Kelly Hawes

I heard from a few readers concerning my column on the effort to make the assault on the U.S. Capitol seem normal.

One reader liked the column.

“I’ll try to drown out the negative responses from Trump naysayers,” he wrote. “That was a perfect article.”

Another guy was a little less impressed. He summed up his thoughts in the subject line of his email.

“You’re an idiot,” he wrote.

This reader insisted I was wrong to suggest some folks might be trying to play down what happened at President Donald J. Trump’s “stop the steal” rally.

“No one is trying to minimize Jan. 6 at the Capitol,” he wrote.

He said the common denominator in all of the recent protests across the country was the display of violence.

“The ‘cause’ that is being furthered in each event is different and unique, and so your ‘has never been to ....’ whatever you said, can be said of each event,” he wrote. “Or as Pelosi said about rioting, ‘People do what people do.’”

I could be wrong, I guess, but as I read his words, I almost had the feeling he was trying to minimize what happened during the assault on the Capitol.

Another reader accused me of having a double standard when it came to mob violence.

“You can deny it all you want,” she wrote, “but the fact is that Republicans denounce all riots and violence, while Democrats only denounce the Capitol mob. …”

Oh, they might decry violence, she said, but Democrats will never call out the culprits. Groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa are responsible for “huge amounts of violence,” she said, but “Democrat politicians and media hacks” make excuses or even encourage them “because they are Democrats.”

Just to be clear, she had nothing good to say about the “bunch of clowns” who invaded the Capitol. They had no chance, she said, of overturning the presidential election.

“They were an impotent, unarmed group that killed no one, unlike the violent groups on the left,” she wrote. “The only person killed was a woman, the Trump supporter, who was shot by a Capitol policeman. No one was shot by the mob. They were a lousy bunch, condemned by both parties, unlike the leftist violent mobs that are only despised by Republicans.”

There’s a lot to digest there, not the least of which is her use of the word “despised” in reference to “leftist violent mobs.” The various factions in this country will never agree on politics, but do we really have to hate each other?

I was also struck by her claim that only one person died in the Capitol riot. Actually, at least five people died, one of them a Capitol police officer named Brian Sicknick.

Police initially reported that Sicknick had been beaten with a fire extinguisher, but subsequent reports say investigators are at odds over that claim. There have been no official updates, but anonymous sources quote medical experts as saying the officer did not die of blunt force trauma. Sicknick’s brother, Ken, told ProPublica the family had been told the officer suffered a stroke resulting from a blood clot.

Police are still investigating the officer’s death, but at this writing, they’ve made no arrests. Still, it seems premature to suggest he didn’t die as a result of the rampage.

It’s also inaccurate to say the mob was unarmed. At least one guy arrested after the event had a book bag containing a semi-automatic handgun. Police also seized an assault rifle, a crossbow and 11 Molotov cocktails. Other rioters had lead pipes and pepper spray.

My reader closed her note with yet another way to describe me.

“You are a real jewel, Kelly,” she wrote.

My guess is she was being sarcastic.

Kelly Hawes is a columnist for CNHI News Indiana. He can be reached at kelly.hawes@indianamediagroup.com. Find him on Twitter @Kelly_Hawes.

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