Five people are dead.
They just announced the fifth death from Wednesday’s coup attempt at the nation’s capital. Police Officer Brian Sicknick took more than 24 hours to die after being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher while trying to protect our Congress from the mob of terrorists. According to Reuters, he returned to his divisional office after the attack, and then he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. I can only imagine the pain he suffered, and what his family is suffering now.
Have I been critical of the police here on this blog? Very much so. But this particular police officer was doing exactly what he was supposed to do, what we’ve been raised to believe policemen are for: he was protecting a house from a violent break-in. The house was our house, the United States Congress.
This reminds me of EWTN personality Raymond Arroyo, who yesterday made light of a video of the terrorists discharging a fire extinguisher inside the capitol building.
I don’t know if this particular fire extinguisher or another was the murder weapon, of course. I just know that five people are dead.
Our old friend Abby Johnson was also at the riot, of course. She said as much in a facebook post yesterday. This post, like Arroyo’s, was hastily deleted:
Johnson tries to blame this all on Antifa, while admitting to being on the steps of the capitol building during the rampage, part of the chaos, instead of back in the protest area. And at first I admit I thought she was lying: just as she has reportedly lied about her conversion, just as she lied about my friend Father Stephanos when she libeled him, just as she seems to have lied at least once about the race of her son. I thought she was too cowardly to take part in an insurrection. I believed she was at the rally because she shared a selfie of herself there. But I thought she must have run off once the violence began. She strikes me as anything but courageous, or else she wouldn’t be a serial liar. But, in fact, I was wrong. A later news video surfaced showing Abby Johnson, or else someone who looks exactly like her with the same coat, haircut and makeup that she wore in her selfie moments before, bouncing around with the protesters right near the capitol steps. You can see the relevant video here, and I also took screenshots:
I now believe that she was in the riot, not only on her hearsay but on video evidence as well. Of course, there could still be some perfectly innocent explanation.
Both Johnson’s facebook post announcing she was standing on the steps where she shouldn’t have been and Arroyo’s flippant tweet have been deleted. Not apologized for, just deleted. They are not the kind of people who apologize.
And five people are dead. Because of an unhinged president who fancies himself a strongman; because of a spoiled playboy who can’t take “no” for an answer. And because of his enablers, including the public right-wing career Catholics: Johnson, the Gordon brothers, Taylor Marshall, Saint Michael’s Media, Lifesite News, Arroyo and all the talking heads at EWTN, Frank Pavone. They propped him up and marketed him to Americans as the moral choice. They did this because it was profitable for them to do so. They did it in order to appear pro-life. The capitol has been ransacked, the country is a laughingstock, and five people are dead.
Well, of course, it was more than five. Heather Heyer is also dead. She was murdered by an American alt right terrorist like the revolutionaries who attacked the capitol, at another rally like the one this week. The president said those terrorists were “fine people.” That makes six.
Actually, it was more than six. Quite a bit more. We may never know the exact number. We know that the abortion rates have bounced back up since Trump has been elected, and that they skyrocketed in 2020. All those unborn babies the Catholic Right Wing protests that they care about, so much so that they’d lay aside every other possible concern to save them. It will probably be a few years before we know how badly Trump’s single term in office went for the unborn.
About twenty-five people were killed in the protests after the murder of George Floyd, and the president lobbed tear gas at peaceful protesters and repeated a traditional white supremacist call to violence.
Twenty-one people died in immigrant detention in 2020 alone, if you care about immigrants. And that’s not counting the lifelong emotional trauma deliberately inflicted on immigrant children under President Trump. The president has always encouraged his disciples to hate and fear immigrants from South of the U.S. border. One of his fans murdered twenty-two people in a terrorist attack in a Wal Mart in 2019.
As I write this, 374,124 Americans have died of the COVID-19 pandemic. When you read this it will be more. The death toll was predicted to be more like sixty thousand, back in early Spring when we were all in lockdown and carefully social distancing. If we had somehow gone on social distancing and remaining locked down for long enough, three hundred fourteen thousand Americans might well still be alive. The death toll has been far lower in countries all over the world who have adopted aggressive lockdowns and provided for their citizens to be able to do so without starving to death. But then the president announced that “the cure cannot be worse than the disease” and his followers listened. There were riots against lockdowns, which the president egged on. There were protests against masking to keep people safe, which the president encouraged. No aid was given to people so they could afford to stay home, at least not in the months of April through December. April through December is too long to go without any pay, so people went back to work. We learned that the president knew full well this would happen and chose not to tell us. We know that he seems to have wanted people infected rather than kept safe. And now hundreds of thousands are dead.
I’m not even going to get into the number of people the president’s actions have killed overseas, because American presidents are always ordering the deaths of civilians overseas and I can’t very well blame that on one man. But Trump murdered his share.
And in the months of November and December, Trump’s refusal to concede an election despite providing no actual evidence that he won, his insistence that he had been robbed, his theatrical conspiracy mongering, stirred up his disciples even more. They came to the National Mall when he tweeted that they should. Abby Johnson and thousands of others were proud to be there. He addressed them personally. He told them to march to Congress, and the protesters did. They ransacked the capitol. Afterwards, President Trump called them “special.”
Whatever the enormous, shameful, jaw-dropping death toll was before, we can add five to it. The latest was Officer Sicknick.
There will be more.
It’s not going to stop just because he’s leaving office in thirteen days or sooner. The things he fomented will keep going on. The crises he failed to avert will keep claiming lives.
And those right-wing, pro-life career Catholic talking heads will laud him to the skies, because it is profitable for them to do so. And those who speak out against their obvious lies will be chided for being bad Catholics and anti-life.
I am angry, and have been for a long time. I think anyone with a conscience should be angry, particularly my fellow Catholics.
But at the moment, in all honesty, I am chiefly just exhausted.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross.