Rioters destroy image of peaceful protests

Sara Rand, Feature Editor

  On Jan. 6 rioters under ruse as protesters stormed the capital building in Washington D.C. Some violently broke windows and ran through the halls while others wandered around. Rioters stormed through offices taking pictures and disrupting work as congress members had to take shelter away from their offices, and some in fear for their lives.

  In America peaceful protest is completely legal and protected under the first amendment freedoms. What happened inside the capitol was not protest, it was a riot. 

  While there were people deliberately causing chaos and putting others in harm’s way, that should not take away from those Americans who stayed within their rights, outside the capitol, causing no harm but using only their voices to be heard and protest the decision being made at the capitol.  

  While speeches can always be put up for interpretation, President Donald Trump asked the protesters to “peacefully and patriotically let your voices be heard,” nothing about violently raiding the Capitol building. Many politicians have used the words “fight” and “be strong” while addressing crowds but never meant it to cause actual fighting or violent outbreaks.

  President Trump asked the people to use what was within their freedom of protest rights to tell congress the decision they were about to make was not right, he did not ask the people to attack and cause violence or put anyone who worked at the capitol building in harm’s way. 

  While for completely different reasons, what happened at the capitol is no different than what happened in the summer of 2020. 

  While the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has the same right to protest as every person expressing through their voice, there will always be someone who takes the cause too far. During the summer it was the rioters who negatively impacted the image of a good cause for their own personal gain, stealing from stores and putting others in harm’s way, creating fires and messes throughout major cities.  

  There are good and bad in both cases. In January, the bad were those who decided to take their opinions too far and resort to violence, which actually took the attention away from Americans who only wanted their voices to be heard. We cannot put blame on anyone except those who made their own conscious decisions to ignore the laws.