Letter from the Editors: A Response to the Chaos at the Capitol

Letter from the Editors: A Response to the Chaos at the Capitol

Yesterday afternoon, Trump supporters, incited by the President, who opposed the results of the election breached the United States Capitol Building. As Congress was confirming electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden, President Trump denied the results of the election and told his supporters to “go to the Capitol.” The Capitol was evacuated and Congressmen were told to shelter in place as crowds broke past the barricades and entered the building. Some within the crowd were armed, but additional law enforcement was delayed, creating tension within the administration. While President Trump eventually urged his supporters to go home peacefully, Vice President Pence, as well as other Congressmen who have previously expressed support for the President, said that the attack on the Capitol “will not be tolerated.” 

To put this into perspective, the Capitol hasn’t been breached since 1814 when the British invaded during the War of 1812. The Capitol is a federal building where the legislative branch resides, which makes this an act of domestic terrorism and a possible act of treason by the President, not an act of patriotism or democracy. 

As a news organization, KTR recognizes the importance of accurate reporting during this time. We understand that a contributing factor to the events of yesterday was the misinformation that news sources and politicians alike have been spreading, leading these crowds to believe that the outcome of the election was fraudulent and inaccurate. We would like to acknowledge that we as journalists are committed to always reporting the truth because we are seeing what happens when we fail to do so.

Additionally, as Charlottesville residents, we remember a similar experience of this in our hometown on a smaller but just as harmful scale. Although we were young, we all vividly recall the fear and chaos of August 11th and 12th, 2017, when a similar group gathered in our streets. We also remember the failure of law enforcement to stop the violence and prevent death and destruction before it was too late. Similarly, the events of yesterday could’ve been stopped or contained had law enforcement acted as more than a bystander. These events should not be as common as they are now in a country that holds itself to such a high standard in the world stage. We as a generation should not be so familiar with these events happening so frequently and so close to our homes. We can no longer dismiss them.

Despite the events of yesterday, politicians reacted to restore peace and democracy.  Congress was able to return to session and certify the electoral votes for Joe Biden, and President Trump formally announced there would be a peaceful transition of power on January 20th. This gives us hope that our country will be able to return to unity and peace while remaining committed to rectifying the injustices and oppression in American history. We also hope that within our community at C.H.S., as the future of our country, that witnessing this act of domestic terrorism will encourage us to be more reasonable, empathetic, and open-minded as we work together to solve the many problems that our generation faces.