Opinion: I Consider it Dishonest to Compare the Insurrection to the Summer Riots

Walter Rhein

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It is upsetting to see how divided the United States has become. The January 6th committee is in the process of revealing the results of a year-long inquiry into the insurrection of 2021. Unfortunately, many Americans have dug in their heels and refuse to watch the conclusions.

Many people claim that they don’t want to watch the presentation because they already know what they are going to say. But how can that be the truth? The committee has gathered up sworn testimony from Trump administration insiders.

Why would so many people in America trust the validity of a tweet on social media over a statement given under oath?

Why do so many people defend individuals who refuse to make sworn statements?

The United States is only as powerful as its laws. When there are instances of violence, we need to have investigations. People need to be held accountable.

If people have nothing to hide, why don’t they testify under oath?

I’ve heard many people try to compare the January 6th insurrection to the social justice riots that took place in the summer of 2020. These two things are not comparable for a variety of reasons.

First of all, what sense does it make to say, “Well, what about the riots?”

What about them? Nobody is saying that riots are ever justified. When you signal the summer riots, all you are doing is emphasizing the crimes of the January 6th insurrection.

One big difference between the summer riots and the January 6th insurrection is that the insurrection was an attempt to impede the peaceful transfer of power.

That is a major difference.

The January 6th insurrection represented an attack on our government. The summer riots destroyed property but were not an attempt to overthrow our whole way of life.

It’s also important to recognize that the January 6th insurrection was politically motivated. The attack on the Capitol after Trump gave a speech. The Democratic party had nothing to do with the summer riots.

The summer riots did not involve a political candidate who was accused of inciting Americans to violence.

It’s also problematic to make a lump comparison. When you make a comparison, it’s important to be specific. Which riot are you talking about? Who was involved?

Unlike people who are dismissive of the results of the January 6th investigation, I would be happy to watch a presentation of an inquiry into the riots. I like to be informed. I like to see the evidence for myself, do my research, and make up my own opinion.

I don’t like being told what to think.

I believe that statements given under oath bear more credibility than random statements given on right-wing television programs.

If you look at actual arrest statistics, it’s clear that right-wing protesters are more often violent than those on the left.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told a congressional panel that extremists driven by white supremacist or anti-government ideologies have been responsible for most deadly attacks in the U.S. over the past few years—Alanna Durkin Richer, Colleen Long, and Michael Balsamo

This was also true during the protests in the summer of 2020.

Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend—Jason Wilson and Robert Evans

When people try to deflect from the violence of the January 6th insurrection by signaling to the summer riots, they’re only citing another example of right-wing violence.

Of course, the bigger problem is that these deflections are made by individuals who refuse to accept the results of investigations. They refuse to believe the conclusions of investigators because those conclusions do not fit the things they prefer to believe.

I denounce any attack on our government and any destruction of property. We must hold the people who engage in such acts accountable. We must determine who is responsible for those attacks by having lawful investigations. We must then listen to the results of the investigations and act accordingly.

Many Americans have already decided who is at fault and they refuse to look at the evidence. This philosophy allows guilty people to walk free, and it allows innocent people to take the blame. Our country needs to do better.



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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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