Policing Saturday's Pro-Insurrectionist Rally

[ Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2021 – 15:45 UTC ]

This Saturday, America will get to see whether the police responsible for the security of the United States Capitol have learned their lesson or not. After their abject failure to prepare adequately for the insurrectionist mob which took over the Capitol on January 6th (in an attempt to forcibly halt the final step in a presidential election), the police are going to face a crowd of sympathizers of the insurrectionist riot's participants. In other words, the insurrectionists' fellow travellers. One would like to assume that the police presence will be a lot bigger and a lot more proactive on Saturday than they were eight months ago.

We still haven't had a full accounting of all the things that went wrong with the security planning on January 6th, of course. There is a congressional select committee looking into it, but they've only held a few hearings so far. More of the story will undoubtedly be revealed over time, in much greater detail. One storyline that has emerged is that the people with the overall responsibility for security were worried because they had overreacted earlier to the Black Lives Matter street protests. Back then, there were photographs of officers in full body armor and military gear lined up in front of monuments in a very threatening posture, and then the whole thing culminated with Donald Trump ordering the park across the street from the White House forcibly cleared so he could stage a photo op (with the top Pentagon general standing next to him). Not to mention the helicopters chasing people on city streets and attacking them (there's no other word for it) with the downblast from their rotors. The cops (and the Pentagon) had heard the criticisms from these episodes and the higher-ups were concerned that there be no such "bad optics" on January 6th.

So, not unlike Goldilocks and the three bears, they then went from one extreme to the other. There were nowhere near enough cops guarding the Capitol in January, they were completely unprepared (both in planning and in resources available to those on the front lines), and there were no reinforcements standing by just in case. One wonders whether they'll manage to get it "just right" this Saturday.

At least this time, the Capitol will be behind a security fence. In a classic case of locking the barn door after the horses are already over the horizon, this fence was first erected after the January 6th riot and insurrection attempt. It stayed up for months. Eventually it came down and all the National Guard soldiers were sent back home. The fence is going up again in anticipation of Saturday's pro-insurrectionist rally. That seems like an intelligent and reasonable thing to do. But even that might not have stopped the mob, back in January.

Of course, since the participants of both rallies are prone to both conspiracy theories and paranoia, already some of the leaders of extremist right-wing militia groups have warned their followers not to attend this Saturday's rally. They're calling it a "trap," assumably set up to snare anyone foolish enough to attend. Chief among these paranoiacs is Donald Trump himself, who said in a recent interview: "On Saturday, that's a setup. If people don't show up they'll say, 'Oh, it's a lack of spirit.' And if people do show up they'll be harassed." To Trump, "harassed" equals "stopped by police from committing lawlessness and violence." Lo, how far the once-mighty "law-and-order party" has fallen.

Trump, of course, is (as usual) preparing to have things either way afterwards, no matter what happens. If there's a tiny crowd, Trump will say then something like: "People didn't show up because they were afraid Biden's jackbooted goons would arrest everyone." If the crowd is huge and gets out of control (necessitating police intervention of one sort or another), Trump will say: "Did you see what Biden's jackbooted thugs did to all those peaceful protesters? It's a disgrace." Either way, he's prepared his talking points already.

Trump is making no secret of which side he's on. He released a statement today which said in part):

Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!

What Trump calls "being persecuted so unfairly" the rest of us, of course, call "justice prevailing." Again, this is a political party who used to actually brag about how tough they were on crime and criminals. And they are now led by an insurrectionist-sympathizer (or, more accurately, "-inciter").

In the conspiracy swamp that Trump (and, unfortunately, a lot of his most rabid followers) lives in, the January 6th mob was made up of mostly-peaceful protesters. The only violence which occurred was due to this warm and loving tourist crowd being infiltrated with "Antifa" and F.B.I. provocateurs. The people subsequently arrested are nothing short of political prisoners -- this is the stated purpose of Saturday's rally, in fact, to protest the more violent or prone-to-flee of these accused "J6" criminals being held in jail until their trials happen. All of this is, quite obviously, insane. That isn't going to stop the rally attendees from believing it to the hilt, however.

Of course, this is America, and anyone's free to believe anything they wish. They're even free to assemble peacefully, protest, and/or petition the government for redress of their grievances. What they are not free to do, however, is get violent, brutally attack cops, and/or try to shut Congress down to prevent it from carrying out its constitutional duties. Again.

The chances are the rally is going to fizzle. Even the rally's organizer is only estimating a maximum crowd size of 700 people. That's a lot smaller than the J6 insurrectionist mob. And that's the maximum they're planning for -- it could be a lot smaller than even that. They'll be holding their rally proximate to the Capitol, but not really all that physically close to the building. There will be a security fence between the rally and the Capitol. And, hopefully, there'll be a whole lot of cops keeping an eye on things to make sure the situation doesn't get even slightly out of control (again). With backup officers waiting in the wings, as well, just in case.

Screwing up once is perhaps understandable. After all, the Capito Police have never had to face a violent mob egged on by a sitting president before. It was unprecedented. But the same can never be said again. We now have such a precedent -- a very scary and ugly one. So I'm hopeful that this time they'll get it right. We keep hearing from high-ranking law enforcement officials how homegrown right-wing violence and terrorism is the biggest threat America currently faces, so this will be a real test of how seriously they are taking this threat. Hopefully the whole thing will indeed fizzle and the cops will be mostly bored out of their minds listening to all the amplified drivel and conspiratorial lunacy. Hopefully it will be sparsely attended. But if things go wrong in any way, this time the cops need to be prepared for it. As they really should have been last time.


