“The Capitol Insurrection,” “the Siege,” “the armed insurrection in Washington, D.C.” It’s also been described as a “military-style formation” of “anti-government right-wing fringe organizations,” “the storming of the Capitol,” “the Capitol riot,” “armed” protests, and even “a medieval battle.”
And now it’s been called “the Capitol bombing.” A bombing! By no less an authority than the next attorney general, Merrick Garland.
This is getting ridiculous.
It was bad enough when someone decided to call it the “Capitol Insurrection.” It was not a good choice. I don’t know who it was – maybe Nancy Pelosi. But it was not appropriate to call it an “Insurrection.” It never rose to the meaning of that word, which conjures up dire synonyms like “Insurgence,” “Revolt” and “Rebellion.”
Do any of those words sound like a conflict that took just one life – a woman who was gunned down by an as-yet-unnamed Capitol policeman? I hardly think so. Do any of those synonyms suggest a conflict that lasted only a few hours? No.
It was a bad name and we all knew it the first time it was used. It was designed to inflame, to divide, to confuse. And indeed, it has inflamed and confused people to the point that Biden’s AG pick rachets up the rhetoric to “bombing.”
There have indeed been bombings of the Capitol in our history.
And they were all the handiwork of committed leftists.
The first came in 1954. A group of four armed Puerto Rican nationalists indiscriminately opened fire on the House floor from the visitors’ gallery and unfurled a Puerto Rican flag. Five members of Congress were wounded. The four assailants – three men and a woman – were apprehended and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, which Democrat President Jimmy Carter commuted in 1979.
That was the closest thing to an insurrection at the Capitol. Five members of Congress wounded!
The next incident came in 1971 when the Weather Underground did indeed bomb the Capitol. A bomb planted by the radical leftists to protest the U.S.-backed invasion of Laos was detonated in a restroom on the Senate side of the Capitol, causing extensive damage but no casualties. They perpetrated far more damage elsewhere – including killings in banks and police stations.
This one did not in itself warrant the “insurrection” label. But the Weather Underground would have been proud to be called “insurrectionists.”
The last incident came on Nov. 7, 1983, when the Capitol was again bombed by leftists. A thunderous explosion tore through the second floor of the Capitol’s north wing. The adjacent halls were virtually deserted. Many lives were thus spared. Minutes before the blast, a caller claiming to represent the “Armed Resistance Unit” had warned the Capitol switchboard that a bomb had been placed near the chamber in retaliation for recent U.S. military involvement in Grenada and Lebanon. Officials calculated damages of $250,000.
Just a bombing, not an insurrection. But it was the first of a pattern by the left-wing “Armed Resistance Unit.” Following a five-year investigation, federal agents arrested six members of the so-called Resistance Conspiracy in May 1988 and charged them with bombings of the Capitol, Ft. McNair and the Washington Navy Yard. In 1990, a federal judge sentenced Marilyn Buck, Laura Whitehorn and Linda Evans to lengthy prison terms for conspiracy and malicious destruction of government property. The court dropped charges against three co-defendants, already serving extended prison sentences for related crimes.
Then in 1998, an armed man stormed through a U.S. Capitol security checkpoint and opened fire, fatally wounding two police officers, and made his way to the Republican Whip’s office of Representative Tom DeLay. A tourist also was injured. The two slain officers became the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
This was perhaps the most serious and deadly attack on the Capitol of all of them. Yet no one called it an act of insurrection. It was deadly and it was armed – unlike the work of that MAGA crowd.
So remember all this the next time you hear someone absurdly talk about the “Capitol Insurrection” or “the Armed Rebellion” or the “Capitol Bombing” of January 6.
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