creative element of the insurgents and APs were taking position inside the scaffolding structure and trying to make their way around the police line. The scaffolding and the canvassing around it provided better protection from the pepper spray and less ability of the police force to prevent forward progress. Eventually, this strategy and area of attack became the focal point of the more experienced rioters, and they were encouraging the easily-recruited to join them in their endeavors, vigorously waving to the crowd for additional bodies to help with the ascent up through the bleacher scaffolding. At 1:49 p.m. much more heavily riot-gear suited police began to arrive, while at the same time other police began running up two more levels — in the direction where, ostensibly, those working their way through the scaffolding might have emerged on the top side.
At this point I work my way over to a position directly under the scaffolding where the canvass had been ripped away, and from which I could see a swarm of bodies attempting to push and climb their way up through a maze of support piping. Others hung from the exterior, waving and encouraging more people to join them. Meanwhile, there are moments of absolute chaos behind the police line as they try to figure out from which direction the next surge is coming, and are constantly having to retreat and treat their own from chemical agents and dangerous objects being hurled in their direction.
Way up above, the snipers just watch from the edge of the roof, chatting amongst themselves. Surreal.
Many times I see and hear older protestors — mostly military veterans — come up to the police line to engage in civil pep talks with individual officers about their constitutional duties and oaths. This happens quite often.
More police arrive, with more forceful countermeasures. At 1:53, the Qanon Shaman — or, “Viking dude” — who has popped up in my camera lens at various locations since I arrived, has now made his way up to the scaffolding ascent entrance. By 2:00, the scaffolding is totally packed with people pressing forward and upward. Many climbing, but for the first time I can now see what appears to be a staircase under the canvassed framework. One video frame reveals several individuals with full tactical gear and a variety of militia patches making their way up that staircase.
Yes, I said “militia.”
Slowing the video down to one frame at a time reveals an unbelievable amount of data, but then requires many questions to be asked. Yes, you can see raised fists by some adorned in all black, but you also see the “OK” symbol being waved by some in camouflaged tactical gear. Two disparate groups, (Antifa, and Trump supporting militia), working together, or both just looking for a fight in the most obvious place du jour? While the Proud Boys might seek out Antifa, (and vice versa), on Main St. USA, here on Capitol Hill, they appear to have similar objectives. Or, do they? Maybe one simply revels in anarchic chaos, while the other thinks they are on a mission from god?
Either way, those snipers could end this whole thing by taking out a couple of the AP carnival barkers . . . from either, or both teams. The attempted ascent up Capitol Hill would surely come to an end, but a hundred people might die in the ensuing stampede to get off the building.
At 2:03 a loudspeaker begins to roll a dystopian prerecorded message warning that anyone remaining in the area was now subject to arrest, and that “riot control agents and impact weapons” were going to be employed. The number of flash grenades launched into the crowd began increasing, and serious heavies from the Metropolitan Police arrived and began taking the fight to the middle of the crowd. This was now the heaviest sequence of violence of the day. People were getting hurt.
Then . . . inexplicably . . . at 2:15 p.m., the staircase under the scaffolding became a free flowing mass of human beings moving upwards, unimpeded. The violence on my level stopped, and everyone began moving toward the stairs. I decided to join in the flow.
At 2:17 p.m. I emerged on the next upper terrace, outside — which is the main floor level of the Capital Building itself. People are coming up by the scores, (and then by the hundreds), exuberant at the sight of 10s-of-thousands of protestors on the streets below. People were cheering, smiling, taking selfies, waving flags . . . and the police are now standing off to the side, no longer interfering with the crowd’s passage through an open door directly into the Capitol Building. Armed police officers are idly chatting amongst themselves, completely ignoring the crowd, having obviously been given orders to “stand down.”
Again, totally surreal. It’s like a switch was thrown between the lower and upper levels. Chaos and anger below, and celebration above.
Why? What was going on? In another published video, (not of my own), there is a door that is seen to be opened by police officers themselves, with a line-up of more than 20 Capital Police standing off to the side, offering no resistance to the incoming crowd. One of the protestors is heard saying, “They’re going to lock us in!” Not an unwarranted suspicion in such a surreal moment.
