CHS Reflects On The Capitol Riot

Micael Nigro/Pacific Press/ZUMA

Micael Nigro/Pacific Press/ZUMA

Emma Mor, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, January 6th, supporters of President Trump stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden and express their opinions about the election results. 


The protest initially began earlier in the day at the National Mall and later relocated in front of the Capitol. Tens of thousands of protesters waited outside the Capitol building and some of them eventually broke through barricades, charged up the steps, and forced their way inside. The pro-Trump mob damaged the building, broke windows, and replaced American flags with “Make America Great Again” and “Trump 2020” flags. Tear gas and smoke grenades were eventually used by the police to clear the building; the first floor was secured at 3:30 p.m. and the entire building was finally cleared at 5:40 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were evacuated when the riot began. Both the House Chamber and Senate Chamber went into lockdown in the U.S. Capitol. Most of the congressmen and government officials were evacuated from the Capitol complex at 5 p.m. and were taken to a nearby army base in Washington. The certification of President-elect Joe Biden was continued at 8 p.m. by Vice President Pence and the senate. 


In total, there were 5 deaths, one of which was a Capitol police officer, and around 82 arrests. This was one of the largest breaches in Capitol security in United States history. A city-wide curfew in DC was put into effect on Wednesday until 6 AM the following day. 


Hours after the riot had begun, President Trump released a one-minute video on Twitter addressing his supporters. “We love you. You are very special… We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it” he said in sympathy for the rioters. He later tweeted “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”, which was later taken down by Twitter as well as his account. 


The majority of CHS students are shocked from learning what happened and several are angry as well. An anonymous 9th grader said that she was disappointed in the people who did this. “I would never expect people to act like this. It is truly outrageous.” Another anonymous CHS student said, “I hold an issue with the criticism of the federal guard because the local police were severely understaffed and underprepared to handle the incident. If you watch footage, you can see that many police officers did make attempts to fight the rioters, but they were unsuccessful due to the sheer amount of retaliation they faced. President Trump told those in charge of the federal guard that they would not have to worry because any conflicts would be handled by local law enforcement. Therefore, the Capitol police were not expecting a retaliation of this magnitude.” 


Another student from CHS expressed her opinion on the media’s role in politics, especially important events like this one. “As young people, we know that social media is all algorithm-based, and whatever you like, you start seeing more of it, but this can be dangerous because once you start liking things, you don’t learn anything about the other side. We tend to forget that you can’t make a decision based on one side of the story. People who base their opinions on news headlines or things they pick up on Facebook/Twitter only see extreme and dramatized statements. It places the blame on the other party, which creates a big divide between liberals and conservatives.” To sum up, the media shows us the type of politics we want to see, so we are not exposed to other perspectives, which makes people one-sided when it comes to politics. 


The Capitol Hill riot was an important day in our country and it is crucial that the students of Cresskill High School are informed of what happened and able to form their own thoughts and opinions about it.