January 6 Insurrectionists Seemed To Know Just The Right Crappy Windows To Break At The Capitol

Right Wing Extremism
January 6 Insurrectionists Seemed To Know Just The Right Crappy Windows To Break At The Capitol

Reportedly, no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition, and it seems as if the US Capitol never expected the January 6 insurrection.

According to the Los Angeles Times, four major access points the MAGA mob used to storm the Capitol were among at least a dozen ground-floor windows and glass-paned doors that weren't recently reinforced.

The majority of the Capitol's 658 single-pane windows were quietly upgraded during a 2017-19 renovation of the historic building. The original wooden frames and glass were covered with a second metal frame containing bomb-resistant glass.

But planners skipped about a dozen ground-floor windows, including some located in doors, because they were deemed to be low risk in the event of implosion, largely due to their discreet or shielded location, or because the building couldn't structurally handle the load of the heavier frames.

The Capitol was prepared for another 9/11 not a domestic terror attack without bombs. The vulnerable windows and glass-paned doors were access points for the mob. The Times suggests this was the result of "sheer luck, real-time trial and error, or advance knowledge by rioters." The last one is concerning, of course, and Democratic House Reps. Steve Cohen from Tennessee and John Yarmuth from Kentucky said they both saw GOP Sedition Caucus member Lauren Boebert leading a tour group of the closed-to-the-public building; Rep. Mikie Sherrill described it as Boebert "leading groups on 'reconnaissance' tours of the building."

"Congressman [John] Yarmuth refreshed my recollection yesterday," Cohen told Jim Sciutto on "CNN Newsroom." "We saw Boebert taking a group of people for a tour sometime after the 3rd and before the 6th. … Now whether these people were people that were involved in the insurrection or not, I do not know."

January 3 would've been Boebert's first official day in Congress, and she's giving people tours? In a normal world, that would seem suspicious enough to make life difficult for Boebert, but she remains a member of Congress in good standing. We can only hope she's gerrymandered out of a job.

The first insurrection suspects are seen on video breaking through the police line (and not getting shot to death) before running past 15 reinforced windows. They headed straight for a recessed area on the Senate side of the building. Congress members inside had not started to evacuate, and just two unreinforced windows and two doors with breakable glass separated them from the physical manifestation of Donald Trump's fury.

This summer, Congress approved $300 million in emergency security funds. Presumably, it won't cost even half that to upgrade the windows broken on January 6. Senate Sergeant of Arms Karen Gibson released this reassuring statement: "The windows that were broken on Jan. 6 are obviously a key area of focus." Jesus H., why can't these people speak Human? Are they fixing the damn windows or not?

Millions were spent fortifying the Capitol after after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1998 shooting of two Capitol Police, and of course the world-changing 9/11 terrorist attack. But the planners apparently couldn't imagine a sitting US president inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. Simpler times, we guess.

“Nobody ever talked about the potential of an insurrection and thousands of people storming the Capitol," said former architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman, who held the role from 1997 to 2007.

Really? Seems like something worth discussing.

An engineering review will reportedly determine what “updates are possible considering the weight of the ballistic glass." A House Administration Committee aide cautions: “They're very old windows."

Just so we're clear about the ongoing threat: A CNN poll from last month revealed that 78 percent of Republicans believe President Joe Biden lost the election he won. A September Economist/YouGov poll found that only 26 percent of Republicans believe Biden won the presidency “legitimately," which is down from 33 percent in January.

Meanwhile, Trump is readying for his next close-up, and his one-time BFF Steve Bannon is talking about having “shock troops" prepared to take over the administrative state. (No, he doesn't literally mean armed troops, unless he does, but officials who obey the law and not Trump's whim is what held off his last coup attempt.)

The Big Lie is winning. We need to fix the damn windows.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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