The events and images of January 6, 2021, are still etched in the minds of most democratically inclined Americans, despite many on the right still trying to justify the day’s events as over exuberant patriots flooding the Capitol to put right the injustice of a presidential election that was rife with voter fraud. But that’s not what happened.
Even Trump’s own Attorney General William Barr declared that the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. So, instead of a flood of patriots, we got a tsunami of stupidity, ignorance, and illegality, and now, 400 ‘patriots’ find themselves gripped by the long arm of the law as the Justice Department has charged them for their part in the insurrection at the US Capitol.
The 400 known defendants come from across the country, from 43 states in fact, and more names are being added to the list every day. Although federal prosecutors say they expect to charge at least 500, there still remain hundreds of photographs of rioters on the FBI’s “most wanted” website who are, as yet, unidentified. However, the investigation is far from over.
The message from federal prosecutors is loud and clear as they say the events of January 6 must not be allowed to happen again, and those responsible will be held accountable. The day saw the halting of Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes for more than five hours and forced terrified lawmakers into lockdown when pro-Trump rioters overran the US Capitol Police, injuring over 100 officers and causing the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.
The fuse was lit when the federal government secured its first guilty plea on April 16, 100 days after the deadly attack. The defendant, Jon Schaffer from Indiana, pleaded guilty to multiple felonies including for breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray, with the intent to interfere with Congress’s certification of the electoral college results. However, his alleged connection to the far-right group the Oath Keepers could give prosecutors valuable insight into the mechanisms and machinations of this group and their part in planning the day’s events.
While prosecutors are keen to bring any people involved in the insurrection to justice, especially those involved in groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, many of those facing prosecution either handed themselves into authorities or brazenly posted about their exploits on a variety of social media platforms making it laughably simple for authorities to identify them.
Law enforcement officials are predicting that this will be the largest federal investigation since the 9/11 attacks. And while the people responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center complex and the Pentagon came from outside our borders to destroy democracy, the rioters came from inside and profess to be democracy loving American citizens that want to take back ‘their country’. Thankfully, more responsible minds prevailed, 81 million of them to be exact.