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Letter: Start with the facts

In order to deal with any situation, one must have the facts. I watched the events of Jan. 6 starting with the coverage of the president’s speech and then the speech of Ted Cruz.  I watched on multiple stations: CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and CSPAN.  I watched other videos afterward on television and on line. 

This is what I saw. The president spoke to supporters. He had urged them to come to Washington, D.C., to stop Vice President Pence and Republican Congresspeople from approving the results of an election that Joe Biden had won by more than 7 million votes and by a 306-232 vote in the electoral college. That is the first fact one must know: Joe Biden won the election as verified and certified by election officials in 50 states and multiple federal and state courts. 

At the Washington rally, Mr. Trump told his supporters that they needed to march to the Capitol Building to stop the certification of the election. Donald Trump Jr. spoke, warning non-supporters that “We’re coming for you.” Mr. Giuliani, Trump’s, spokesperson and lawyer, told the crowd to engage in “trial by combat.” The crowd marched to the Capitol Building, fought police, pushed over the barricades at the perimeter and swarmed up the Capitol steps. Some carried American flags, some carried Trump flags and some carried Confederate flags. At the Capitol Building doors, a mob physically overwhelmed the police and used weapons or whatever was at hand to smash windows to get inside.  Some cops fought the mob, some stepped aside, and one, Eugene Goodman, lured the mob up steps to protect Congress members. One cop was beaten by insurgents with an American flag. At this time, those police were all who were left to separate the angry mob from the members of Congress meeting to certify the election. I saw some members of the mob carrying ropes and chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.” Some invaded the offices of House members. Some carried zip ties and could be heard talking of capturing Congresspeople. While House and Senate members of both parties hid under desks or were rushed to safe places, the mob sacked the Capitol. Five people died. Brian Sicknick, a policeman protecting the Capitol and the Congressmembers there, was assaulted and killed by the mob.

These are the facts. It was Jan. 6. It was a Wednesday. Congress was in session. The president spoke and told his supporters to march to the Capitol and stop Pence and Republican members from certifying the election of Joe Biden.  The crowd marched to the Capitol, breached the barricades, fought police and broke into the Capitol, attempting to stop the vote. The Capitol was sacked, people were injured and five died. A policeman performing his duty died. 

This is the starting point, the facts. Do not believe “alternative facts” or alternative realities. To go forward, we need to start here.

Ted Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea