In an emergency situation, minutes matter and response time is critical because minutes can mean the difference between life and death. According to the Department of Homeland Security the nationwide police response time to an active shooter is 6-10 minutes. The timeline varies from state to state, in Chicago it’s 3.5 minutes, in Los Angeles 5.7 and in Seattle it’s a full 7 minutes. In 2013, the police response time in Detroit was an alarmingly high 50 minutes, that number had fallen to 12.5 minutes by 2018. Most victims are shot within the first 3 minutes, that’s why police train so diligently to improve response times.
There’s an old Latin proverb of military tactics that says “Praemonitus, Praemunitus” loosely translated means “Forewarned is forearmed”. To put that in even simpler terms, knowledge in advance enables one to be prepared. If the weather forecast calls for rain, take an umbrella, a coach will have his players watch game tapes of the opposing team to gain an edge, a tactical advantage. Which leads us to the question, why was security so unprepared and understaffed for the events of January 6, 2021, as the U.S. Capitol was under a deadly siege.
For months prior to the attack social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were flooded with far-right extremists spreading their violent ideology, political polarization, conspiracy theories and a call to arms. On October 8, 2020, the FBI thwarted a domestic terror plot, orchestrated by a paramilitary group, calling themselves the Wolverine Watchmen. Spurred on by President Trump’s tweets to “Liberate Michigan”, the plan called for the abduction and murder of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI warned law enforcement agencies, including the Capitol Police, of the potential for extremist driven violence on January 6th, why were those warnings ignored?
After months of Donald Trump stoking the flames of violence and hate, spreading the ‘Big Lie’ of massive voter fraud, illegal ballot dumping, and thousands of votes being cast by the deceased resulting in a rigged and stolen election. The pent up anger reached a fever pitch and exploded with fury on January 6th, 2021. The word went out, on post by QAnon, the Proud Boys and extremist groups across the country to be ready for battle, with threats of killing police, Federal employees and Nancy Pelosi. Attacking with hand guns, assault rifles, Tasers, Molotov cocktails and even pipe bombs, these so called peaceful demonstrators were armed for war and Trump’s rhetoric on that day ignited a deadly insurrection.
Although the FBI placed Washington D.C. on “High Alert”, for unknown reasons they went against standard procedure and did not issue a formal threat assessment, why? The Capitol Police have an annual budget of $460 million and maintain a force of 2,200 officers. But, on Jan. 6th, only 500 hundred officers were on duty, leaving them woefully undermanned and unprepared, why? Without a detailed plan or direction from leadership, the Police were not issued riot gear or gas masks, instead they wore ordinary uniforms, why? Security protocol of high fencing and multiple barriers to be placed around the Capitol were ignored, instead single low barriers were installed around the perimeter, why? Without question there was a catastrophic failure of leadership.
The Pentagon initially denied permission to send in support, why? The Chief of the Capitol Police made 6 calls for reinforcements but was repeatedly denied, why? Lt. General Walter Piatt, director of the U.S. Army Staff, said he could not recommend sending in the National Guard, why? The first barriers were breached at 12:53, the final barriers were breached at 2:10, at 2:11, the rioters were breaking into the building, at 2:14 they were ransacking the Capitol, at 2:16 the Trump insurgents were in the Senate Chamber calling for the hanging of V.P. Mike Pence and the murder of Nancy Pelosi. Shortly after 3:00 the National Guard was deployed and they finally arrived on the scene at 5:40 p.m. but only after the violence was over, at that point why even bother.
Was the attack on our Nation’s Capitol just an unpredictable random act of mob violence, or a dark premeditated, fully orchestrated conspiracy to overthrow our Democracy. Forewarned is Forearmed...please stay safe my friends.