I am writing in response to the Jan. 24 letter by Sonya Beardsley. Ms. Beardsley questions why the governors, mayors, and senators were not outraged at the violence and property damage in Seattle and Portland over the summer but have spoken up about the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The incidents in Seattle and Portland were non-violent rallies and protests, against police violence and murder, specifically murders of Black men and women. They followed the brutal murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbury and George Floyd. The marches were mostly peaceful until they were infiltrated by white supremacists and white nationalists, looking for a way to cast negative light on the Black Lives Matter and civil liberties groups. The property damage and violence represented 7 percent of the totality of the marches, protests and rallies. The protesters were not armed; the white supremacists were.
The property damage and violence at the U.S. Capitol was caused by the protesters themselves. They morphed from a rally to a protest to a riot. They were heavily armed. They were stoked into rage by the former president and other politicians. They had been lied to for years, and then very intensively for months about the election. They were force fed The Big Lie. They were primed on conspiracy theories. Their grasp of reality was questionable or negligible. They were instructed to go to the Capital and “take back their country.” In their fevered rage and delusions, they mounted an armed insurrection of the U.S. Capitol. Their aim was to overturn a free and fair election. They were acting as seditionists. That’s against the law.
Ms. Beardsley attempted to equate two dissimilar situations. The inception and carrying out of the property destruction and violence are completely different. But what they have in common, in addition to broken windows, furniture and structures, is dead people. I do not condone violence or property damage in either case, but your outrage at elected leaders is misplaced.
Mary Ellen Hardy