On Monday, a lawyer for one of two brothers who have been detained since June for felonies they apparently committed during the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol said his client’s actions were comparable to those who participated in Black Lives Matter protests.
Adam Jackson, and his brother Brian Scott Jackson, face a slew of charges including: committing an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, civil disorder, resisting, assaulting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon and physical violence.
Even though prosecutors allege that Adam Jackson threw an orange traffic cone at police guarding the entry to the building before charging at them while holding a stolen police riot shield, his lawyer Joseph McBride argued that somehow Black Lives Matter protesters were “given a pass” and seemingly didn’t understand the difference.
How do you say you’re a white supremacist without saying you’re a white supremacist?
“No matter how you feel about Jan. 6, or no matter how anybody feels about George Floyd and that situation, there is some commonality there. I’m referring to the fact that lots of people, when it came to the Black Lives Matter protests, participated in acts of violence, but they were largely given a pass. Why were the given a pass? Because society, the court system, the media recognizes that when those people left their front door, they left for political, constitutionally protected reasons.”
US District Judge Rudolph Contreras who is overseeing the case wasn’t amused by McBride’s comparison. “The one violent Black Lives Matter protester that came to me went to prison, so some arguments are going to resonate more than others,” he retorted.
However, a comparison simply cannot be made. Those who participated in storming the Capitol on January 6 took an unfathomably violent approach to desperately keep former president Donald Trump—a fascist—in office. Because he glorified violence and increased militarization of homeland security agencies. Because he was instrumental in separating immigrant families by placing their children in cages. Because he relished in the belief that people of color are racially inferior.
Because he was—and is—the embodiment of white supremacy.
The people who took to the street in solidarity with BLM brought awareness to how we are the ones being shot and killed by police like clockwork (and we’re lucky if the officers responsible are punished for their crimes). They used their individual power to come together and try to save lives, not destroy them.
Studies have shown that in more than 93% of protests associated with Black Lives Matter over the course of 2020, those who participated were not violent or destructive. More than 2,400 locations documented peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 locations reported violent demonstrations.
In addition, 900 people have been charged in the January 6 insurrection, while 2020 BLM protests saw only around 300 people arrested. The mob who took it upon themselves to protect a second Trump presidency were heavily armed, stormed government property, attempted to detonate pipe bombs and assaulted nearly 150 officers.
They used sheer terror and quite frankly, whiteness, to be able to execute in such an abrasive and dangerous stunt. No, the insurrection is nothing like Black Lives Matter demonstrations. To entertain such an absurdly false equivalence wouldn’t just make someone ignorant—but a bonafide racist as well.