West Delaware Reacts to What Happened at the Capitol

Nearly a month after the demonstration in Washington, D.C., West Delaware staff and students share their thoughts.

On Jan. 6, following a rally for former President Donald Trump, demonstrators stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., attempting to halt the certification of the election results, confirming Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. 

While many West Delaware staff and students condemn the riots, they disagree on how fairly officials handled the situation.

Teacher Corey Coates first heard the news while sitting at his desk. His mom texted him: “Corey, what’s happening to our country?”

The social studies teachers broke the news to teacher Jordan Pollock as he stood outside his classroom door. 

“I started watching online trying to figure out what was going on, kind of in disbelief,” Pollock said. “I was shocked and distraught that American citizens would attack their own seat of government.”

I didn’t really feel like I was in the United States anymore. Honestly, it felt like the news you’d hear about from the Middle East.”

— Makayla Gasper

Junior Makayla Gasper was doing her homework when her dad texted her about what was happening. 

“I didn’t really feel like I was in the United States anymore,” Gasper said. “Honestly, it felt like the news you’d hear about from the Middle East.”

Still at school, junior Macie Putz’s mom was the first to break the news to her.

“I thought, are you kidding me?” Putz said. “It just didn’t make sense.”

Comparing what happened at the Capitol to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, junior Demarco Liggins claims that the response by law enforcement to those protests was unfair and unjustified.

“Last summer, they had the National Guard and a bunch of cops,” Liggins said. “They used bullets and tear gas. It’s just white privilege at its finest.”

While junior Macie Putz agrees that law enforcement differed in their response, she believes that the response by law enforcement at the Black Lives Matter was mostly justified.

“With the Black Lives Matter Movement, I definitely think there were some things they did right when dealing with the vandalizing of small businesses and stealing,” Putz said. “It definitely got out of hand, but they definitely didn’t need to shoot people unless they were doing something horribly wrong. With the Capitol, they definitely could have done more security with it.”

Despite the violence present in both situations, junior Kamira Zehr believes the reasoning for these demonstrations are not on equal footing.

“The African Americans protested for equality,” Zehr said. “We did not blow up and get mad because we didn’t get what president we voted for. If that was us at the federal Capitol, it would’ve been treated so differently.”

Words and actions have consequences. I think people do need to be held accountable to demonstrate our commitment to justice and set a precedent that prevents this from ever happening again.”

— Jordan Pollock

Pollock believes that people and officials who spread misinformation, as well as those who didn’t condemn it, provoked the demonstrators. 

“Words and actions have consequences,” Pollock said. “I think people do need to be held accountable to demonstrate our commitment to justice and set a precedent that prevents this from ever happening again.”

Senior Gracee Brooks claims that, while some of the law enforcement’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement was unnecessary, the media is ultimately to blame.

“I did a paper in Composition I over the Black Lives Matter riots, and there were so many people in the media who justified the rioting, without thinking about how it impacted small businesses and local people,” Brooks said. “Black Lives Matter riots were never blamed on Biden, but these Trump ones were blamed on Trump. To me, he never said to come out and destroy the Capitol, but he could’ve gone about things in a better way.”

Superintendent Dr. Kristen Rickey advocates the need to avoid jumping to conclusions, while still believing it’s appropriate to ask questions and investigate.

“I don’t know what actions were chosen and why,” Rickey said. “In my position, I often have people judging my decision without considering all the facts, and they often jump to the conclusion of whether it’s right or wrong. I want to give that same courtesy to other people.”

I think our country has been in a very divisive state for quite a while. I’m very hopeful we can come together and find some common ground. I’m hopeful that we can do better as a country.”

— Kristen Rickey

She expresses her disappointment with what happened at the Capitol, believing that, as a country, Americans pride themselves on a smooth transition of power.

“We are not like other places that have violence and bloodshed over elections, and that makes me sad that that changed for us,” Rickey said. “I think our country has been in a very divisive state for quite a while. I’m very hopeful we can come together and find some common ground. I’m hopeful that we can do better as a country.”

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