The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 16, 2021 1:00 am

Letters: Crisis in the Capitol

Many must hang heads

I graduated from high school in June 1968. Before I left for Air Force basic training, my parents and I drove to Washington, D.C.

As we were coming down the hills from Virginia, the first thing we saw was the Capitol. I was stunned and thought, “It is real.”

When we visited, I thought of all the history that had happened and would happen there. I thought of all the great men and women who had walked there during our country's history.

On Jan. 6, I saw the riot that was happening there. I almost cried.

This great building of law and history had been invaded. This was not a protest, but an attempt to overthrow our government, and the worst part is that it was being led by the president. In almost 245 years, nothing like this had ever happened.

A protest should not lead to deaths, but this one did. A protest should not lead to loss of property as this one did.

All those who took part in this riot should be tried for treason and murder, starting with Donald Trump. Every member of the House and Senate, including many from Indiana who have and continue to encourage Trump or have looked the other way for the past four years, should be tried for murder and treason. Every member of the House or Senate who continues to make excuses for Trump should be tried for treason.

This won't happen because too many of our legislators are too afraid or too cowardly to say or do the right thing.

Trump has handed our enemies and the enemies of democracy a tool to show how democracy doesn't work. A strong message must be sent to these terrorists and enemies of the state.

I once read or heard that all great nations have fallen from within and not by outside forces. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the United States? I truly hope not.

Larry Davis

Fort Wayne

Braun, Banks vs. voters

I have lived through some 20 presidential elections and just witnessed an event I never thought could happen in the United States.

During a rally by President Donald Trump, his focus was not to foster a smooth transition  but to reiterate his groundless claim that he actually won yet was denied another four years. Trump claims “massive fraud” then encouraged his supporters to march to Congress. The crowd obliged in a failed attempt to disrupt the vote certification process while Trump chose to watch from the White House.

Earlier this month, l learned that Sen. Mike Braun chose to join several other senators to challenge the election certification. This group was aptly named “The Dirty Dozen.”

Braun trailed Rep. Jim Banks in this vote obstruction process; Banks was a willing endorser of one of more than 60 failed lawsuits to overturn the clear will of the people. 

Why Braun and Banks have chosen to be in lock-step with Trump to overturn a valid election by his threats, lies and intimidation, even directed toward loyal members of his own party, is a mystery. Some think it is because of the fear of being a target of tweets while others claim they are driven by political gain. Regardless, these efforts are a clear violation of the Constitution, and substituting truth with mythology is a dangerous path to take. These individuals will be judged by future elections and history.

I hope future Indiana voters will remember the effort to overturn the decisively clear will of the voters.

Lowell T. Gratigny

Fort Wayne

GOP last line of defense

President John F. Kennedy, in his 1961 inaugural speech, said, “the torch has been passed to a new generation.” Unfortunately, Joe Biden will only be able to pass that torch to tax-and-spend Democrats, who control the White House, Senate and House.

The only thing he can offer is to placate the ultraliberal base of his party. Struggling businesses will have to wait for the liberals' favorite issues, like free college and debt relief for student loans.

Rep. Jim Banks and Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun will need to help lead the fight for lower taxes, lower spending and a strong military. In spite of Donald Trump's problems, he did provide a strong peace in the Mideast, kept North Korea at bay, fostered a strong economy with low unemployment, reduced regulatory burdens on small businesses and made our military second to none.

W. Patrick Sefton

Fort Wayne

'Protesters' an inapt label

While I was appreciative that The Journal Gazette allocated the entire front page of the Jan. 7 edition to the insurrectionist mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, I was floored and genuinely saddened by the decision to call the attackers “protesters.” To use that word is to insult actual protesters who take disciplined, reflective, peaceful actions to effect positive change.

This was a violent, seditious mob, and alongside the bizarre, stunning incitement to criminality by a sitting president and his servile, now criminally liable lawyer; the seemingly intentional ill-preparedness of the Capitol police; and the delayed arrival of help from other agencies, its attack formed one prong of an attempted coup.

This complaint is not a quixotic or trivial objection. The Washington Post and several other news sources correctly labeled the attackers a mob throughout their coverage on Wednesday. President-elect Joe Biden noted in his Thursday news conference, “They weren't protesters. Don't dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It's that basic. It's that simple.” Even the Associated Press story over which The Journal Gazette's headline ran began with the words “A violent mob.”

Language matters. The tenor of our national reckoning with the unhinged fantasy world of Trumpism has rightly changed over the past few days, and while it's a positive step that The Journal Gazette, in its Jan. 9 editorial, correctly identified the attackers as a mob of rioters, the failure in the moment was perplexing from a newspaper with a century and a half of being a source of civic pride.

Most importantly, it constituted a lack of understanding of the continuing danger to our republic posed by this still-aspiring despot and his deluded followers.

Chad Butterbaugh

Fort Wayne

'What a disgrace for us all'

As a partially disabled veteran and brother-in-law to the only MIA soldier from northeast Indiana in Vietnam, and as a prior registered Indiana lobbyist and state 501(c)(3) director, I am embarrassed after viewing the activities in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.

I feel it is another situation where a few individuals, very misled by our president, have given our great nation a big black eye.

The only good I see is that maybe some people will understand how some of our citizens' views, based on past actions and lack of actions when need was there, are finally getting the attention needed for change to happen.

Elections have winners and losers. After significant investigation showing no irregularities, the results should be accepted. To have the most powerful leader in the world be so egotistical to assist in creating violence should never happen.

We all have a responsibility to make honest decisions based on verified facts and not rumors/opinions based on internet or social media.

What a disgrace for us all.

Phillip Ginder

New Haven

Congressional accessories

Every man and woman who entered the U.S. Capitol illegally on Jan. 6 should be arrested and charged with breaking and entering, battery, looting, damage to public property, and involuntary manslaughter. Every one of them.

Every member of the U.S. Senate and House who supported those efforts to reject any of the ballots of the Electoral College should resign for their contribution to the storming and looting of the Capitol and those deaths.

In Indiana, they are Sen. Mike Braun and Reps. Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks. Jim Baird and Greg Pence.

I refuse to believe they are so stupid to believe Joe Biden “stole” that election and tens of thousands of American poll workers, Democrats and Republicans alike, conspired to steal the vote for Biden. That means the Indiana reps must have done it for public relations value. Nice.

At least Braun changed his mind after the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. Walorski, Banks, Baird, and Pence continued to object to the votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

They are all now part of the Sedition Caucus and they all have blood on their hands. They should all resign.

Jim Sweeney


A forgotten victim

I have been struck by the strange disappearance from The Journal Gazette or the Associated Press of any continuing mention of Ashli Babbit, the Air Force veteran who was one of the five people who died in the Jan. 6 events. The Journal Gazette has printed followup AP reports on the other four dead, but nothing about Babbit aside from a single brief mention on Jan. 8.

Robert Contee, chief of the Washington, D.C., police, had already said on Jan. 6 that Babbit was shot dead by a Capitol Police officer. Has her killer been arrested and charged? We don't know.

Why does the Associated Press ignore her death? Do they think that the penalty for trespassing on federal property is or should be death? That would certainly add a new meaning to the term capital punishment.

Patrick J. Flood

Fort Wayne

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