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It could have been so much worse


One thing that is becoming more and more clear is how close the Trump/Hawley/Cruz/McCarthy insurrection came to being a much larger-scale bloodbath:

News outlets are publishing more and more videos, photos and testimonials from Wednesday’s pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill. And it’s becoming clear that as heinous as the attack looked in real time, on live TV and in our social feeds, it was even worse than we knew then. It was even more violent. It was even more treacherous. And Trump’s behavior was even more disturbing.On Wednesday we witnessed history through a handful of soda straws, to borrow a metaphor from the 2003 Iraq invasion. Journalists bravely covered the riot in real time and deserve enormous credit for doing so. But in the fog of chaos, it was impossible to see the full picture as it was happening. The public didn’t find out that a US Capitol Police officer was gravely wounded until Thursday, for example. Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday night, and federal prosecutors have now opened a homicide investigation.

As is the case with many traumatic events, it has taken some time for the reality to sink in. “I was in the crowd and didn’t realise how bad it was until a day or two after,” reporter Richard Hall of The Independent, a British newspaper, tweeted Saturday.Reconstructions of the events and follow-up reporting by news organizations are bringing it into focus.CNN aired a horrifying video Friday night, first published by investigative outlet Status Coup, showing a police officer pinned between a door and the mob. The officer screamed in agony.There are all sorts of practical reasons why these scenes weren’t shown live on Wednesday. Inside the Capitol, many correspondents were locked down and shepherded to secure locations along with lawmakers. For more on the absolute terror of this ordeal, read NBC reporter Haley Talbot’s account from inside the House chamber.

This account from journalist Erin Schaff is terrifying:

The mob massed together and rushed the officer, forcing open the door, and people flooded in. I ran upstairs to be out of the way of the crowd, and to get a better vantage point to document what was happening. Suddenly, two or three men in black surrounded me and demanded to know who I worked for.

Grabbing my press pass, they saw that my ID said The New York Times and became really angry. They threw me to the floor, trying to take my cameras. I started screaming for help as loudly as I could. No one came. People just watched. At this point, I thought I could be killed and no one would stop them. They ripped one of my cameras away from me, broke a lens on the other and ran away.

After that I was hyperventilating, unsure of what to do. I knew I needed to get away from the mob and hide my broken camera so I wouldn’t be targeted again. I ran into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suite, but people were vandalizing her office, so I kept moving. Walking out to her balcony facing west toward the National Mall, I saw a mass of people covering the inaugural stage. I found a spot to hide my camera in there, then stood watching the crowd from the balcony and filming from my phone, which was all I had left.

“This will be the start of a civil war revolution,” a man next to me said.

Later that evening, a majority of House Republicans voted to nullify the results of a democratic election. This violence is not going away anytime soon, and the sudden calls for “healing and unity” from the seditionists should be treated with pure contempt:

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