If We Can Keep It
Whether you’ve visited for a family vacation, school trip, commodity lobbying trip or work conference, D.C. is a city that’s more than the monuments, museums, White House, National Mall and the other federal buildings lining Pennsylvania Avenue.
D.C. is a city of 710,000 residents (and growing) that welcomes peaceful First Amendment demonstrations (hundreds are hosted here every year).
D.C. is a city that balances the complexities of local and federal jurisdictions.
D.C. is a city now dealing with the traumatic aftermath of an orchestrated effort by domestic terrorists to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College votes and inflict violence against then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress.
D.C. is now a city, despite its residents having no representation in Congress, in which its police department saved democracy by retaking charge of the chaotic Capitol.
While I cannot answer a rhetorical question about what President Trump had to gain by the invasion of Congress, here is a breakdown of the violence and actions as a result of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach: one bomber that placed two pipe bombs in a residential neighborhood near the Capitol (as of Jan. 29, the individual is still at large); three dead police officers (one U.S. Capitol Police officer beaten by rioters and two officers dead by suicide); one rioter dead inside the Capitol after she attempted to breach a secure space; three rioters dead from medical emergencies; at least 65 Metropolitan Police officers injured (concussions from blunt objects to irritations from bear and pepper spray); at least 80 U.S. Capitol Police officers injured (from brain injuries, cracked ribs, smashed spinal discs, to a lost eye); and more than 25,000 National Guard troops deployed to D.C. to ensure the secure, safe inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 20.
There is also zero evidence per the Department of Justice, despite misinformation on social media, that left-wing extremist groups were responsible for the riot.
In 1787, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention noted in his journal, “A lady asked Dr. Franklin, ‘Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.’ A republic, replied the Doctor, if you can keep it.”
If you hear or see activity, either in person or online, that is threatening the existence of our republic or discussing violence directed toward an elected official (local, state or federal), please contact the FBI at fbi.gov/tips.
The FBI also seeks information related to the Capitol violence. Learn more at fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence.
The next time you visit the nation’s capital, I hope you are able to stroll the beautiful Capitol complex and reflect on the importance of country over party.
D.C. is a city that wants access to these grounds; but for now, the global symbol of democracy is only visible behind a non-scalable fence.
Nicole Peckumn is a 1997 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School who lives and works in Washington, D.C.