Inside The Death of Ashli Babbitt
On a couple of occasions, I have written that the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt was in the right. I knew in expressing that opinion I would get push back from hardline Trump supporters. And I did – but less than I expected. Regardless, I thought I should elaborate on that issue because my opinion is grounded on a fundamental belief in law and order applied evenly.
First, it is necessary to understand that I stand in defense of the crowd that came to Capitol Hill to peacefully demonstrate. That was their right. And they did not appear to be asking members of Congress to do anything illegal or unconstitutional – despite the misinformation flowing from the elitist east coast media cabal.
Unfortunately, a small contingent of the demonstrators was not honorably motivated. They crossed the line — from protest to violence, from demonstration to riot. That dynamic was a lot like the many demonstrations that we have seen in our cities that started out as peaceful protests only to give way to violent riots launched by folks with evil intentions. The only difference between those riots and what happened on Capitol Hill is how the left reacts.
When such riots have occurred across the country, I have been consistent in my criticism of restraining the police – having them stand down as criminals riot, loot, burn and kill. We have police to protect people from such violence. And we give police guns as a last-resort method of stopping the violence. Conversely, the crazies on the left now want a ban on even non-fatal weaponry – including teargas.
In terms of Ashli Babbitt, I have no doubt that she was a wonderful person. She was a good mother. She served her country as a patriot. All that is true. That makes her death all the more an unmitigated tragedy.
But she made one very unfortunate error in judgement. Should she have died for that? Probably not. Had she been arrested, she most certainly would have received a much lesser sentence. But that is not how things go down when a person is actively involved in a violent crime. Things can go wrong.
There can be no argument that Babbitt was involved in a criminal activity. It was far more than trespassing. She was among those violently attacking the Capitol Building. She was violently damaging property in an attempt to enter the House chamber where some members of Congress were still gathering.
The mantra of the crowd was to physically attack the members of Congress – even yelling out death threats. Perhaps that was just over-the-top language in the heat of the moment, but how can one determine that in the midst of the hostilities.
Police and members of Congress were guarding the doors where Ashli Babbitt tried to access the chamber. Babbitt was breaking through the glass window in the door and was the first to attempt to enter the Chamber.
We have to be honest here. If they did not take extreme action, it is very likely the mob would have been able to overcome the security guards and enter the chamber. That was a risk that the police officer could not afford to take.
It gives me no joy to point to Babbitt’s own culpability in her death. But it was the result of her own decision to participate in a violent riot – and to even be the point person in an attempt to break through the line of security at the chamber door where some of the targets of the mobs wrath were still assembled.
We also have to understand the law that enables police officers to use lethal force. It is whenever the officer believes that he or others are at reasonable risk of bodily harm or death. I think the officer met that standard. It was not just an attempt to stop one young lady, but to stop the mob she was temporarily, leading.
Just to understand my position on these matters, I believe the Capitol Hill Police – who were terribly undermanned (and that is worthy of investigation) – may have prevented the breach of the Capitol entirely if they had judiciously used guns early.
I recall the police officer running up the stairs as rioters pursued during the first breach of the Capitol. What if had fired his gun in the air and then pointed it at the crowd? I think they would likely have run for the exits. And if they pursued after that warning, I believe that officer would have had the right to fire at the mob – which usually means to wound, if possible, kill if necessary. Had he not run, he would have had every reason to fear personal injury or death. It was one of those flight or fight moments. I would have had him fight.
Maybe those who took exception to my opinion on Ashli Babbitt think that as a conservative and a person who twice voted for Trump, I should change my views on law and order because these rioters were arguably my folks. Those who rioted were NOT my people. I do not embrace criminality even by folks ostensibly on my side of the political divide.
I have applied my view to the many leftwing riots that have torn apart all those Democrat cities. And I condemn the hypocrisy of the left that will allow the homes, businesses and neighborhoods of the segregated and oppressed in our inner-cities to be destroyed without the same concern and actions they now demand for in the Capitol Hill riots. And then the liberal news media stops reporting three days later.
The riot on Capitol Hill was relative mild in terms of damage, death and duration compared to the riots we see over and over across America. The main difference was who were the victims. Around the country, it was the common people. On Capitol Hill it was the privileged class. Around the country it was the left doing the rioting. On Capitol Hill, it was the right. Therein lies the hypocritical difference.
Saying that the Capitol Hill was not as bad as many others America has experienced does not mean I am insensitive to the many injuries – some serious – inflicted on the police. I recall the officer screaming as a door was crushing him– and I wondered, at the time, why no other officer used a gun to save him. That clearly met the standard for justified lethal force.
I make these points because of the hypocrisy of the left. They have elevated the Capitol Hill riot to an insurrection, sedition and even a coup attempt. None of that is even remotely true. But when the victims are common folks, they treat the riots like a picnic – where the criminals are in the right and the police are the provocateurs. The picnic reference is not an exaggeration. Recall how the mayor of Seattle compared the violent takeover of a portion of the downtown – including a police headquarters — by violent protestors to a “summer festival.”
One might compare the situation involving Ashli Babbitt to illegal drag racing. It is not a Class-A felony, but occasionally someone dies. That person did not deserve to die – they just took a chance and lost. That is how I see the Babbitt case. Had she remained outside the Capitol Building – or at home – she would be alive today.
Asli Babbitt took a dangerous risk when she chose to engage in violent action – and unfortunately it ended very badly for her and her family. But I firmly believe that the police officer was well within his rights at that moment in time.
So, there ‘tis.