[Program Note: There will be no new Friday Talking Points column tomorrow. I will try to post a re-run column so there's at least something appearing, but I have prior commitments for the day and will be unable to write. Just to warn everyone in advance. New Friday columns will resume next week.]

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


22 Comments on “Policing Saturday's Pro-Insurrectionist Rally”

  1. [1] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    What happened yesterday? In all the years I have been following you I do not recall you ever turning OFF the comments before. Is everything OK?

  2. [2] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Too many mentions of the former president, and even some quotes I think I saw as I skimmed over the piece. No interest on my part in reading anything about or by the guy, so I skipped this one. Looking forward to future essays!

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    The fence is going up again in anticipation of Saturday's pro-insurrectionist rally. That seems like an intelligent and reasonable thing to do. But even that might not have stopped the mob, back in January.

    If the fence was up on January 6th there would have been a far more prepared and capable force going a long with it.

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    I'm also tired of all things Cheetogod but because he has the track record of stirring up the whackos he needs to be kept track of. Oh, and I like watching Trump's descent into legal hell. I'll never not consider that must watch TV.

    At least we don't have to deal with the daily Twitter and Facebook outrages.

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Was the Comment Section Closed event a technical oversite* or a ploy to gin up enthusiasm for the funding drive? PsiOps and stuff?

    aka PEBKAC,


  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Elizabeth...come back to us.

  7. [7] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I know!

    This will work for sure,

    My Top 10 Canadian Bands

    Has the usual suspects (Rush, Neil, April Wine, The Guess Who, BTO, but no Prism.

    Who ees zees,"


    I know, for Sunday Night how about we feature under appreciated Rock bands, the ones we know are really obscure, but tasty?

  8. [8] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    ... and you can school us on the above named bands, perhaps.

  9. [9] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Let’s get one thing really clear — we need to STOP comparing the police’s response to the BLM protests with the police’s response to the January 6 failed insurrection that was disguised to look like it was a peaceful protest. One was in protest of the death of George Floyd and one was a coordinated attack on our Capitol and our democratic elections.

    Also, the police are not the ones who decided to end the protest so that Trump could get his photo op — that was done at the Trump White House’s order. The police just enforce the law. That said, here is something I wish that people would take a second to read and commit to memory:

    If the police tell you that a protest is over and that you must leave the area immediately — even if a court later determines that this violated your civil rights; you MUST leave the area immediately or you will be breaking the law!

    I do find it comical to hear those who scream about gutting the police and complaining about our “militarized” police being upset when they got to see firsthand on January 6th what happens when you get your wishes regarding the police granted. Had the police responded to the BLM protests the way they did on January 6th, DC would have been burned to the ground!

    Let’s not forget that it was not by coincidence that the January 6th “Stop the Steal Rally” just happened to be held at the date and time that Congress would be certifying the Electoral College votes from each state for the 2020 presidential election — it was meant to pressure Republicans to void the official count in hopes of allowing Trump to stay in power. The Trump administration made sure that the police response to the January 6 events would be deficient and that the National Guard would not be present to prevent any violence that “might” occur. It is ignorant to categorize the BLM protests as being no different than an attempt to overthrow our government through a violent insurrection.

  10. [10] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Rudy Quote of the week, in response to speculation that he was"drunk out of his mind" during his 9-11 so-called Commemoration speech.

    Yes I had a Scotch. But I was not drunk... I'm not an alcoholic. I use the word functioning. I don't know why I use the word functioning. I am not an alcoholic. I am 77 years old...I've never been treated for alcoholism.

  11. [11] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    But I suppose that this is an upgrade from A noun, a verb and 9-11, so there's that.

  12. [12] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    It is ignorant to categorize the BLM protests as being no different than an attempt to overthrow our government through a violent insurrection.

    But not in the world of right-TV. Majorities of Repugs think Trump won the election and that January 6th was a legitimate protest against the Big Steal. We regrettably live in two parallel universes.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I never left.

  14. [14] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (13)-
    Just like the Deathocrats. :D

  15. [15] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Mtb Caddy-
    Yes. The Deathocrat supporters and Republikiller supporters live in two parallel universes.

    And those two parallel universes are perpendicular to reality.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Caddy, you gotta love Helix! Seriously. They are from my home and current town!

    Make Me Do Anything You Want

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's so sad that I have to work all day today and tomorrow ... see y'all Sunday Night for a psychedelic evening of tunes!

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I don't think most people comparing the police response are equating the BLM protests and Jan 6 as equal.

    The whole point of the comparison is that the BLM protest and Jan 6 are not equal and the police responses were an over response to the BLM protests and under response to Jan 6.

    What you seem to be doing is similar to claims that say both CMPs are corrupted by big money and neither is worth sdupporting somehow means that the CMPs are equal in all ways.

    I guess old habits die hard.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    By the way, that was a Helix cover of A Foot in Cold Water song, another fine Canadian rock band from the seventies...

    Make Me Do Anything You Want

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I know, for Sunday Night how about we feature under appreciated Rock bands, the ones we know are really obscure, but tasty?

    I like it!

    You know, Canada is the home of the underappreciated rock band. That's a little joke. :)

  21. [21] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Haha,no. Not a joke.

    More like your religion.;D

  22. [22] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Okay, Weigantia. CW is on vacation today. I'm going to try writing my own Talking Points tonight (and over the weekend) and I welcome all of you to join me.

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