Why did they let them in?
Make no mistake: The building which represents the seat of power to the most powerful country in the world was now being occupied by an UNARMED group of mostly passive and curious participants, who’d only been witnesses to a scene that was played out before them by a very small group of both leftist and right wing militant forces, (also unarmed), against an ever-growing police presence that had the weaponry to stop that entire charade in a matter of seconds.
Charade. Theater. Things are not as they seem. And things are not remotely close to the narrative being cast by the mainstream media since late Wednesday afternoon . . . and I have the video to prove it.
Or, maybe they simply didn’t want to kill anyone? Looking out the windows and seeing 10s-of-thousands of people who might be . . . MIGHT BE willing to join the scrum . . . and it was just best to throw the doors open and let the common folks revel in a measure of victory and enjoy a free selfie tour through the Capitol?
I live by a handful of axioms. The first, and most important is:
“There’s the world we want vs. the world in which we actually live.” That one, alone, guides my pragmatism.
Then, there’s this:
“If the New York Times, CNN, NPR, et al, don’t cover it, then it never happened.” Also, if that cabal decides to create something out of thin air, then is becomes some version of Orwellian truth, and quintessentially, “fake news.”
I now have a new axiom:
“The only thing you can trust right now is what you see with your own eyes. But, even then, go back and review the video.”
At this point, at least a hundred people begin filing up a long wheelchair ramp that leads to the now open door into the Capitol building. I see a couple of young professionals wearing neck ties, dress overcoats, and red MAGA hats. They are followed by two guys who look like they’re going deer hunting, with camo Trump hats and flags. Coming from somewhere I hear, “I don’t like it. I don’t like it.” I take my place in the line of smiling faces which are calmly headed up the ramp. Loud chants of “OUR HOUSE . . . OUR HOUSE” can be heard coming from those already inside the building.
When I reach the door — which swings open toward the outside — I notice both panes of glass are shattered, but not broken open. There were no holes through which to reach in and unlock the door. Someone had to have opened that door from the inside. In one still video frame I can see the entire upper half of the door’s outer edge, and there are no pry marks. As I pass through the doorway, I’m in the middle of a large group of reveling Trump supporters, none of whom had the marks of battle from down below. Yet, someone had already been up here moments before and shattered those glass panes. And, someone else had opened the door from the inside to let everyone in.
Just as I enter, two “militia”-looking guys in tactical gear are watching people enter from the left. On my right, is a guy in black tactical gear. (I only caught this on frame-by-frame review of the video.) I take a right into the crowded hallway of Trump supporters, chanting, “USA, USA, USA,” and, (back to frame-by-frame), a tall, long-bearded man in olive green clothing and toboggan, with no Trump labels, is moving against the flow of traffic carrying a long, hardwood stick with grip tape on one end. This is no flag pole. This is for breaking stuff or breaking heads. (I recognize him from one of the FBI photos.)
“Stop the Steal,” “Our House,” and “USA” chants continue, people are hugging each other, and hundreds of cell phone cameras are variously capturing the celebrations or the majesty of the building. As I enter one of the statuaries, certain characters are making sure their face and eyes remain fully covered, and at the very entrance of the larger room one of the carnival barkers from the scaffolding is waving people into the room while joining in the “Our House” chant. There’s no reason for him to be doing this — as the celebrants are willfully on the move — but it must be his assigned job. Additionally, on multiple occasions, those in full tactical gear with faces and eyes still obscured — though now indoors — can be seen. Even, young women.
More than a hundred people are packed into this one room, but . . . No police presence, whatsoever. More chants and celebrations. (Stop the tape!) Frame-by-frame I see four very serious men in a huddle. One, in a green tactical helmet has his head on a swivel and is looking back and forth, while an older, very serious man is wagging his finger in the face of someone wearing a black helmet as a fourth man with face and eyes covered looks on. With each passing frame it is obvious the black helmet is getting a good rebuke . . . from his commander? Eventually, the black helmet lowers and turns in my camera’s direction. It is the body language of someone having just been chewed out by a superior. It’s a young, fresh-faced, 20-something. None of these four were wearing Trump logos.
