Wyatt Emmerich: Attack on Capitol fueled by internet conspiracy theories


Wyatt Emmerich



Hopes for a much calmer 2021 compared to 2020 were quickly dampened by the horrific attack on our nation's U.S. Capitol Building.


Our nation has become accustomed to viewing violent demonstrations throughout the nation with little police response. Let's hope this unimaginable event at least awakens us to the ultimate consequences of such irresponsibility.


Peaceful protest is an inviolable right of U.S. citizens encapsulated in our Constitution. Tolerance of violent demonstrations erodes that right and threatens the republic.



All violent demonstrations should be quickly quelled by the appropriate authorities and the perpetrators swiftly and severely punished.


Attacking the U.S. Capitol and threatening our elected representatives is several orders of magnitude worse than anything we witnessed this past year. This was an attack on the very heart of our nation.


It is a testament to the political tolerance of our nation that hundreds were not shot. Next time, any group violently attacking Congress will not be so lucky. They will be martyrs for their cause, whatever cause that may be, but they will be dead martyrs.


The Capitol Police turned down offers from both the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI to assist in securing the Capitol Building. This is a mind boggling example of incompetence. A thorough investigation is called for.


President Trump's role in whipping his rabble into a frenzy is inexcusable. He should promptly resign. If not, he should be impeached. Even though he only has a few days in office, impeachment would be a symbolic display that our nation will never tolerate fascism and violence.


Trump claims his election was stolen, even though dozens of polls showed he was several points behind Biden. He points to his huge crowds. But as Trump's crowds grew in size and fanaticism, the rest of the nation got nervous. That nervousness was reflected in the election result. Once again, the American people have shown uncanny wisdom.


Like many Americans, I dismissed Trump's boorish behavior because I like his policies on taxation, deregulation, judicial restraint and environmental pragmatism. Plus Biden, through his son, was gorging at the trough.


But like many Americans, I never saw this coming. We dodged a bullet. Trump's defeat led him down a path of narcissistic mental instability which has made him unfit for public office. Good riddance.


The Republican establishment that warily walked down this rocky road in the name of politics, needs to do some serious soul searching. The Democratic establishment that collectively dismissed the seriousness of the violent protests of this summer also needs to do some serious soul searching.


This unrest is yet another manifestation of the COVID crisis. The virus has disrupted our society and this disruption continues to reverberate in unpredictable ways. For instance, murder rates throughout the nation are at all-time highs. Jackson is a prime example.


Because of COVID, we greatly expanded mail-in voting, leading to greater election fraud than normal. Trump used this fraud as an excuse to fail to concede.


Let this be a lesson in why concessions of defeat are critical to our nation's political stability. But Trump, being Trump, was far more interested in his personal career than the stability of the nation. Enough of Trump!


Our Constitution saw this coming. Brilliantly, it has an elaborate process for contesting a Presidential election result. But this was not enough for Trump, even after court after court and every state legislature saw no legitimacy to his claims of fraud.


Another thought: Congress was attacked by the monster it created 25 years ago in 1996 when it passed Section 230 of the Communications Act. That act gave Internet companies legal immunity from anything they published on their social media platforms. It was one of the worst decisions in the history of Congress.


Every publisher in the history of publishing has been legally liable for what they publish. My company is liable for the contents of every ad, every article, every "letter to the editor." It should be.


Congress ignored 500 years of libel and slander common law and exempted Internet publishers, sowing the seeds of the social division we see today.


The rabble attacking Congress had visions of global conspiracy theories dancing in their heads, conspiracies posted by fakes and charlatans posing as legitimate journalists. Russia has been at the forefront of this fake news and its fake videos, fake documents and fake photos. They wanted to destabilize our nation. Congratulations, Putin and Facebook. It worked.


Meanwhile, the Internet giants are raking in the dough, billions upon billions, as gullible people are sucked into yet another nutty conspiracy theory. This has got to stop. Trump's attempt to discredit the few legitimate news organizations that still remain was an unforgivable piece to this tragic puzzle.




Wyatt Emmerich is the editor and publisher of The Northside Sun, a weekly newspaper in Jackson. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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