Capitol Riot: One year later


Trump supporters riot outside the capitol building as tear gas is being thrown at them on January 6, 2021.

On Jan. 6, 2021, there was an attack that took place on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. because Trump supporters were protesting that the election was stolen. There were many people who stormed inside, vandalized, broke, and took many important documents. Protesters forced the doors open and broke inside while many others were still protesting outside and climbing walls. 

Many of us a year ago, were watching what was happening on the news and realizing how serious it was. I remember feeling scared because I had never seen anything like that happen to a government building and I wasn’t sure how the police were going to deal with it. 

Although it has been a year, what happened in the Capitol is still being looked into by the FBI, which causes this case to still be an open investigation. There have been a few updates from last year as to the people they’ve arrested who broke inside and what they were going to do to find the rest of the people since there have only been around 700 arrests. Although there have been many arrests, we only hear about them sometimes.

U.S. History teacher Rafael Ramos said, “From time to time, I see a new story about another protester being arrested, being sentenced, or found guilty because they are still looking into them. From time to time, I also see different news stories about where the investigation is at or who they’re going to question or who’s refusing to go into questioning because it is still an open case.”

Although the riot was intense and violent, many believe there haven’t been many drastic changes except giving the Capitol police officers a department issued phone that provides real-time emergency alerts.

“I don’t believe there has been many drastic changes except realizing the need for better security in and outside of the building in case anything happens in the future,” said junior Jennifer Lopez. 

There are many questions surrounding this case such as, ‘Can something similar to this happen again?’ There are questions if it can happen in the near future or in many years, but many are still wondering about it.

Representative Bonnie Thompson said, “I am more than confident, given what occurred on Jan. 6 of last year, that if something like that occurs this time, the likelihood of anything close [happening again] would be zero.” 

Ramos also said, “I think it’s realistic to believe that it can happen again, especially if we don’t go after the people responsible because anytime something like this happens, if you don’t punish the perpetrators then other people believe they’ll be able to get away with it too so maybe next time it can be much worse if people believe that there are no consequences.” 

When we think about the future and imagine the capitol riot happening again, we might picture it differently as to what happened last year and possibly see the different things that may occur.

“I think it would be much bigger and can be more organized in the sense that the people carrying out an event or act like that can already be in charge of certain government organizations and can use their power to bring out the National Guard to either be protecting or attacking,” said Ramos. 

What happened on Jan. 6, 2021, shouldn’t be an event that should repeat itself and especially shouldn’t be an event that becomes bigger next time. We all may think of different things that should change at the Capitol to prevent it from happening because it’s something no one wants to go through because of how scary it may be.

“I think what’s important is to not dismiss it. I think because our democracy has been stable for a long time, we get comfortable and believe this is an isolated incident and we can’t be naive and think that we’re immune from political unrest. I think it’s important for Americans to want the people responsible punished and see if laws have to be passed to prevent this from happening again. If we allow this to continue, how far are we gonna let this go?” Ramos said.