At 2:31 p.m. I entered the Capitol Rotunda. By this time the initial surge of bodies was spreading throughout the building, so it was a much thinner group in the larger hall. It looked like a normal day of tourism in the building. People were calmly milling about, taking photos and videos as on any other day, save the jubilant shouting of “This is our House!” No violence. No looting. No damage.
At 2:34 p.m., I came upon the entrance to The Speaker of The House chambers. Nancy Pelosi’s office. No one is entering that particular office hallway, but a crush of dozens were exiting. I made an attempt to go against the oddly singular flow of traffic, but there were too many bodies in too tight a hallway for me to get through. (Stop the tape!) In the next frame-by-frame examination, I see three very interesting persons emerge from the next office doorway forward and to my left. One was a 50-something gentleman wearing drab green, leading two military-garbed men in full face-covering gas masks and black helmets. There is no gas in this area. There is another group of suspiciously-attired individuals moving into the hallway from other rooms. Everyone is leaving the House Speaker’s chambers, and I am still the only person going against the flow. (I will be offering a subsequent, frame-by-frame analysis of this encounter in a follow-up to this report.)
At this point, I came upon the first open door of someone’s office and saw overturned chairs and table, a bookshelf that had been rifled through, and papers scattered about. This was the first damage and or looting that I encountered. I immediately decided it best not to proceed further and turned back toward the chamber’s entrance. As I exited, a handful of protestors were breaking into pieces a wooden sign with Nancy Pelosi’s name and keeping pieces for souvenirs. The first overt destruction of Capitol property I’ve witnessed.
I’m now back into a growing, larger press of bodies moving their way through Statuary Hall and then toward the House Chamber, where the election debates had been taking place. Most are staying within the rope line as they calmly move through the hall. No-one wreaking any kind of havoc or damage. Emerging into the hallway that leads to the House Chamber door, protestors are chanting, “Stop the Steal! Stop the Steal!” Of the roughly 100+ people pressing toward the Chamber door, they are 95% Trump supporters, still carrying flags, banners, and signs, with only the occasional more shady-looking characters with faces fully obscured and not participating in the chant. They are intent on the Chamber’s occupants hearing their protests. I maneuver to the side of the wide hallway where I can get away from the crush. People are now banging and pressing against the Chamber door.
I shut my camera off while I climb up on a bench to get better vantage, but then all hell breaks loose. Shouts of “TEAR GAS” are heard and the crowd reverses direction, now running back the other way. With camera off, I miss the opportunity of capturing this episode. At 2:46 p.m. I start recording again, but by this time only a few stragglers remain in this hall and near the Chamber door. The dissipating tear gas is clearly seen, still obscuring the Chamber door, and I begin moving in that direction, into the gas.
It was this very moment when a particular photo was captured and used in a MarketWatch story, where I can be seen, from behind, walking into the gas cloud. My backpack, camera tripod, black jacket and jeans, red Yorktown ball cap and long hair are all that can be seen. Not my face, as I’m walking away. One of the men in that photo is in the FBI search list. My back is visible even in their photo line-up.
I pause for a moment, waiting for the gas to dissipate further, then begin moving toward the chamber door. I can now see that quite a few people are still gathered at the Chamber door. Tactical-geared militia, some Trump supporters, a few shady-looking guys, and three Capitol Police are in the area. The police are not engaging with the protestors at all, chatting with each other, then they turn and walk away from those remaining bunched up at the House Chamber door. Odd. Something else now has their attention. There’s a definitive mood change. As the tear gas dissipates, celebration turns to tension. I follow the police officers, and we pass a camouflaged man with a fire extinguisher at his feet. (Hmmm.) He seems to be struggling from the tear gas. One of the three officers breaks away to assist him. I keep walking.
Right at the doorway of The House Ways and Means Committee room, police officers are gathering, and several protestors are hurriedly retreating. (2:46 p.m.) I encounter the first officer to be carrying an automatic rifle. Some protesters are blocking a doorway into a large staircase area. I push past them and see several police with handguns drawn. You can cut the tension with a knife. They are now holding protestors back, using their drawn weapons for emphasis. Through the passageway on the other side of the stairway lobby, I can see protestors lying prostate on the floor. At least five officers have their weapons drawn. One protestor on my side tries to enter the area and is aggressively ordered back. (Everything has changed.)
