Students, staff react to riot, attack on U.S. Capitol

Man carries the Confederate flag through the halls of Congress
Photo Credit: Saul Loeb

Man carries the Confederate flag through the halls of Congress Photo Credit: Saul Loeb

The Arrow Staff

In response to Wednesday’s events at the Capitol, both Brebeuf students and staff say they felt upset, disappointed and angry about the violence that took place.


“My reaction to hearing about the mob at the Capitol initially was shock, but it quickly melted into frustrated resignation,” sophomore Olivia Hege said. “I was disgusted by the display of domestic terrorism at our nation’s capitol, and even moreso at the lack of police response.”


Wednesday began as a day of reckoning for President Donald Trump’s futile attempt to cling to power as Congress took up the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. It devolved into scenes of fear and agony that left a prime ritual of American democracy in tatters.


Hallowed spaces of American democracy, one after another, yielded to the occupation of Congress. Lawmakers, staff members and more hid under tables, hunkered in lockdowns, saying prayers and seeing the fruits of the country’s divisions up close and violent.


Authorities reported 52 arrests, four deaths, and extensive damage to the Capitol.


“It is unsettling to see how far the rioters got, but it is made worse by the fact that I do not believe the response we saw to be the best that our country can do,” Hege said.


Mrs. Heather Goodrich was especially struck by the privilege that presented itself at the events of Wednesday.


“I couldn’t help but wonder what their fate might have been if their skin were a different color,” Goodrich said. “I was also struck by the position of privilege that allowed the rioters to believe they deserved a victory that was unearned.”


“This is what real terrorism looks like. The media finally showed the correct image of the ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’ that have been mentioned since June,” said senior Sadiyah Anderson.


“As an African American female I was mainly at a loss for words and simply confused but, above that, angry,” sophomore Caitlin Smith said. “Over the summer, Black Lives Matter led several peaceful protests across the nation. To see people who look like me battered, beaten and attacked trying to incite change was terrifying.”


For Ms. Franzosa, the emotions of her students and how she would discuss this in class were her first concerns.


“I was thinking that we should share those feelings and emotions,” she said. “It’s really hard to know what to say. Except that I know as a religion teacher I always feel the need to speak for what’s right and for the protection of those most in need and most discriminated against.” 


Senior Shaan Mishra said that he and his fellow Young Republicans have “been unequivocal in affirming Biden’s victory and disregarding baseless accusations of voter fraud. Yesterday was a sad day from America, and marked the culmination of years of dangerous behavior and rhetoric from the President and some of his supporters.” 


“The rioters desecrated more than a federal building—they desecrated the foundations of American democracy,” continued Mishra.


Mr. Payne-Elliot reminds us that, “The first duty of every citizen is to the truth, whether it is scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth.”


“Truth is found by an examination of conscience,” he said. “Truth is found in dialoguing with our kin who may have entirely different realities than we do. And truth is found in believing in and valuing your education, engaging it wholly, asking insightful questions, and learning to think critically.

Man carries the Confederate flag through the halls of Congress
Photo Credit: Saul Loeb
Man stands next to a President Ford statue holding a Trump flag
Photo Credit: CNN