- One researcher found that Capitol rebels hailed from cities with dwindling white populations.
- Robert Pape found that rebels came from cities for fear of growing populations of people of color.
- Readers had conflicting feelings about the results of the survey, but mostly agreed.
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A researcher evaluated 377 people arrested so far for alleged involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6, and found the vast majority of them hailed from cities with dwindling white populations and an increase in immigrants and coloreds.
The results, which were published in an op-ed by the Washington Post and a follow-up report by The New York Times, received mixed reactions from readers. While many seemed to agree with the conclusions, others said the study did not highlight how flawed these insurgents̵
On January 6, supporters of former President Donald Trump broke the U.S. Capitol and clashed with law enforcement. The riots resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer. Police have said somewhere between 800 and 1,000 people entered the Capitol during the uprising, but three months later, less than 400 have been arrested and charged.
Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, said those involved were mostly white and male and hailed from counties that see an increasing percentage of non-white people who causes them to feel as if they are on the verge of losing power.
In many cases, the rebels lived in cities that generally voted democratically. Pape said the issue should be viewed as a trend.
“Ignoring this move and its potential would be akin to Trump’s reaction to covid-19: We can not assume it will blow up. The ingredients are found in future waves of political violence, from lone wolf attacks to holistic attacks on democracy around the midterm elections in 2022, ”Pape wrote.
Pape told the Times that he also conducted an analysis of suicide bombings following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in an attempt to help uncover trends. He said what happened at the Capitol on January 6 should have the same attention, but that is still only the beginning of the research.
“We are still in the beginning,” Pape said.
Some readers said the finding was not surprising and confirmed what activists had been saying for a while. They also questioned whether it was reasonable for white Americans to fear racial water or reduced privileges, highlighting ongoing cases of hate crimes and racial violence against minorities.
“Are white people actually worried about the turning of the tables? That they are being asked to return to where they came from, that they will be attacked on the street, that their loved ones will be strangled or shot dead by a police officer? Are they worried about becoming stereotyped by employers because their first names are Karen or Brad? Do they think doctors will ignore their symptoms and undertreat their pain because you know what these people are like? “a reader wrote in response to the Times article and featured experiences from colored people.
Others, however, said the study may be skewed given that it only looks at data from 377 people arrested in relation to the riots – a sample size too small to conclude on a trend.
“The relatively small pool of data (377 arrests) combined with the skewed nature of those who could participate (the money, time and airport access required for many of the participants to take such a trip) does not allow very detailed analysis , “wrote one reader.
Some said those who participated 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 demonstrations, resulting in a small number of arrests, but added that the January 6 violent event could be tied to Trump’s incitement.
Trump was indicted in the House on a charge that he encouraged the uprising by asking a crowd to “fight like hell.” He was later acquitted of these charges.
In his op-ed, Pape wrote that rebels were concerned about the “great compensation” – a theory preached by white supremacy, claiming that immigrants and people of color will replace white people because immigration is increasing, while white birth rates are make.
“They are witnessing the changes that are happening around them every day and they are so insecure, scared and paranoid that they can imagine no way to compete in their changing environment except to deny the inevitable changes and irrationally fight to keep things as they used to be – – – the very definition of ‘right-wing, ultra-conservative magativity’, “commented one Post reader.
Insider has reached out to Pape for comment.
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