This post is based off of a series of tweets that I made in response to a comment about the impeachment trial. That comment stated that Trump did not incite the insurrection at the Capitol, at least not under the standards alleged. My response followed.
It’s absolutely incitement. The mob did exactly what [Trump] wanted them to do. One police officer lost his life, two others were so traumatized that they took theirs, one lost an eye and is now blinded, another lost three fingers. Smashed spinal disks, cracked ribs, an officer stabbed, traumatic brain injuries that may leave officers permanently brain damaged. An officer forced to shoot an insurrectionist.
These officers are going to have to live with the memories of this for the rest of their lives. I know what they are going through because I’ve been there, though nowhere near the degree that they are. I’ve been shot at, I’ve been in riots, I’ve had bottles and rocks thrown at me and my fellow officers . . . and I’ve had the nightmares, the sudden fear when something triggers the memory, and so on.
Thankfully, I’m out of that business and the problems have eased, but they never go away.
They are never going to go away for the officers at the Capitol, and Trump incited that.
Now is the time for him to be held accountable.
Maybe I’m too focused on this, maybe I’m too biased against Donald Trump. Lord knows, I’ve never been a fan nor a supporter of his since the 1990s. So, in my view the case is clear-cut, but that’s not what this is really about.
I spent over 20 years on the street, worked in a major city’s housing projects, at an airport, and in a university environment. I had some rough times, as I noted above, but thankfully went through less than one-tenth of what these officers went through. Even so, I had issues until I left police work. I occasionally still have issues, but only in a more limited way now, mostly insomnia or minor bad dreams. I still carry a gun every day, and I always sit facing the door, because I’m aware of the bad things that can happen without notice.
The Capitol and Metro Police officers went through much worse, and they are likely having a feeling of betrayal in their leadership right now. It’s come out that the leaders had warning but did not adequately prepare. The Capitol Police union is furious enough that they are preparing to have a vote of “no confidence” in the police leadership.
Of course, the officers have no confidence, the leadership was a joke. How is the officer supposed to view his leadership after he was pulled out of the doorway by Jeffrey Sabol, who held him down with a baton while Peter Stager beat the officer with a flagpole, American flag proudly attached? Both Sabol and Stager could legally have been shot by other officers, but is that wise when you’re outnumbered 10 or 20 to 1? The leadership had knowledge of the threat, yet did nothing?
When you look at the mugshot of Sabol, what’s your view of his attitude? I think that he’s lost it. Reportedly after trying to flee the country to Switzerland, he attempted suicide and was hospitalized before he was arrested and denied bond. He’s now being held without bond, as is Stager, who was caught in Arkansas. They are likely to be held accountable, but does it look like he’s concerned? Not really.
If you want to know why police develop an us vs. them attitude, you have to look no further than this insurrection and the response of the leadership and the public. These officers were hung out to dry, yet they still fought back, for hours, without much hope of help. They didn’t break and run, and some did incredibly brave things. Another officer, a police lieutenant, had to shoot an insurrectionist in order to protect the Representatives who were still trying to get out of the area.
I wrote about that incident, and why I thought that the shooting was justified, but you’ve got people claiming that the insurrectionist was a “patriot” who was doing what she thought was right—which is crap, but how do you think that affects the officer who pulled the trigger. I never had to pull the trigger, fortunately, but I’ve met numerous officers who have done so. Each and every one of them was affected by the fact that they had to take a life. All had suffered because of their actions to protect themselves and the public.
The Capitol Police leadership say that counseling is “available” for any officer that wants it—which is a cop-out because few, if any officers are going to seek out counseling. In the police culture, it’s a sign of weakness, a sign that you can’t hold it together. What the Capitol Police need to do is to make the counselling mandatory, to bring in counsellors and staff to help the officers deal with the mental trauma from the event, and the fact that one section of the country doesn’t care about accountability or what happened to these officers on January 6, 2021.
What’s worse, is that is the segment that claims to be in support of law and order, but instead is dismissive of what happened at the Capitol. How are the officers supposed to feel?
More importantly, how do we make sure that the officers get the support and help that they will need to move forward?