West Reacts to The United States Capitol Breach

The United States Capitol via UN News.

The United States Capitol via UN News.

By Celina Saba, Staff Writer

On Jan. 6, 2020, rioters breached The United States Capitol. News outlets and individuals expressed their opinion, and so did the community of Niles West.

“When I heard what was happening, I was disappointed but not surprised. Hateful rhetoric has been actively expressed by some of our nation’s leaders for many years. As time goes on, what becomes more apparent are the true intentions of many of these people. I heard one woman say that it was the revolution. I heard one man say that he wanted heads on pikes. People were killed,” AP Physics teacher Mr. John Metzler said. “The paraphernalia and chants of those involved clearly show their intentions and thoughts, yet I have seen many people, news and leaders, attempt to pass blame elsewhere, such as to organizations like BLM [Black Lives Matter]. I am frustrated we have gotten to this point, but I am not surprised. I hope now we can have an honest conversation and dialogue about the events, their antecedents, and the consequences. I hope we can decide together the country we want and that we work together to get there.”

Junior Anthony Sivric was shocked by the hypocrisy. “The first thing I thought was, ‘are these not the same people who were on their high horse about the BLM protests?’ Then I saw how they were beating and shoving on the police and thought ‘so blue lives only matter sometimes?'” Sivric said. 

Junior Jacob Berkowitz was hit with nostalgia from the beginning of 2020 as he heard the news. “I felt disgusted. It reminded me of when I heard about forest fires in Australia and rioting protestors looting stores and fighting police. It is still early in the year, and I hope it turns a new corner, but my immediate reaction to learning about what went down at the Capitol was to fear a 2020 part two,” Berkowitz said. 

Many people were appalled by the violence carried out.

“As a person who is a conservative and considered Trump the better option of the two (the other being Joe Biden), I am very disappointed and embarrassed with what happened at the Capitol,” junior Samuel Philips said. “I never believe violence is the right way to get what you want, and I never will.”

According to junior Abigail Cimpean, “I became disappointed by how a group of people composed themselves to break into the Capitol when it was initially a peaceful march. For me, as a Christian, violence is never acceptable.” 

The media played a large role in informing the masses. 

“Based on the many videos and images spreading like wildfire online, I believe we need to stop saying that rioters broke into the Capitol building. Instead, we need to describe the event for what it was: police officers and GOP lawmakers let the white supremacists in,” junior Zucchious Kerl Rosal said. “A lady that attended the white supremacist riot claimed police officers maced her. In the video, however, she was rubbing onions onto her eyes.”

Not everyone was pleased with the media’s execution.  

“I believe the media did not cover this event well. They reported as if it was race-related and somehow an example of white supremacy. They tried to say that the people did not meet with any resistance, but the police used rubber bullets, mace, and force to combat the protesters. Four people even died,” Sivric said. “The media handled this about as well as some children. There is so much misinformation from the left and the right trying to shift the blame on Antifa.”

 AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Joseph Meyer, however, believes the media was mostly fair. 

“Of course, he [Donald Trump] rails about it. Even Fox News, who has been a big supporter of Trump, was very down about the event. I don’t think Trump understood how bad this was, and I don’t know that he still does. I think the media tends to overdo stuff. We usually get 24/7 coverage, so they had reporters in the middle of the crowd, which was very unsafe. Fortunately, no harm befell them. I think that many of these Trump supporters remain in their echo chambers. They don’t listen to reality, and they believe that the election was stolen. They need to hear some facts because they haven’t, and the media is trying to portray it,” Meyer said. 

Some students believe the expansion of partisanship is negatively affecting our country. 

“I thought it was crazy and that crazy actions like this are just further dividing our nation. The Republican Party is being depicted (incorrectly) as these radicals who do not represent the party,” junior Tarek Mahfoudi said. “This keeps hurting our nation because we have been divided for too long, and to succeed, we need to unify as one nation no matter our political differences.”

According to Cimpean, “The role of free media is to report news, not to promote partisanship.”

The first amendment, regarding the freedom of speech and protest, was a highlight in many conversations. 

“Initially hearing about the march at the Capitol, I was proud to see people taking a stand for what they believe in because the freedom of speech is the most valuable in a democracy,” Cimpean said. “I believe canceling culture and censorship is extremely dangerous to a democracy, and they infringe on our first amendment rights.”

According to junior Lucas Ashorian, “I support the first amendment and the right to peaceful protests, but what happened at the Capitol was a shame. Those who broke into the Capitol building made hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors look bad, and they should be punished accordingly.”