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Inside The Death of Ashli Babbitt

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.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Pim

    Ashli was committing no violence. Someone else broke the window that she climbed through. She was unarmed and had no weapons. The cop could have restrained her and put her in handcuffs. He was a poorly trained wanker who panicked and should not have been there, A large mob could not have fit through that small opening and overwhelmed the police. If this had happened anywhere else in the country, the cop would have been arrested a long time ago. This was a political assassination, worse than in Russia. The cop should be in prison for life. Her killing was disgusting.

    • Anonymous

      Pim. Everyone can agree that Ashli Babbitt was participating in a violent crime — even multiple crimes. She was not some lone citizen trying to break into the House chamber. The officer was not confronting one person, but the person that was leading a mob to break in. Shooting her was an unfortunate necessity under ALL the circumstances. It was a reasonable response to prevent a greater and more dangerous outcome. A tragedy yes, but not an unreasonable and unjustifiable reaction with all things considered. That officer was there to stop the mob … and in shooting the first to enter, he did back down the mob. At that moment, Babbitt was not the nice person her family loved. She was a leading element in a dangerous mob.

      • Dan Tyree

        Larry if she had been black the walls of the capital would have been torn down. They were committing property crimes unarmed. You posted before that you don’t like my style or posts or whatever. That’s ok. I take no offense. I know that I give the leftist folks hell but I’ve never physically attacked anyone or tried to cancel them because of their views.