HOMELAND SECURITY – Following the violent riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the National Guard from several states have been mobilized and deployed to Washington, D.C. However, unlike prior deployments where the Guard was unarmed and used mostly for presence and crowd and traffic control, some of these troops are now armed and ready.
They will also be providing site security for the Capitol and in some areas of downtown D.C.
Approximately 6,200 National Guard troops have been flown into the nation’s capital from several nearby states. The troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia joined those from D.C. to help avoid a repeat of last week’s deadly chaos.
Additionally, a metal fence similar to the one previously erected around the White House now surrounds the Capitol grounds. Both National Guard troops and law enforcement officers are guarding the perimeter behind the fence.
Two Air Force veterans were killed and three others, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the storming of the Capitol by hundreds of rioters.
Some have labeled the riot — an ‘insurrection’ — that is a legal stretch. While it was a horrible, unacceptable criminal event — and I have strongly condemned it — I called it a criminal mob and riot with terroristic aspects — but not a coup or an insurrection.
I say ‘terroristic’ because some involved used physical violence for the express purpose of political intimidation, and that is part of the textbook definition of terrorism.
While all this can be debated, it is doubtful that the majority of this unarmed mob was intent on overthrowing the United States government.
But now things have heated up considerably. We have since seen many online calls for armed protesters going to D.C. in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, and a huge pro-Trump ‘Million Militia March’ on Inauguration Day.
“Calls for widespread protests on the days leading up to the inauguration of… Biden have been rampant online for weeks…and are scheduled to culminate with…a “Million Militia March” on Jan 20th”https://t.co/GNMvHl22tc
— Dave Agar (@dave1agar) January 10, 2021
Military Times (MT) reported:
“REFUSE TO BE SILENCED,” said one online post cited by Alethea Group, calling for an “ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS” for Jan. 17, the last Sunday of Trump’s polarizing presidency. Another post called for action at “DC & All State Capitols” and was signed by “common folk who are tired of being tread upon” declares: “We were warned!”
Bringing illegal firearms into the district could significantly alter the dynamic from last week, where almost all the protestors were unarmed. Hence the Guard now being armed as well.
While some of the National Guard troops have now brought weapons and other tactical combat gear, they are mostly patrolling unarmed for now. That could quickly change.
A D.C. Guard spokesman said, according to MT, “The D.C. National Guard stands ready to support the incident command and is committed to supporting our local and federal agency partners.”
This appears to mean the troops are authorized to stand watch armed if needed. But that has not yet occurred, said the Guard spokesman. “We are not carrying weapons now, but any changes in posture will be determined by intel reports and risk assessment,” he said.