BOOM! Concussion grenades went off, followed by some gas.
Then another, BOOM! More gas.
I covered my mouth, but it did nothing. The gas burned, fanning out.
One more canister came, this time at my feet.
Gas consumed the crowd.
People panicked, as that is what gas is designed to do, of course.
I couldn’t see or breathe. Gas locks your lungs.
Having been gassed many times before in the Army, I kept repeating in my head, “don’t panic…don’t panic.” I knew it would stop burning, and I would breathe again, just not when.
All well and good, but there was nowhere to go to get away. People rushed for the exit. Where I was, there was only one way out. Everyone pushed for it, nearly trampling each other.
Almost falling over and for fear of getting crushed, I grabbed the person’s shirt in front of me, holding on as best I could, trying to keep him up so I didn’t get knocked down and killed. It worked.
Making it out, I leaned over the scaffolding under Biden’s bleachers and threw up the little that I had in my stomach. Gas is nasty. It rattled my body as I heaved.
Gaining composure, I made my way to the front of the Capitol by the wall. Mostly everyone had been pushed out by then.