Right-wing extremists besiege Capitol, death toll reaches 5


Joseph Bender, Mirada Staff

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, a mob forced its way into the US Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from confirming that Joe Biden will replace Donald Trump as president. Since then, information has continued to emerge about the attack and what it means for America.

There is a growing consensus that the attack could have turned into a bloodbath if events had turned out slightly differently, but in the days after the attacks the death toll reached five, including Brian Sicknick of the Capitol Police force. Sicknick had dreams of becoming a police officer and previously served in the Air National Guard.

Three of the other deaths included Trump supporters Benjamin Philips who died of a stroke, Kevin Greeson who died of a heart attack and Rosanne Boyland, who appears to have been trampled by the crowds. Protestor and Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot by Capitol Police while climbing through a window that lead to the Speaker of the House’s lobby, and the FBI has opened an investigation on her death.

Some of the insurrectionists chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” in the Capitol, and multiple people reportedly expressed their desire to execute the vice-president. A gallows was erected in front of the building, and at least one member of the mob carried zip-tie handcuffs, raising new questions about what the mob would have done if it had gotten its hands on lawmakers.

This mood echoed 150 miles north of Sacramento in Redding, the seat of deeply conservative Shasta County, in the day before the Capitol violence. On Jan. 5, a newly elected county supervisor invited dozens of anti-mask, anti-lockdown protesters into the supervisors’ chamber during a virtual meeting of the board of supervisors. While three other supervisors watched on live video, members of the mob threatened to lynch them.

One speaker told the supervisors to “flee while you can, because the days of your tyranny are drawing to a close, and the legitimacy of this government is waning. When the ballot box is gone, there is only the cartridge box. You have made bullets expensive. But luckily for you, ropes are reusable.” Others expressed similar sentiments. 

State governments across the nation are preparing to fend off attacks as right-wing and antigovernment groups plan demonstrations in all 50 state capitals. Federal authorities, who are conducting a massive investigation that could lead to the arrests of hundreds for charges related to the storming of the Capitol, are bracing for inauguration-related violence in D.C.