SIU students and staff react to the events that occurred at the Capitol

WASHINGTON%2C+DC+-+JANUARY+06%3A+Police+try+to+hold+back+protesters+who+gather+to+storm+the+Capitol+and+halt+a+joint+session+of+the+117th+Congress+on+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+6%2C+2021%2C+in+Washington%2C+D.C.+%28Kent+Nishimura%2FLos+Angeles+Times%2FTribune+News+Service%29

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Police try to hold back protesters who gather to storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service)

By Courtney Alexander, Staff Reporter

The event that occurred at the Capitol on Jan.6, 2021 shocked the nation. It raised fear and uncertainty amongst concerned citizens, including students and staff members at SIU. After the event, students and staff members expressed their thoughts and concerns.

Patrick Murphy, a junior at SIU studying political science, said that the event was uncalled for and it was shocking to see something like this occur at the nation’s Capitol. 

I would definitely say that it was uncalled for and that it was shocking that it happened, or that it was actually occurring, but I don’t think it was something that was out of the blue. You could kind of see the rumblings in the political sphere for quite a while, and it was just a matter of when and how,” Murphy said.

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There are various explanations about the direct cause of the event, but Murphy said that it may have occurred as a result of conflicting political views, and mixed reactions about the results of the presidential election. 

“It was definitely a combination of things, a lot of it is just typical politics of playing to people’s fears and fears of primal desires. You have a candidate that is just completely denouncing the entire election and riling up people that align with him philosophically or politically, and that’s just stirring the pot and getting everyone all angst about the situation. And that just kept building, and building, and building, until it eventually ended up pouring over, essentially,” Murphy said. 

Murphy said this event may have been a spur of the moment occurrence since protestors were already gathered outside of the Capitol building to protest the results of the election that day.  

“There’s a lot of speculation going around, I would hope that it wasn’t an inside job involving elected officials or anybody from the federal government. There’s no defining evidence to point to say that there is, but definitely I’m sure that there’s going to be some investigations about it in general,” Murphy said. “But right now, I honestly believe that it was just spur of the moment. People were there already for a protest, and the group that was there are known to be very passionate about how they feel, and very just forward passionate, and at times violent for what they believe in.”

Isaac Ludington, a junior at SIU studying political science, said the event at the Capitol was something that was shocking to see and it was something he would’ve never imagined happening. 

“It was definitely shocking, I hadn’t been looking at the internet much that day, and someone had messaged me about it, like stuff was happening at the Capitol. And I thought just a lot of protests, then when I saw they actually stormed the Capitol, it was just a pure shock moment because that’s something I never thought I’d see happen in America, and yet it was,” Ludington said. 

What comes next is what American’s are wondering in the aftermath of the event. With the inauguration coming up for President-elect Joe Biden, additional protests and riots may break out as tensions rise. Ludington said over the next several days, more preventive measures should be taken to prevent additional attacks. 

“The biggest concern is what’s going to happen over the next several days. There appears to be actions that can prevent any more attacks. With the inauguration coming up, I think one of the biggest things is President Trump has been impeached for his part in it, and I think him and others that worked to rile up people that did this, need to be held accountable,” Ludington said. “We need to figure out how to make efforts to deradicalize people, because a lot of people have been given misinformation, that is leading them to strike out and we need to figure out how to stop that.”

Many of the participants of the events have been arrested for their involvement with breaking into the Capitol and for the acts of violence. Ludington said this behavior should not be normalized and the people involved need to face consequences or more people will attempt to repeat these offenses. 

“I think there’s probably going to be prison time, it was an act of sedition and direct threats were issued toward members of congress. And I don’t think that can be something we just allow, there needs to be, if not prison time, very strong repercussions of some sort, because we cannot normalize this. If we let them get off easily, more people will attempt to do it,” Ludington said.

Tobin Grant, a professor and department chair of political science at SIU, said this event was something he’d never thought he would see in this country.

“We have a lot of strange things that happened over the last four years in particular, but that was something that went way further than I could’ve imagined,” Grant said.

According to Grant, the cause of the event at the Capitol may be a result of people believing the election was stolen and the system put into place wasn’t done correctly. 

“The people who were involved in the violence and the insurrection, that’s basically what it was. I think that they truly believe that the election was stolen, and that they were doing the right thing to get things corrected,” Grant said. 

Grant said this event could have been avoided if President Trump admitted his defeat in the election like past candidates have done. The best thing that could be done right now to save our democracy, is for President Trump to change his behavior for the remainder of his term. 

“The best thing would be for Trump to change his […] behavior to allow him to stay in office as President for the remainder of his term, because it’s only another couple of weeks. And I think he’s got that message because of the most recent videos that he’s put out, whether or not he has the discipline to stay with that or not is going to be difficult,” Grant said. “This is one of those situations where people have to be pragmatic and be thinking about what do they want the actual outcome to be, not just is it right or what’s just. But can we just get through the next two weeks without more violence or more problems.” Grant said. 

Courtney Alexander can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at ___Courtney_alex23______. 

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