Capitol Riot: Student Voices Ring Out
By Daisy Penaloza
The events that took place on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at our nation’s Capitol Building have rattled everyone, including cadets and students at Southeast Academy and JGHS.
Students in Shock
Many cadets watched in disbelief as events unfolded. Daniel Ramos, a junior at SEA, shares his impressions: “I feel ashamed [of] the people who made a fool of our country and [of] themselves.” Similarly, JGHS senior Joseph Nunez laments, “It is ridiculous and disgusting that these people with privilege are doing an act of domestic terrorism on our country.”
Our very democracy was challenged by these rioters, and students are questioning the motives behind it. “Why would they disrespect their country’s symbol of a democratic government?” asks Cpl. Sarah Shim. An article in the Washington Post attempts to answer that question. Trump lost the election, yet he convinced his supporters that it was “stolen” from them. President Trump further encouraged followers to go to the Capitol to intimidate Congress and stop the certification of the electoral college votes. This dangerous rhetoric is what instigated these heinous actions.
The United States is a country at war with itself, and this civil unrest will have long lasting ramifications. Senior 1st Lt. Nieto believes that our current leaders share much of the blame because not “all politicians” have a positive influence on their followers. Additionally, she states that, “Opposing political views not only have an impact on an individual, but [also on] all of society.”
All eyes are upon our nation. Since we as a country have wreaked “havoc” on ourselves, observes 1st Lt. Kushal Tavva, this insurrection has, “turned us into the laughing stock of the world.” SEA Journalism staff editor and reporter Ace Castro adds to this sentiment, stating, “Not only are our enemies laughing at us, but our allies might… be embarrassed to be ASSOCIATED with us!”
Students Call Out Inequity
The sharp inequity between how these mostly white rioters were treated as opposed to the treatment inflicted upon the protesters of color during the Black Lives Matter movement last summer did not go unnoticed by students.
Sophomore Paul Vargas noted that, had this been a BLM riot, “They would have armed guards and armor around the Capitol.” JGHS senior Kaitlyn M. agrees. The BLM protesters were calling for “basic human rights,” yet they were met with armed guards in “riot gear.”
Jon Schuppe of NBC News noted that while some police officers did try to deal with the insurrectionists, “Others took selfies and appeared to offer no resistance, allowing dozens of rioters to leave without being arrested.”
But not all students see it this way. At least one student believes that the difference in police response has more to do with the fact that the authorities learned a valuable lesson about using excessive force and less to do with discrimination or white privilege. Cadet Eric Rodrigueza explains, “I believe that the reasoning for [police] lack of action against the protesters/rioters is that they were trying to prevent what had happened before.” Rodrigueza adds, “I truly believe this is the reason why [the police] choose to let the protesters/rioters enter the U.S Capitol.”
No matter where we stand politically, I hope we can all agree that what happened at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6th was wrong.
Click here to see more student reactions to this historic event.