Talk us through your first hand account from Jan 6. What did you hear and see? What was the atmosphere like?
From the start the atmosphere was tense, especially if you were part of the media. You could feel people sizing you up, watching you move. I got cursed out a few times early in the day for taking photos, but nothing serious enough to deter me from shooting, just taunting. I tried to blend in, but two cameras hanging from my shoulders was a dead giveaway (haha).
The crowd was a lot more massive than I expected, though. Everyone was there, from elderly people to little kids, all decked out in Trump gear, obviously. It is always strange seeing young kids at political things, especially like that. Feels unfair that they really have no idea what they are representing or why.
I also saw a lot of dudes dressed in militia uniforms. You know, with the camo and wannabe “cool guy,” as we call them in the Army, military gear. Those guys are the worst. Most of them have never served but want to “play soldier.”
Anyway, the speeches earlier that day set the tone for the events that followed, for sure. I think that is the general consensus. People were already riled up and the speakers fed them what they wanted to hear, like at any political event. You could feel the crowd become more and more intoxicated with each speaker. Then came Trump, and bang. The energy heated up with him and boiled over when people started marching to the Capitol.
I think they really believed they were trying to save America in the name of their god Trump. Watching the same people who call everyone else “sheep,” and whatever, be herded and used as pawns for the destruction that took place that day is comical in the worst way, thinking back now. A comedy turned tragedy, really.
But the steps of the Capitol after the initial breach were definitely the craziest. Officers were holding the line at the door with riot shields and the mob was ramming them with anything they could get their hands on—poles from flags, pieces of furniture stolen from inside the capitol, literally anything. They were trying to pull officers out into the crowd, stealing their shields, helmets and equipment, and beating them. It was wild. They were calling the cops traitors, which was really ironic.
People seemed ready to die right then and there. I felt like at a certain point the officers would have no choice but to use lethal force like they did inside. Glad they didn’t for the sake of the journalists there, but considering it was the Capitol Building, I thought it was coming. Instead, they just pepper sprayed and gassed everyone. Felt like too little too late, but it was definitely effective.