How can you compare the 9/11 attacks and the Jan. 6 insurrection? That’s crazy, right?

The only person who clearly died from the violence on Jan. 6 was a Trump supporter, so how on earth is it reasonable to compare the Capitol insurrection to the 9/11 attacks, which killed 2,977 people?

USA TODAY contributor Kurt Bardella made the comparison on MSNBC this week and instantly faced backlash from Fox News and others on the right.

At first, I was inclined to agree. As a conservative, I have long chafed at the fact that any act of right-wing violence is used by the media to tar the whole of the right and blown up into some kind of national scandal, but when violence mars left-leaning causes, the standards change. Then the media is quick to draw a distinction between violent actors who might not really be down with the cause and the “mostly peaceful protesters.”

But the events of Jan. 6 are different.

Jan. 6 violence at Capitol

First, there’s little debate they were violent. You just have to watch the video. And hundreds participated in the violence.

Second, it is pretty clear that the violence was politically targeted. In other words, terrorism. The man Donald Trump appointed to head the FBI testified before Congress that it was “domestic terrorism.” 

Third, the Jan. 6 body count was low not because of the peaceful intentions of the insurrectionists, but rather because of the heroism and restraint of the Capital Police officers on the scene. If members of the House and Senate had not successfully fled the rioters, lawmakers might well have been held hostage or killed. There was no shortage of calls for violence among organizers and advocates for the insurrection.

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