Those who protect state Capitol must learn from last week’s events in Washington

If those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, we hope those who are tasked with protecting Pennsylvania’s state Capitol in Harrisburg — just 60 or so miles from Lewistown — have acquired important knowledge from what happened in Washington last week.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning about plans — whether those plans come to fruition, at least in Pennsylvania, is yet to be seen — calling on “armed protest” groups to descend upon all 50 state capitols next week to coincide with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

While non-violent protest is the right of every American, and something we support wholeheartedly; given what transpired last week at the U.S. Capitol, the Pennsylvania Capitol Police and other agencies whose job it is to secure the center of the commonwealth’s government had better be prepared for it to become more than that.

A show of force is much better than the use of it. We hope the governor and legislative leaders will have a plan in place to keep everyone safe. We hope having a very visible presence of security will deter anyone who may wish to emulate the events of last week in Washington. We hope anyone who decides to demonstrate does so in a peaceful manner. We saw a perfect example of that just a couple weeks ago here in Lewistown.

A robust, non-violent demonstration is healthy for a government such as ours. It shows that people care about what is going on.

But a repeat of the storming of the U.S. Capitol or anything closely resembling it cannot be allowed to happen. Nor can a violent clash between disagreeing protest groups.

We trust the security providers are prepared for whatever comes to Pennsylvania’s capital city. If not, the images we saw in Washington will repeat themselves, only a lot closer to home.


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