Students Angered by Riots at the Capitol

By Sophie Fenton and Deja Fitzwater

Around 10:00 EST, Jan. 6, 2021: 

United States President Donald J. Trump held a rally inspiring the Save America March down Pennsylvania Avenue. “We’re supposed to protect our country, support our country, support our constitution, and protect our constitution.”


11:31 EST, Jan. 6, 2021:

The Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, tweeted about the 6 p.m. curfew throughout the entire city. “Disciplinary actions will be applied, and the police will step in deliberately after this time,” Mayor Bowser said. 


11:45 EST, Jan. 6, 2021:

Trump supporters arrived at the United States Capitol Building.


13:00 EST, Jan. 6, 2021:

Congress started the process of the certification of the Electoral College, A-Z. By the time US Oklahoma Senator, James Lankford, had reached Arizona, everyone on the floor was told to evacuate. 

The Save America March had turned into a violent mob of domestic terrorists. The Capitol Building had been breached, and armed guards had their guns pointed towards the people just outside the door, doing their best to protect everyone still sitting in the Gallery. 

Photo by Tyler Merbler

Around 14:15 EST, Jan. 6, 2021:

A woman rioter was shot by a Capitol policeman and taken to the hospital. The mob was becoming cleared from the building, and being pushed out into the lawn.


Around 15:00 EST, Jan. 6, 2021: 

Acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, spoke to Vice President Mike Pence about bringing in the National Guard; a job that is usually reserved for the President. 

Moments before, President Trump released a video promoting the actions of his supporters at the National Monument and sat inside of the White House for the rest of the evening taking no action to stop the occurring events. 


18:00 EST, Jan. 6, 2021:

The curfew set in place until 12 hours later, by Mayor Bowser was not acted upon, and police gradually started pushing the rioters off of the Capitol lawns. 

There was harassment towards reporters on the scene, and many reporters in the news rooms speculated on a rise in violent actions as darkness drew near. 


19:49 EST, Jan. 6, 2021 

Police deployed tear gas, the National Guard arrived, and the woman who was shot earlier was pronounced as dead. The entirety of the Capitol Buildings staff were cleaning up after the explosions that had gone off earlier, readying for Congress to continue their biannual tradition. 


03:40 EST,  Jan. 7, 2021:

Congress finally adjourned and conclusively, Vice President Pence announced President Elect Joe Biden’s victory as the next President of the United States of America. 



     On Jan. 6 2021, Americans and the rest of the world watched the news from their home in shock and disbelief as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, who had initially gathered for a protest, rioted and broke into the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. These rioters, motivated by false claims from the President and his associates of a fraudulent presidential election, broke through barriers to take control of the building and influence the results of the Electoral College count. Once inside the building, the rioters smashed windows, occupied senators’ offices, and roamed the senate chambers, rummaging through papers and desks. 

     Their violent tactics while inside the building resulted in the shooting of one woman, death of one Capitol officer, two medical emergencies, and another woman who was trampled, who all later died while in the hospital. Hours after originally occupying the building, the city of Washington D.C. regained control of the Capitol, pushing the rioters out of the building and onto the street and initiating a 6 p.m. curfew. As the Senate representatives from each state reconvened on the floor after a hectic and unforeseeable day, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer addressed the group. 

     “I have never lived through, nor imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this capitol,” he stated. Senator Schumer continued to speak upon the tragedy, comparing the event to Pearl Harbor due to its infamy. Many Americans watching at home resonated with Schumer’s words after watching the events of the day unfold. 

     Senior Abdi Mohamoud, who was working throughout the day, expressed the confusion he felt while reading the incoming headlines on his phone. 

     He recalled his initial reaction to the Trump protestors approaching the Capitol Building: “This is the most secure building in the nation, there is no way they can get inside of it,” he said to himself. But, as he continued working and reading the headlines that popped up on his phone, the news of rioters entering the building broke. 

     “The storming of the Capitol Building completely caught me off guard. I did not see that coming,” Mohamoud said with sadness in his voice. He continued, stating “It felt like we were so powerless.”

Photo by Tyler Merbler

     Not only was this absence of power a common feeling throughout the American people, but so was the confusion of how such an event could happen in the Capital of the United States. Senior Lucas Freudenthal, “flabbergasted by the news,” recalled his trip to Washington D.C. a few years ago. 

     “I’ve been in the Capitol building, so I just couldn’t comprehend how a bunch of brain-dead, feebleminded ‘protestors’ breached a building where there were multitudes of federal officers,” Freudenthal said. He went on to say that his heart is heavy with pain and sadness by the actions of the Trump-supporting rioters and the implications they have on our country as a democratic, free nation. 

     The result of these rioters’ actions has sent the media into a state of alarm, describing the event as an “attempted coup” or even an “insurrection.” This tone is reflected in the minds of Americans, as senior Spencer Nelson recalls the anger he experienced on Jan. 6. In contrast to Mohamoud and Freudenthal, he was not at all surprised by the news. 

     “There had been threats of violence and provocative rhetoric from certain Congress people and the President,” Nelson stated. Mohamoud is in agreement with Nelson’s critical tone of politicians’ rhetoric.

     “It’s a realization that a lot of people are having for the first time. That he [Trump] was able to do it. Everyone thought his words ‘wouldn’t matter,’ his rhetoric wasn’t ‘that bad,’ ‘the four years will be over soon,’” Mouhamed said. “But everything just added on to each other and this is how it blew up.”  

     Moving forward from such an impactful event is difficult for the American people. Nelson states that he hopes those responsible for the attack on the Capitol, both the rioters and the enablers, face consequences for their undemocratic actions.