- An investigator discovered that the Capitol rioters came from towns with dwindling white populations.
- Robert Pape discovered that the rioters came from cities in fear of the growing population of people of color.
- Readers had mixed feelings about the study results, but most agreed.
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An investigator evaluated 377 people arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the Jan.6 riots on Capitol Hill and found that the vast majority of them came from towns with declining white populations and a surge in immigrants and people of color.
The findings, published in a Washington Post op-ed and a follow-up report by The New York Times, elicited mixed reactions from readers. While many seemed to agree with the findings, others said the study did not highlight how flawed the thinking of these insurgents is, and some said it unfairly portrayed a small minority as part of a larger trend.
On January 6, supporters of former President Donald Trump violated the United States Capitol and clashed with law enforcement. The riot resulted in the death of five people, including a police officer. Police have said that between 800 and 1,000 people entered the Capitol during the riot, but three months later, fewer than 400 have been arrested and charged.
Robert Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Threats and Safety Project, said those involved were mostly white and male and came from counties that are seeing a higher percentage of non-white people, which that is causing them. feel like they are about to lose power.
In many cases, the rioters lived in towns that voted democratically in general. Pape said the issue should be viewed as a trend.
“Ignoring this move and its potential would be similar to Trump’s response to covid-19: we cannot assume that it will collapse. The ingredients exist for future waves of political violence, from lone wolf attacks to outright attacks on democracy, around the 2022 midterm elections, “Pape wrote.
Pape told the Times that he also did an analysis on suicide bombers after the 9/11 terror attacks in an effort that helped uncover trends. He said what happened on Capitol Hill on January 6 should receive the same attention, but it is still only the beginning of the investigation.
“We are really still in the early stages,” Pape said.
Some readers said the find was unsurprising and confirmed what activists had been saying for a while. They also questioned whether it was fair for white Americans to fear a racial tide or reduced privilege, highlighting ongoing cases of hate crimes and racial violence against minorities.
“Are whites really worried about the turning of the tables? Being told to go back to where they came from, that they will be attacked in the street, that their loved ones will be suffocated or shot dead by a police officer. stereotyped by employers because their first names are Karen or Brad? Do you think doctors will ignore your symptoms and treat your pain poorly, because you know what those people are like? “one reader wrote in response to the Times article, highlighting the experiences of people of color.
However, others said the study may be biased since it only looks at data from 377 people arrested in connection with the riots, a sample size too small to draw a conclusion on a trend.
“The relatively small data set (377 arrests), combined with the biased nature of those who might attend (the money, time, and airport access required for many of those attendees to make such a trip) does not allow for a granular analysis, “wrote one reader.
Some said those in attendance did not represent Republicans or a growing trend among former Trump supporters. Pape wrote that there were similarities between the riots and two other Trump rallies that resulted in a small number of arrests, but added that the violent turn of events on January 6 could be related to Trump’s incitement.
Trump was indicted in the House of Representatives on a charge that he incited insurrection by telling a crowd to “fight like hell.” He was later acquitted of those charges by the Senate.
In his op-ed, Pape wrote that rioters were concerned about the “great replacement,” a theory advocated by white supremacists that claims that immigrants and people of color will replace whites because immigration is increasing while rates are increasing. White birth rates are low.
“They witness the changes that occur around them every day, and they are so insecure, fearful and paranoid that they cannot conceive of any way to compete in their changing environment except to deny the inevitable changes and fight irrationally to keep things the way they are. It used to be – – – the very definition of ‘ultra-conservative right-wing magativity,’ “commented a Post reader.
Insider has reached out to Pape for comment.
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