ALL NEWS

Opinion: The Deadly Toll of January 6th

Aug 13, 2021, 4:00 AM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:20 pm
January 6th 2021 in Washington D.C....
A crowd gathers outside the U.S.. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Photo credit Jose Luis Magana, Associated Press

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Four police officers who defended the Capitol and the people inside performing their constitutional duty on January 6th, 2021  have since died by suicide. One or even two, as tragic as they were, and perhaps you wouldn’t have blamed the deaths on what happened that day, but four? I needed some insight on this question, so I went to ABC News Crime and Terrorism Expert Brad Garrett.

“Unfortunately law enforcement is at the highest risk of any profession of taking their own lives,” he began. 

 

“The anger and rage against the police by many communities in this country add to their stress, add to their depression, and even the mixed messaging from politicians about what happened on January 6th when these officers were clearly brutalized … all of that adds to their disillusionment.”

We talked about this topic on A Woman’s View last Sunday, as well. I asked my guests how they looked at the tragedy of these officers’ deaths. Michelle Love-Day, founder of RISE Virtual Academy, said, “Instantly I went to the Vietnam War. I read about how when they were coming home, how they were not well-received and what that does to you.

“We all have trauma. These officers have trauma. For us to downplay what they were feeling, that’s something they were grappling with.”

 

Part of what exacerbated the pain these officers felt is the fact that when they looked out at the mob, many of the faces attacking them were their brothers in blue.  “The number of police officers, active duty and retired, some were federal agents, that has a devastating effect if you’re in law enforcement,” Brad Garret said.

“Think about that. You’re getting brutalized by the very people who are supposedly on the same side of the law as you.”

The Toll January 6th Has Taken

In addition to the Capitol Police, some 850 D.C. Metro officers responded that day to the riot at the Capitol. That’s approximately one quarter of the entire department. Sixty-five were injured in the combat. Seventy Capitol officers were injured. We don’t talk enough about those officers who were injured, some seriously. 

The widow of one of the fallen officers has asked that her husband’s death be ruled “in the line of duty.” Suicides in the military are presumed to be deaths in the line of duty unless proven otherwise, but the same has not been true for police departments.

Erin Smith, widow of Officer Jeffrey Smith, describes what happened physically and mentally to her husband after he was attacked with a metal pole that day. He was never the same until he took his own life nine days later. The least we can do for her and the memory of these officers is to respect their service and sacrifice as we do members of the armed forces. 

Related reading:

 

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

semi rollover...
Mark Jones

Semi rollover on Legacy Highway reduces traffic to one lane

The Utah Highway Patrol says a semi traveling northbound on Legacy Highway rolled Thursday night around 7:45 p.m. The driver was not hurt.
1 day ago
Layton Police Department...
Mark Jones

Suspect in Wednesday’s I-15 shooting is named, booked into jail

The suspect involved in Wednesday's officer-involved shooting on southbound I-15 has been identified as 28-year-old Michael John Buttel.
1 day ago
avalanche in Utah is pictured...
Mark Jones

Avalanche warning issued in Utah through Saturday morning

On Thursday afternoon, an Avalanche Warning was issued by the Utah Avalanche Center through Saturday morning at 6 a.m.
1 day ago
shops along 2100 S...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Sugar House locals worry 2100 South poses threat to safety and business

As Salt Lake City prepares to rebuild 2100 South, local businesses in Sugar House are asking that safety for foot traffic be a top priority.
1 day ago
UTA confrontation...
Mark Jones

Confrontation with bicyclist sends UTA bus driver to hospital

UTA officials say a confrontation between a bicyclist and a UTA bus driver resulted in the bus driver suffering a broken hip and being hospitalized.
1 day ago
FILE - In a May 19, 2015 file photo, R. Scott Turner, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Me...
Curt Gresseth

Who are SuperAgers and are you one?

The public policy director with the Utah Alzheimer's Association describes the characteristics of so-called SuperAgers and what everyone can do now to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Opinion: The Deadly Toll of January 6th