When I wrote in my editorial column last week that Wednesday, Jan. 6, "should be an interesting and telling day in Washington, D.C., as the certified results of the 2020 election are opened, state-by-state, in alphabetical order, before a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol," I spoke only of the procedures to take place in the Capitol in certifying or challenging the results of the Electoral College vote submitted by the states. And the process was both interesting and telling until it was interrupted by protestors turned trespassers and rioters and the day became a sad and dark day for America.
I know no one in Gravette, Decatur, Gentry, or the "Westside Eagle Observer" coverage area who advocated what happened in Washington last Wednesday and I believe I'm safe to say that most were appalled at the events which unfolded when the Constitutional process was interrupted.
I am upset over what happened at our nation's Capitol. I'm upset that a police officer was apparently hit with a fire extinguisher and killed by this crowd. I'm upset that an unarmed female military veteran was shot by Capitol police and bled out on the Capitol floor. I am upset that others died of other medical emergencies connected to the incident. I'm upset over the assault and vandalism of our nation's Capitol. Last Wednesday was a dark day for America. And, I fear more of them are likely to come -- I hope I am wrong.
But there is another upsetting side of this story that directly affects people in western Benton County and apparently also included activities that are also illegal. A young family in Gravette reportedly received harassing phone calls and death threats Wednesday night because its address was mistakenly published on the web as the address of the area resident pictured on social media in Speaker Pelosi's office. As far as I know, terroristic threatening is a felony in Arkansas. The posting of misinformation may just have been neglect or stupidity.
Will those who made threats against this young family with no connection to the man in Pelosi's office chair be prosecuted? Will those who published a wrong address and contributed to the terroristic threatening be held liable for their part in the crimes? Will they have accounts suspended or be de-platformed for their egregious errors that may have contributed to criminal activity? Will anyone even be upset over these crimes?
I've been told the police department in Gravette had to add extra patrols and make arrangements with neighboring agencies for prompt backup because of calls and social media threats of people coming to Gravette in retribution for the alleged crimes of a man who lives not in Gravette but out in the county but with a Gravette mailing address.
At the newspaper, we received a demand to go out and arrest the man in Pelosi's office, and we were faulted and threatened with an onslaught of calls and complaints because the language in the "Democrat-Gazette" article we published on our website did not use strong enough language in speaking of the protestors. One message received used language reminiscent of the Old West lynch mobs.
What brought us to the point of turning what was supposed to be a peaceful protest into a riotous act in the Capitol? What brought us to the point of being so hateful that people would threaten innocent people in no way connected to what happened at the Capitol?
In my observations, many are so rabidly for or against Trump or so for or against certain ideologies that they are not even willing to look at the truth. To even say something that some view as siding for or against President Trump can end up in being the recipient of railing accusations and name-calling.
This was evident in what happened on Jan. 6 in Washington and in the threats against the people of Gravette.
If I may voice my concerns without speaking for or against Trump (and, because of moral and constitutional concerns, I have been a supporter of third-party candidates for years so claim at least some neutrality in regard to Trump), I will do so. My concern is with the election. I am not saying that Trump won the election or that Biden won the election, but I am concerned about the election. There may be some validity to the arguments that states did not follow their own laws in conducting the 2020 election and, if you've taken the time (you'll need hours or days because there are many of them) to read the sworn affidavits of U.S. citizens, including Democrats, I think you will have to admit that some strange and suspicious things took place in regard to the election in a number of states, things which may be criminal.
So, why do so many oppose taking the extra time to truly and honestly look into the allegations of illegal votes, fraud, faulty software, and the like? No one, it seems, wants to touch this, not the state legislatures, not the Congress, and not even the Supreme Court. I understand the hesitation but, as a result, we will remain a nation divided, with Trump supporters claiming fraud and a stolen election and Biden supporters doing all they can to discredit Trump and all who supported him, even closing social media accounts and de-platforming any who allow the Trump allegations to be republished and discussed. The validity of the election will remain in doubt in the minds of millions of Americans.
And, sad to say, if the validity of the election remains in doubt, the detestable actions last week of those on both sides of the issue are likely to continue and the darkness which has come over our land will become even darker. Shrouding dark deeds in darkness only leads to more darkness.
Randy Moll is the managing editor of the "Westside Eagle Observer." He may be contacted by email at [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.