The rioting at the nation’s Capitol building in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday set off a torrent of emotions here in Douglas County.
Shock, outrage, comparisons to other riots and protests, questions about who the instigators were and calls for removal of President Donald Trump and others in office were expressed on the Echo Press Facebook page.
The Echo Press reached out to local state legislators to get their reaction to what some have described as a failed coup attempt that left five people dead.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria: “As guided by our constitution, Americans have a right to protest, but the violence seen yesterday (Jan. 6) at the Capitol is never the answer. The United States is a nation of laws that must be strictly followed and enforced. I am thankful for the law enforcement, National Guard, and other first responders for their service and efforts to restore order in the chaos that unfolded yesterday.”
Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck: This type of behavior should never be tolerated. It was a sad day for our country. It was heartening, though, that Congress was able to resume its work later in the day.”
Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria: “All violence must be strongly condemned. During the violence in Minneapolis over the summer I said that those who participate in unlawful behavior must be held accountable, and the same must be applied to those who attacked the Capitol. I am praying for our country during this extraordinary time. Americans need to come together united in our love for this nation and respect for the freedoms we are all given.”
On the day of the riots, Franson, according to media reports, attended a peaceful “Storm the Capitol” rally at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul, followed by a peaceful protest outside the governor’s office. The four-hour protest drew about 500, according to media reports. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that the gathering mixed violent rhetoric with jubilation.
Minnesota Public Radio reported that many at the rally cheered as they received word that rioters had breached the U.S. Capitol.
Here’s a sample of some of the postings on the Echo Press Facebook page to various stories about the riots:
Shawn Olson: “Can you imagine if civil rights protesters did this? The cops would have fired live rounds.”
Jake Dibley: “Start calling for impeachment and immediate removal of all those accountable. Including Trump. Fascism and terrorism has no place in our country and Democratic leaders need to make it happen ASAP.”
Mike Geithman: “Soooo I guess Walz letting Minneapolis burn for three days, the almost month long of Seattle’s ‘autonomous’ zone and so much more was what? Acceptable?”
Susan Noesen: “Our Capitol was breached, incomprehensible.”
Kerry Hoeschen: “This is domestic terrorism. An attack on our nation's capital incited by the sitting president. ‘Trump Supporter’ shall now and forever be analogous to ‘Anti-American.’ Shame.”
Jesse Batesole: “10 years of prison for all of them, per Trump's Monuments Act.”
Jake Fischer: “As someone who was there and spoke with someone that got into the Capitol, it sounds like there was a mixture of actual Trump supporters and antifa. The guy I spoke with supported Trump, but he said some of the others in there seemed to be acting. I met a ton of really great people there that just wanted to see fair elections and freedom for the most part. The bad actors we’re definitely the minority and I believe they were antifa in disguise.”
Jeremy Seymour: “Treasonous attempted coup. Incited by a sitting president, it is very shameful. It’s sad what damage this will do to the Republican party.”
And there was this eight-word exchange between two Facebook commenters that seems to sum up the divisiveness that is still taking place:
“President needs to be removed.”
“Shut up lady!!”