Insurrection and Whataboutism

Insurrection and Whataboutism

One of my relatives posted the following on Facebook:

Hey Face Book fact checkers.....please check this out as I have read several things.  Is it true that the Mayor of DC shut off everyone's cell phone during the riot or before.  Also, who took all the posed pictures I see of everyone holding guns or hiding behind chairs.  If it was the press, why were they allowed to just keep taking pictures when everyone else was afraid and trying to stay out of the way.  Alot of things do not make sense.  Why were the doors opened allowing people to enter.  I have been don't just walk in.  At this point I dont trust the press since they have been lying for several years about everything.  Somebody reliable check this stuff and out.  One more thing....why are the democrats calling for people to resign and quit when all summer they never said a thing about all the leaders in these cities where killing and violence went on.  Or about the leaders that told people to go into public places and uproot tables and yell and cause violence to innocent people because they didn't like them.  Come on....what is good for one is good for all....

Assuming that these are genuine questions and not a whataboutism copypasta, let's take a stab at them, shall we?

Were cell phones shut off during the insurrection?

Not something I've heard, and not something I can find any report of online.  There was a rumor that cell phones were shut off during the protests in June; Snopes traced the rumor to a single Twitter account and there was no corroborating evidence that this actually occurred.

Edit:  I heard a reference on CNN today that some people near the Capitol were having trouble getting data on their smartphones, and asking those who did have data access to relay instructions from Trump's tweets.

Who took the pictures of the insurrection-in-progress?

They come from a number of sources.  News organizations were present and filming some of what took place outside.  For their protection, these news crews had security details with them. However, some of these news crews had equipment destroyed or were attacked; at that point, their security details insisted that they withdraw to a safe distance.  Some were able to continue inside and continue documenting what they saw occur inside the Capitol.

In the videos from journalists, you can also see that many people present had smartphones and were taking pictures of themselves and those around them. Many of the photos and videos were taken by the insurrectionists themselves and livestreamed or posted to a variety of social media platforms.  News organizations had people actively processing these clips for more information as the situation unfolded.  Due to poor security practices, almost all content posted to the far-right social media site Parler (including content the posters thought they had deleted) was archived and made available to law enforcement and the public.

It's not the first time someone's social media postings have provided the evidence for their convictions, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be the largest single event where this occurs.

Why were the doors opened?

Did you miss the videos of people smashing in windows or mobbing police officers trying to hold a door?  People got inside, then opened easier paths for others, presumably.  There were some instances where police appeared to deliberately remove barriers.  I'm sure that will be investigated; if some police officers were complicit in the assault, that would be problematic.

Whether you "trust the press" or not, video evidence of what happened from both press and individual sources is worth considering.  Feel free to discount the commentary that surrounds the videos if you like; analyze what the videos show actually occurring.

Why call for resignations now, but not during the summer?

First, because the summer protests were largely peaceful, despite the way they have been cast by certain media outlets.  93% of the demonstrations involved no serious harm to people or property by protestors.  That doesn't excuse the 7% that did; people who committed or incited crimes during the protest should of course be prosecuted.

The assaults on the US capitol and other state capitols, on the other hand, uniformly involved serious damage to people and property; the insurrectionists brought prisoner restraints, left bullet holes, were chanting "Hang Mike Pence," and built a gallows. Posts on Parler contained explicit plans to kill senators. I think we can safely assume that if they had succeeded in reaching Congress, there would have been many more than the five fatalities which actually occurred.

Nonetheless, police were more likely to use force on BLM protests than on other demonstrations, and there was government violence against journalists covering the protests in more than 100 incidents across dozens of states.

(Incidentally, there are documented cases of far-right agents provocateurs stirring up violence at BLM protests, while no verified far-left infiltration has been found to this point.)

The calls for resignations on the part of the Capitol Police are because the plans for the assault on the Capitol were known days in advance, yet they were woefully underprepared.  Compare that to the police response to the BLM protests and you can hopefully understand why that underpreparedness is seen as either an egregious or a willful failure.

Second, because one set of protests was calling for an end to lawlessness on the part of those who are supposed to enforce the law, while the other was calling for the overthrow of a democratically elected president.

And by the way – I totally agree we should get rid of "the leaders that told people to ... cause violence to innocent people because they didn't like them." Coincidentally, there's a vote on that today.