One policeman is panting furiously. I’m concerned. I ask him if he’s going to use that gun on us. He responds, “If one of you have a gun . . .” I interrupt him and say “None of us has a gun. We have cameras.”
He nods, and calms down. He then says, “I’m trying to explain what’s going on. It’s not us. We’ve got reports of shots fired.” I can now see ATF police in full tactical gear in the stairway lobby. It’s complete turmoil, and police radio chatter is loud and confused, all receiving different signals and commands from their various agencies. “The third floor, the third floor. We need you on the third floor,” blares across one radio as a Capitol cop races up the stairs. Just then, an ATF agent raises his rifle and I see a lone protestor carrying an American flag descending the stairs. They give him a quick pat-down, and send him out of the area.
This group of Capitol police officers are clearly harried. I recognize a couple of them from outside, on the scrum line I’d covered earlier. Some are covered in white powder. One is using a face mask to try and clear his eyes. They’ve already been through the ringer. One is particularly nervous, gun held tightly to his torso in the ready position with his eyes darting back and forth. He’s nervous, (or scared), as hell. He’s the only one I’m worried about. The rest seem in control of their emotions at this point. I keep my gaze squarely in his direction for several moments.
A radio blasts, “We need assistance on <unintelligible> to assist with triage.” Suddenly over two dozen Capitol Police emerge from downstairs on the other side of the lobby to assist with clearing out the large number of protestors remaining in the adjacent hallway.
It’s now 2:53 p.m. I’d just overheard an elderly man ask a female officer if there was a public restroom in the area. She said she didn’t know, because this was a part of the building where she rarely worked. She pointed him downstairs. It’s now been over six hours since I’d been to a restroom, and I may not have even thought about it had I not heard that conversation, but . . . nature was suddenly calling. I turned off my camera and headed down the same staircase. My biggest regret of the day, having stopped recording.
My biggest regret of the day, is . . . I’d now stopped recording.
At the bottom of the stairs, I was alone. I was looking around for any sign of public accommodations, when suddenly a very young, short female Capitol police officer took me by my right arm and said, “Sir, can I lead you safely out of the building?”
I asked, “Do I need to be led safely out?”
“Yes, sir. Please let me lead you safely out.”
I complied, and we began walking toward an exterior door. She was shaking as she had her arm in my own. Then, she repeatedly asked me the oddest question as we walked together. “Do you feel safe.”
“Sir, do you feel safe?”
Again, “Do you feel safe.”
“I’m fine. Do you feel safe,” I asked.
“No,” she replied.
It dawned on me that she was trying to keep my eyes and attention on her, but there was a great commotion immediately to my left, and it was then that I turned my head to see — only six feet from me — a team of police working feverishly to resuscitate someone who was bleeding profusely about their head and face.
“Did he get shot?”
“Why did they shoot him?”
“He pulled a gun on us.”
He? Him? We’d both said it. She didn’t know, either. The person receiving emergency care was shirtless as they aggressively pumped the chest, but with the various hands and arms of the attending officers obscuring my view, I couldn’t see that it was actually a female.
We get to the door, and she says, “Please be safe.” I exit just as an EMT crew were racing a gurney up the walk ramp and through the same door. I now found myself outside the Capitol building, but inside a police line and barricades. No one is paying attention to me, so I position myself outside that door to capture whatever would happen next. At 2:59 p.m. I restart my camera, now aimed directly at that first floor door directly below the House of Representatives Chamber. Police officers calmly stroll past me. Even though I’m inside their barricade, none of them bother me or attempt to move me outside their bike racked perimeter. 33 seconds later, the double doors swing open. 28 more seconds pass and I see the gurney which was preceded by several heavily armed officers. I follow the cart down the ramp, videoing all the way. Not until they reach the bottom of the ramp, past three or four pillars and into unrestricted view, am I able to clearly see the bloodied face and bare breast of a woman . . . as an EMT continued pumping her chest.
In that very instant I knew she was already gone.
