Or, Why Nothing Will Happen On The 20th
Some people among us continue to insist that the election was stolen, that votes were manipulated and voices silenced — or invented, that tens of thousands of elderly folks in nursing homes (largely senile) had their ballots farmed at the behest of local organizers who wished to win more than they wanted to safeguard the election process.
Much of this is plausible. Certainly, the results of the election are not what they would have been had earlier laws remained in effect, and (in Pennsylvania’s case) had the governor strictly followed the legislature’s lead. Then too, given the truly vast number of election volunteers, surely some few must have violated the law here and there; in the present COVID age, identification validation went unverified in places it would not have. A neutral party could readily grant so much.
And yet, at this point, it hardly matters. No evidence of widespread cheating was uncovered. The election is over, the ballots themselves destroyed, and no court in the land would overturn the results — not even with signed confessions from the candidates; it’s a moot point now. We can examine the numbers statistically, and demonstrate the very low probability of such narrow margins in so many states, but beyond that nothing short of mass armed insurrection would change who it is that gets to sit behind the Resolute Desk on Wednesday afternoon.
Actually… I say “nothing short of”, but let’s face it: Anyone who thinks mass armed insurrection would actually have a chance in hell against the presently mobilized National Guard, much less the Marines who live just down the street on Barracks Row, really has no clue how modern armed combat works. Often mentioned is the disparity of force between the rifle and the main line battle tank, but tanks aren’t that useful in crushing popular revolt; drones, however, are — and we’ve got them by the thousands.
Those inclined to dispute election results with armed force are far more likely than the average citizen to understand military history, and therefore are quite apt to understand the futility of direct action against the machinery of government. Doubtless some few, hidden in their Montana bunkers, are even now regretting the opportunity lost at the Capital on the 6th, when organized action could easily have triumphed (however briefly) against a Capital Police force crippled for political optics — but even they must admit that opportunity has passed. Congress has been personally frightened, and that particular error will not recur.
Some few people, however, are highly likely to attempt personal action. This happens at most highly publicized events; there’s always a crazy sitting in a basement somewhere with a suicidal mindset and a grudge against the world — and the world’s pretty grudge-worthy right now. Presently, we’re confronting an event where even some Democrats have been half-joking for months that Uncle Joe will never survive inauguration; it’s inevitable that someone on the fringe right, unaware of (or unconcerned with) logic and consequences will wander out of the woodwork and… heh; very likely, get stopped at a routine checkpoint somewhere. God knows there’s enough checkpoints out there, and right now they’re not feeling at all sympathetic.
Law enforcement will tell you: It only takes one. They’ll also tell you: Right now is not the time to try it. It’s far too obviously a trap.
Surely anyone organized enough to penetrate even a simple roadblock is sane enough to realize the intricate and complex layers of protection that surround the inauguration right now. The odds of anyone who could possibly manage it being self-aware enough to try are pretty damned slim.
Speaking as a person who very much values his right to keep and bear arms, I very much hope no lone gunman gets through. Not to mention as a humanitarian, an American patriot, and as someone who highly values our democratic institutions however flawed and the centuries-long tradition of a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. I would not see that besmirched by any lone actor, however misguided, deluded, suicidal, or downright insane.
And so I say, nothing’s going to happen on Wednesday. No organized group is large enough to succeed or foolish enough to try and fail. No lone actor incapable of seeing how obvious a trap this is would be sane enough to evade the protections. And certainly nobody with an eye to the consequences would be stupid enough to bring them about.
God, I hope not. We’ve had quite enough stupid lately.
UPDATE: The detained gentleman appears to have been a legitimate licensed security guard whose pass didn’t cover where he ended up. He may well have just gotten lost and has been released with no apparent charges.
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