It certainly is worrisome in the current context that you have law enforcement officers who don't know the difference between right and wrong and willing to participate in a seditious act like trying to overthrow election results and engage in a bloody interaction. — Devin Burghart, the executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a national watchdog group
It certainly is worrisome in the current context that you have law enforcement officers who don't know the difference between right and wrong and willing to participate in a seditious act like trying to overthrow election results and engage in a bloody interaction. — Devin Burghart, the executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a national watchdog group
5 people died in the Capitol insurrection. Experts say it could have been so much worse.
  • Five people died in the Capitol insurrection on January 6, including a Capitol Police officer.
  • But experts told Insider that the insurrection could have been much deadlier.
  • Experts said that swift thinking to bring Congress members and staff to safety likely saved lives.
"If insurrectionists had been able to get their hands on a member of Congress, particularly a member of Congress that has been vilified by right-wing media… I think you could most definitely have had bloodshed because people were so riled up and fueled with conspiracy theories and hatred," Devin Burghart, the executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a national watchdog group, told Insider.

Burghart said if more rioters made it inside the Capitol, or if Trump had walked with rioters to the building as he said he would, it would have been a "much more volatile situation."


"You could have literally had open air executions in Washington on January 6," he said. "It's clear from the rhetoric they were using inside the halls, their intentions, given things like a noose hanging out in front or the fact that they brought zip ties and weapons into the halls, it could have been disastrous."

... Tamara Herold, a crime scientist and director of the Crowd Management Research Council, told Insider that some rioters likely never believed they'd actually breach the capitol.

"I think most rioters were caught off-guard and without a specific strategy, which likely prevented greater harm from occurring," she said, adding that police actions may have saved lives: "Attempting to hold and redirect the crowd as long as possible to allow evacuation and the arrival of additional police personnel, without resorting to deadly violence (with one exception), likely prevented provoking rioters into using greater levels of deadly force."

... Several former military members and retired or off-duty law-enforcement officers — people who are often taught how to use force for their careers — are among rioters who have been charged.

NPR reported that nearly one in five rioters charged were active duty or retired military veterans, and that police officers from across the nation participated in the insurrection.

Three members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group that recruits former military and police, have been charged with conspiracy in the insurrection, and a charging document showed men planning to storm the Capitol days in advance.

Burghart told Insider that he wasn't surprised to see former military members and off-duty police officers being arrested and put on leave in connection the insurrection.

"It certainly is worrisome in the current context that you have law enforcement officers who don't know the difference between right and wrong and willing to participate in a seditious act like trying to overthrow election results and engage in a bloody interaction," he said.

... Burghart told Insider that the effort to shut down further possible insurrections lies not only in the hands of the Biden administration, but everyone.

"I think it requires concerted national efforts to de-radicalize these folks and to have them disengage and start getting back to all of us talking about who and what we are as a nation in the 21st Century, living up to our real core democratic values rather than allowing the kind of conspiracism and anti-democratic ideas to flourish," he said. "That's going to require a concerted effort by all Americans to change the tone and tenor of our nation moving forward."
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/capitol-insurrection-could-have-been-deadlier-experts-say-2021-1