I decide to exit the police barricade, then follow the woman’s blood trail down the sidewalk. For some reason, none of this is affecting my emotions . . . yet. After almost 2 hours of stimulus overload — since first coming upon the riotous battle line — I’m running on automatic. I’ve even forgotten my recent need for a restroom. I’ve long since lost track of my friend, and cell signal bandwidth is almost impossible to find. At 3:03 p.m. I managed to get a text out to him:
“Shots fired. Civilian down. I saw her getting CPR. She’s not going to make it.”
At this point I’m clueless as to where to go or what specifically to look for. I just keep running video and capturing images on the other side — the east side — of the Capitol building, where protestors are still gathered in numbers much smaller than on the west side. It’s also infinitely more calm. No skirmish line. No violence. I’ve no idea what might have transpired on this side, earlier, if anything. Shortly after sending that text, mine and everyone else’s phones are getting alerts that the DC mayor has announced a citywide curfew from 6pm to 6am.
I’m going to now end the timeline narrative. I captured more video. I did an interview with WUSA9, the DC CBS affiliate station. They distilled over 30 minutes of material into about 30 seconds of chop-edited, out-of-context statements that made me sound like a radical. But, they used some of my video footage, crediting me on the 11 O’clock news, securing my status as a “citizen journalist.”
I eventually walked about a half mile from the Capitol and found a sandwich shop with a long line for two restrooms. An elderly gentlemen in front of me was in great pain. He couldn’t hold out any longer and created a large puddle of urine on the floor of the sandwich shop. He was next up. My heart broke for him in his embarrassment.
I ordered a sandwich and someone from WUSA called again. One of their anchors asked if I could do a Zoom interview. I had all my gear with me. Why not? I set up my tripod on the sidewalk, made the connection, and he began asking questions. He was very nice, appreciative of my effort to accommodate, and seemed sincerely interested in what I’d seen and had to say. The next morning he narrated two pieces using my video. One was just the video, with credits. The next was another hatchet piece. 15 minutes edited to a couple of again out-of-context sentences. His commentary was condescending and designed to make me the fool. “Self-proclaimed citizen journalist,” he scoffed. Yeah . . . well . . . I got better video than did your pros, and you even wanted more. Bastard.
Darkness has now set on the city, and I walked back to the Capitol. There’s that curfew at 6 p.m., but the rumors were that Antifa would be causing more problems. As soon as I arrived, long lines of riot troops were beginning to form and clear the entire property of remaining protestors. Fewer than a couple hundred were still there. More like a peaceful vigil at this point. Someone had set up a portable PA system and they were playing old protest songs.
“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”
There was no protesting, no demonstrations, no violence. But the assembled police forces were having no part of the vigil, and began aggressively pushing people further and further away from the building. They’d establish a perimeter, then more reinforcements would arrive, and they could extend the perimeter. Maryland police, DC City police, unidentifiable troops in full riot gear, and even the FBI. Eventually both the Army and Air Force National Guard arrived with full body length shields and night sticks. They’d push, form a new line, then push back some more — eventually well past the Capitol property itself. There were still a few bullhorns in the hands of those giving the cops and National Guard lectures on their Constitutional duties, and their right to disobey unconstitutional orders.
Some international news crews were still on location doing live reports with the troops and Capitol in the background. I heard German, Chinese, Spanish, and a couple other languages I couldn’t make out.
Antifa were long gone, and didn’t return for a late night skirmish, so about an hour after curfew I walked far enough past all the closed roads to order my Uber back to the hotel.
Despite all I saw that day, my pragmatic patriotism remains intact, no matter what conflicts I might have in my own mind during the processing of everything I experienced. There’s still “the world I want, vs. the world in which I actually live,” but it’s becoming much more difficult to keep emotions in check — yea, pragmatic — when we see the accelerated elimination of our civil rights. They eviscerated the 1st Amendment during COVID lockdowns. No gatherings, no church, no bars, no water-cooler chat at work. Then, they began to delete our posts on social media that questioned the narrative of the disease as presented by government. Yes, government leftists and Big Tech’s technocratic cartel began silencing voices with fact-checker warnings, content blocks, reach throttling, suspensions, and deplatforming.
