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The Riot in the Capitol

These are the the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals of today.

by Eric Holdeman / January 10, 2021

(Tuesday, January 6)

What does it mean to incite people to riot? When countering rioters, the goal is to take out the leaders who are directing their actions. Identify them, arrest them and get them off the street, decapitating the leadership of the rioters. Now, what do you do when the "instigators" are elected officials? This presents a totally new kettle of fish to deal with. 

As for the events of Jan. 6, 2021, it will go down as one of the more sordid days in our modern history. As if our reputation in the world as a nation could be tarnished any more than it has of late. The beacon of democracy that once was is not gleaming as brightly around the world. I'll be listening to BBC news to hear how the events of today are being interpreted abroad and around the world in other nation's capitals. I guarantee you that our enemies are gloating.  

Let's just talk strategy and tactics for the moment. It is clear that:

  • When people clearly state their intentions to take action, you have to believe their words. You cannot just take it all as someone being bravado and showing off. Make an idle threat against the president of the United States and the Secret Service will come knocking on your door. 
  • Better monitoring of social media and intelligence of what was going on in the capital region was needed. This can easily be done. In retrospect, it will be interesting if anything will be divulged about what was said on social media before the physical assault on the Capitol was made. Was there a coordinated "attack?" Any ring leaders?
  • The Capitol Police's planning assumptions were way off the mark [I saw that type of failure with the Seattle Police Department in 1999 when planning for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference and they underestimated what was about to happen].
  • Then, once you lose the initiative, and do not have reserve forces stationed to respond quickly, or are afraid to employ them — it becomes too late. Re-establishing control becomes much more difficult.
  • Clearly the D.C. police might have been "on call" to assist, but of no use in an immediate assault on the Capitol. 
  • Wherever the National Guard was stationed, they too were of no help in providing immediate assistance.
  • I think the Capitol Police showed huge restraint in not using more deadly force. If it had been one or two people breaking through, the results could have been much more deadly. They are "protecting the Capitol, which means government officials" and you don't know who is coming through those doors and what their intentions are. Were any of them armed? We will never likely know the outcome of the after action review of these events, but the policy for the use of deadly force will certainly be reviewed. 

There was an unfortunate death during the day. A shooting victim, who we don't know, who was wheeled out of the Capitol on a gurney and it was a gruesome sight. To the media's credit, they were broadcasting live and while the original video was shown, they did not repeat that video during the rest of the day. One of the standards for the media is to not show the faces of victims. 

For me, Jan. 20 cannot come soon enough!

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