I have been slowly processing all the shocking recent events in the US since first waking up to the news yesterday. As if people showing up in body armour and carrying weapons trying to claim they were there to protest “peacefully” wasn’t bad enough, as they day wore on, more and more horrific facts came to light.
Vandalism, looting, injuries, and five people losing their lives. Reports of pipe bombs being discovered. Footage of the crowd smashing windows to gain entry to the Capitol Building, and so many truly disturbing images of people demonstrating not the slightest respect for the building, its contents, and the fact that it holds their own nation’s history.
I acknowledge the media sensationalised the hell out of this. As they annoyingly always tend to do. In this case, it could be argued they didn’t need to, that the truth was bad enough. Because the truth was an angry mob of people attended that location wanting a war. Citing freedom of speech, but meaning freedom to destroy priceless public property and cause harm to their fellow human beings.
The only way I could describe how these events have made me feel, is disgusted. Regardless of your political views, the behaviour of these people cannot and should not be tolerated. It should not be defended. Not be excused. It should be intensely shamed. People need to be shown that the actions these people took, is never acceptable.
I remember feeling some measure of relief when Trump appeared on Twitter, telling them go home and be peaceful. But then I watched his video again. And it hit me. I was hearing what I wanted to hear, albeit he made the statement far too late. But this statement also included comments that fuelled the rage of the crowd even further; his continued insistence that he and his supporters had the election “stolen” from them…
Now, I am not a political person. I am not an expert on these topics. I am not a supporter of Republicans or Democrats. And not just because I’m Australian and don’t reside in the US, nor do I vote in their elections. In my own country, I am also not a supporter of our “two party system,” being Liberal and Labor. I’m a secular humanist and atheist, and I have never participated in an election where I have been satisfied with the outcome.
But just because I am not an expert on politics, and not a citizen of the US, doesn’t mean I don’t have an educated opinion on this topic. As a qualified criminologist, my area of expertise is crime. And that is what we have just witnessed. Crime. These people blatantly broke their own laws and had the audacity to assert they were protected by those laws, under “freedom of speech.”
This is something that should never have happened. Especially not in a country that claims to embrace democracy. Trump lost. Plain and simple. And instead of accepting it, like a mature, reasoned individual, he chose to behave like a petulant child and incite others to commit appalling crimes in his name. Regardless of your political affiliation, Trump and his followers have brought shame upon their country. And these terrible events will be keenly felt for years to come.