These are unprecedented times that we are living in, and our government is dealing with an threat unique to the moment, as the FBI continues to warn that a massive contingent of President Trump’s supporters continue to plan violent actions online.
The Bureau has suggested that their main target, and their main point of contention, is the inauguration of Joe Biden. The President-elect has remained steadfast in his intent to be inaugurated on the steps of the Capitol, despite the risk posed to he and the attendees.
Now, as that day approaches, the National Guard has been called in to guard the Capitol and other sensitive sites around the city, and they’ve been bestowed the ability to use deadly force in their operation.
National Guard members supporting US Capitol security in Washington, DC, ahead of Inauguration Day will be armed, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
The decision comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for more extremist violence after the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol last week.
The first wave of National Guard troops who arrived at the Capitol were unarmed, and the Army has been reviewing whether National Guardsmen should be armed for the inauguration with lethal or nonlethal weapons.
Capt. Chelsi Johnson, spokesperson for the DC National Guard, said in a statement to CNN that the move was requested by federal authorities and authorized by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
“National Guard members are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary,” Johnson said.
The troops were photographed sleeping in the halls of the Capitol, in photographs that illustrate the stark reality of the situation.
I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021
Well this is something I thought I’d never see. National Guard members getting rest in the Capitol, guns by their sides, under the busts of Lincoln and Washington. pic.twitter.com/CVDshN76eY
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 13, 2021
National Guard members sleeping inside the U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/lQBRvKM7nH
— Luke Stier 😷 (@LukeStier) January 13, 2021
There are at least a thousand, probably more, National Guard troops all over the Capitol Visitor Center, Emancipation Hall, and surrounding hallways. They’re sleeping in reception areas, the cafeteria, the entrance to the building. Everywhere. pic.twitter.com/EFvofT8fqx
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 13, 2021
Now the nation waits, wondering if this was all for naught.