Features

Reflections on the Riot

By Sophie Rasol ‘22, Sports Editor, and Anna Khorets ‘22, Online Editor

On January 6th, the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., was placed under lockdown after a pro- Trump protest turned into a riot of thousands of people storming into the Capitol in an attempt to obstruct the certification of the election results.  

The Helios sent a survey to Heschel students following the riot on Capitol Hill. Here are the responses of several students:

What were you doing when you heard the news? What was your initial reaction?

Elijah Fraiman ‘23: I was watching the Senate debate. My initial reaction was whether the objection to the Arizona votes was valid or not.

Lily Ellman ‘22: Initially, I was laughing. But I think it was out of pure shock.

Gavi Kanter ‘23: I was at my desk watching the joint session when Arizona congresspeople objected.

Ethan Nestelbaum ‘21: I was in class, and I was extremely angry and felt helpless.

Ruby Silberman ‘22: I was in class. I was sort of shocked, but at the same time, not so much. I feel like I knew that something like this was going to happen. It was definitely still frightening, and I think I’m more disappointed in our country than anything. 

Ruby Kazam ‘23: I was in Hebrew class, and I immediately opened CNN.

Mira Cohen ‘23: I was in class when I found out, and I was shocked but also not that surprised. I felt something bad was coming. I just never thought it would be something this disgusting. 

Salena Rubin ‘21: I was at home doing work. I thought it would just be protests and no deaths or looting would occur.

Max Perlman ‘21: I was watching soccer. I didn’t believe it and then when I heard, I started watching the news and was surprised. 

Sara Tilem ‘22: I was in class, and I was a little scared of what was happening. I wasn’t completely sure what was going on. 

How do you think our country is going to move forward?

Elijah Fraiman ‘23: I do not know how, but hopefully it will.

Lily Ellman ‘22: I don’t know if it will. 

Gavi Kanter ‘23: Build. Back. Better.

Ethan Nestelbaum ‘21: There needs to be a swift and strong punishment for those involved in the insurrection, and President Trump needs to be held responsible and accountable and be put in jail.

Ruby Silberman ‘22: I really don’t know. I can only hope that when Joe Biden is inaugurated that we as a country can start to heal as we listen to one another and start working together to rebuild. However, I think that before we rebuild we need to seriously address the issues of racism and hatred in this country.  

Ruby Kazam ‘23: I think that though this act of terrorism was incredibly scary and unprecedented, terrorism can provoke good. I think that our country might make some real changes following this.

Mira Cohen ‘23: I think that now many who originally supported Trump no longer do anymore and with having a full Democrat controlled government we can hopefully really move forward. 

Salena Rubin ‘21: Hopefully with more security around Capitol hill.

Max Perlman ‘21: Hopefully our country can become less polarized.

Sara Tilem ‘22: Unsure, I think they want to make an example and arrest these people.

What are your thoughts on the reaction to the Capitol Hill insurrection compared to the BLM riots?

Elijah Fraiman ‘23: I think as of now they need to be treated as independent events and once we can look at it in retrospect, then we can make comparisons. 

Lily Ellman ‘22: It’s insane how much the white supremacists on Capitol Hill got away with, compared to the security/tear gas/“when the looting starts the shooting starts” attitude towards BLM.

Gavi Kanter ‘23: It proves that we have a lot of work to do. 

Ethan Nestelbaum ‘21: The police were much kinder to these people compared to the Black people. The hypocrisy and the double standard was beyond clear. Blue Lives Matter is illegitimate and just there to put down the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ruby Silberman ‘22: I think it’s disgusting that people are comparing the Capitol Hill insurrection to the BLM protests. The Capitol Hill insurrection was a blatant attack on democracy and the government, and the BLM protests were a result of years and years of inequality and systemic racism. The BLM protesters were treated horribly by the police, and the Capitol Hill insurrectionists were literally taking selfies with the police. There is no comparison. 

Ruby Kazam ‘23: I think that we shouldn’t be comparing two different events under different circumstances to one another, though it was unbelievable that the police did not make as much of an effort to stop the rioters from storming the Capitol as they did during BLM protests. The National Guard should have been called immediately, and there should have been more arrests and consequences for the rioters at Capitol Hill.

Mira Cohen ‘23: It’s disgusting that the people on Capitol Hill were able to get in because they weren’t Black. The two aren’t even the same. The BLM riots stemmed from protests and the fight for racial equality. The Capitol Hill insurrection was illegal and a disgusting attempt to try to dispute the inevitable win of Joe Biden and violates everything our country stands for. 

Salena Rubin ‘21: It’s disgusting how racist police officers are to people of color who are fighting for their safety versus white supremacists getting away with so many crimes.

Max Perlman ‘21: I don’t think they are that different. While the BLM protests came from a good place of social justice, looting stores to make “a point” is no better than an angry mob walking into Congress. Both sides of the aisle need to control themselves.Sara Tilem ‘22: I think it’s a little ridiculous that they didn’t stop these people from going into the Capitol the same way they stopped people from protesting police brutality.

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