Reader’s View: Call rioters what they are: criminals

Bizar Male

It was a right-wing rave with guns, zip-ties meant for hostages, and molotov cocktails (to burn it all down when they were finished?). But the rioters were so busy taking selfies that perhaps they forgot why they came.

One guy knew. “Our president wants us here,” said one of the vandals inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the New York Times. “We wait and take orders from our president.”

Then it was over almost as quickly as it started. And like children who played with matches and accidentally started a fire, the rioters slunk away and frantically tried to erase the evidence of their fun from their digital accounts. Gee, were they just a little ashamed of themselves?

The fun is indeed over, and the reckoning is beginning. Already dozens have been arrested across the country. Internet activists are scouring the web for images to pass on to federal investigators; 40,000 tips have come into FBI headquarters.

The Bureau has a web page ( that displays photos of some of the culprits. I urge everyone to examine the images to see if they recognize any of the scoundrels.

And let’s not pretend they are “patriots.” They were certainly egged on and manipulated by a profoundly disturbed sociopath who thrives on the chaos he leaves in his wake. But they drank the Kool-Aid and made a choice: to trespass in the people’s house, brutalize members of the press and the police, and vandalize the most magnificent building in our nation.

Some commentators seem perplexed at this moment as to what to call them. Rioters? Insurrectionists? Loonies?

Here’s the word: criminals. May we look forward to many months of news of prosecutions and convictions.

Roald Evensen

River Falls, Wisconsin

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