Hypocritical mayors, governors, and other bureaucrats — by the hundreds — have been caught on video engaging in activities which they strictly forbade us to do because of COVID-19. Indoor dining, travel, family holiday celebrations, hair salon visits, and far too many others to recount.
With our own eyes we saw vote counting suspended in Georgia because of an alleged water pipe break. After all GOP poll watchers were cleared, suitcases full of ballots were retrieved from under tables and added to the tally. Now, if we but mention that which we’ve seen with our own eyes, we are being accused of instigating the violence that occurred in DC last Wednesday. They are comparing our speech to that of shouting “FIRE” in a crowed theater. Well, I’ve got news for you. If there IS fire in the theater, I’m going to scream f-ing “FIRE!”
We’re frustrated. We’re mad as hell. We’ve been pointing out the “slippery slope” more in the last ten months than in the rest of our lifetimes, combined. Now, suddenly, after the election and January 6th, the slippery slope is a greased, triple black diamond ice slope. Liberty is in free fall.
But . . . does that justify the violence on Wednesday?
The violence and property destruction was not a protected 1st amendment activity — as was often and hypocritically argued by the left during the 2020 BLM riots. Some will argue it was inspired and justified by other Founding Father quotes. A fair debate, but certainly not a valid legal argument. The rally itself, the march to Capitol Hill, the peaceful assembly by 100s-of-thousands was absolutely protected by the 1st Amendment — stolen election, or not. Yet, the MSM, politicians on both sides of the aisle, Big Tech, and now many other crony corporatists are allowing no distinction between the 99.9% of those who did nothing but wave flags, chant “USA,” and sing the National Anthem, and the less than 1/10th of one percent who engaged in varying levels of violence, destruction, and looting.
Remember the phrase “mostly peaceful protest,” after streets full of buildings had been burned and looted. Okay . . . I’ll both concede the math and the accurate use of the word, “mostly.” I do believe that most of the BLM protestors did not participate in criminal behavior. That said, not a single one of those post-George Floyd “mostly peaceful” protests came anywhere near the size of the Stop the Steal rally, last Wednesday. I was there and have it all on video. I can tell you that those doing violence and causing mayhem were a fractionally smaller number than in any BLM rally in 2020. Therefore . . . if we’re going to be consistent, fair, and throw off all garments of hypocrisy . . . the January 6th protest in DC was a MORE “mostly peaceful” protest — by the MATH — than any of the other protests so deemed by the MSM in 2020.
Unfortunately, though . . . just as it is with COVID-19, the left could care less about the math. With a 99.8% survival rate, as an average across all age groups . . . they are still locking us down. And those lockdowns apply to both our jobs and our speech. The math matters not . . . so they’re eliminating both.
I might as well go ahead and mention, right now, that every single action I personally engaged in on January 6th was legal, and within the protections of the Bill of Rights. My stated purpose for going to DC — as posted on all my social media platforms, well in advance — was to “observe and document” the events of the day. I didn’t throw a brick, break a pane of glass, kick open a door, assault any police officer, charge upon any barricade, or so much as touch any item inside the Capitol building. But, once the breach was accomplished . . . or doors opened by police, themselves . . . and crowds began pouring in, the “story” I was following had moved to the inside, and I did just as I did on the outside. I got as close to what was happening as possible to observe and document. I entered peaceably, under no constraint from any authority, and I exited peaceably at the very first request to do so by a Capitol Police officer.
My final conclusions, assessments, and predictions?
Sure. Why not.
The video I posted on the evening of the 6th contained an observation that later needed some modification after reviewing my videos. I’d said that most of the violence I saw was coming from Trump supporters, though Antifa was certainly in the crowd. That observation still holds true . . . mostly . . . but I am now prepared to amplify my suggestions of the levels of culpability, from both sides. I don’t care if you like it, or not, but I’m only going to tell the truth of what I saw.
First of all, there were a significant number of “god and guns” American militia members who came ready and willing to knock heads and push boundaries. They came without their guns . . . this time. Their god . . . I’m not so sure about. Many did come with full body armor, radios, organization, pre-meditation, and planning. Like it or not, they were there.
