…you mean like, after an armed insurrection at the Capitol? The week of the inauguration? SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
There are 25,000 National Guard troops deployed to DC right now. That’s more American troops than are currently deployed to Afghanistan (note: the low numbers of troops in Afghanistan is a GOOD thing, don’t get it twisted, but DC is not a large city.)
The security perimeter for the inauguration includes not just the major federal buildings and the National Mall, but also nearly all of downtown, Union Station, 3 of the bridges into the city from Virginia, big chunks of NoMa, and nearly the entire neighborhood of Capitol Hill (not just where Congress and the Supreme Court are, but where people live). Parking garages all over the city are closed. Residents are being told not to get out lest they might not be able to get home.
Don’t get me wrong; in DC we are accustomed to inaugurations. A perimeter goes up a day or two ahead of time around the general area of the White House, Mall, and Capitol, you know you’ll have to pass through security to get on to the Mall to watch, and the city pretty much shuts down for the day and everyone takes the day off.
But all of this started a full week before the actual inauguration and has thrown the lives of hundreds of thousands of people into disarray.
Meanwhile, folks are falling all over themselves to provide restaurant food for the paid troops occupying the city, while the unhoused population in that perimeter is cut off from the social services they depend on. Families who are dependent on nutrition programs during the COVID shutdown are cut off from meal distribution. For an entire damn WEEK.
The perimeter is pretty tight; the only arrests have been one-off randos who “forgot” about the gun in the back of the truck, or people who are clearly disturbed in some way. But now the new concern is that if the visiting fash can’t cause mayhem downtown, they’ll start acting out elsewhere in the city. You know, in our neighborhoods.
So I plan to spend some portion of Wednesday sitting on my porch, conspicuously sharpening my axe, and glaring at anybody with Trump paraphernalia on their car.
Here are some articles to read about how DC residents are experiencing these events:
- What was the point of Fortress DC? By my friend Brian McEntee
- DC Statehood is more urgent than ever Quotes my friend Josh Burch, who has been tirelessly working for DC Statehood (AND his day job) for years.
- What DC continues to endure
- Inside the Capitol siege Washington Post recounting of the many and varied ways DC’s lack of control of its own National Guard and city operations hamstrung both preparation and response on January 6th.
Here are some on-the-ground mutual aid groups working to keep folks safe who have to venture downtown to work, and make sure our unhoused neighbors have food and resources while all this is going on. There are lots more, but here’s a good starter list:
- Remora House: Venmo: @Remorahouse_dc
- Feed the People: Venmo: @Charity-Sade CashApp: $CharitySade
- DC Fridge Collective: CashApp: $dcfridgecollective
- Errybody Eats: Venmo: @errybodyeats CashApp: $errybodyeats0
- Kyanite Kitchen: Venmo: @kyanite.kitchen CashApp: $kyism
- Fuel the People: Venmo: @fueltheppl
- Casa Ruby: Venmo: @casaruby
- They/Them Collective: Venmo: @TheyThemCollective