There were a significant number of retired American servicemen also getting involved in the mayhem. Whether that was by design, or they just caught up in the moment, I saw veterans of all ages giving it and taking it on the barricade lines. Even some really older guys, wearing parts of their old uniforms taking direct shots of pepper spray and police batons.
There were also far too many “formerly” peaceful protestors who were drawn into the frontlines of the scrum by the carnival barkers or agent provocateurs of the very visible Antifa presence. Antifa were there in much greater numbers, and had far more impact than I first realized, but they were still far outnumbered by the Trump supporters who either planned for confrontation or were simply caught up in the moment.
Let’s be perfectly clear. This was a planned event. Reports state that early groups of people were staging up at the Capitol as early as 8 a.m. One Congresswomen tweeted that she saw large number of protestors out her window by 9:30 a.m. Trump did not take the stage down at The Ellipse until 11:57 a.m., and didn’t finished his speech until 1:11 p.m. Long before Trump concluded, the initial breaching of outer barricades had begun. Some were deliberately pushed over by antagonists who arrived early, but we’ve also seen video of one Capitol policewoman open a gate and enthusiastically wave protestors up to the next level.
Depending upon your location at the rally, the walk to the Capitol could be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes at normal pace. When I arrived at the reflection pool it was obvious the battle was fully engaged on that side of the building. I was there videoing at 1:19 p.m.
This was not spontaneous. This was not the result of incitement by Trump or Giuliani. The players in this spectacle were already geared-up, suited up, and had taken on their assigned roles long before Trump even hit the stage. Antifa had their megaphones, gas masks, shields, and medics already positioned. The militia guys, many of whom were outfitted in top-of-the-line tactical gear, were there in equal number. Professional and amateur camera crews were also there, already suited up for frontline “war zone” coverage.
Who planned this? Were the good ole boy militias in cahoots with Antifa? Was this a military psyop? Were the Capitol Police working with either or both sides? Did Trump’s team orchestrate this? The Dems?
Let me ask you a question:
Whose image was most damaged by this event?
Whose voices are now being silenced following this event?
If your answers were, “Those on the American right,” you’d be correct. So unless this was a feint within a feint, (aka: 9-D Trump chess move), by intention or luck, the incoming Democratic juggernaut won the day in a walkover.
I still have far too many questions, and I trust no one in government will give us truthful answers. Not the Dems. Not the GOP. Not the FBI.
In fact, I trust no one right now. Full stop.
I find it difficult to even trust myself right now. Even purposefully staying out of the fray on Wednesday, I could feel and relate to the heat, anger, and passion being directed at the occupants of that Capitol building. They are liars. They are power mongers. They do not care about us, and put their own interests and prosperity above those of the American people. They are deliberately spending us into inevitable economic collapse, and chipping away at more and more of our individual rights with each passing year. In the last 10 months, that has accelerated exponentially. I cannot count on my two hands the number of CongressCreeps I respect after this past year. I am a man who has had his career and income completely stripped away, and no one in the building came to my rescue, or to help the millions like me in similar circumstances. I’ve never been part of MAGA, but because my voice proceeds from the right side of the political spectrum, I’m now taking the same abuse, from the left, as the most ardent Trumpophiles.
I just know what I saw. I saw bad people doing bad things. I saw good people doing bad things. I saw good people doing good things — trying to stop others from getting hurt or breaking stuff. I also saw and videoed some things I can’t yet share. I’ve been advised not to . . . for my own protection.
Because I was told not to trust anyone right now.
In the first WUSA Channel 9 interview, I was asked if I supported what I saw. I said, “Yes. 100%.” Not the senseless violence and death, but the spirit of resistance against an oppressive state . . . even if misplaced and misapplied on that day. Their camera placement had me framed with the Capitol dome, behind. I turned my head, pointed over my shoulder and said to the reporter, “There’s a darkness in that building, and what happened today may have just been a test run. The next time they may return far better prepared — a Million Gun March, of sorts — and if they come back in the same numbers, there’s no way they can be stopped. We may have heard the first shot, today.”
She responded, “Literally.”
They didn’t use that exchange on the 11 O’clock News.