MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the nation’s capital continues to recover from Wednesday’s violent protests, two Mid-South residents shared their very different experiences of what happened over the course of the day.
Whether inside the capitol building or protesting outside of it, the events will go down in history. Now the question is, where do we go from here?
Collierville resident and 14-year Marine veteran Bob Hendry said he felt compelled to visit and peacefully protest in Washington, D.C., not to support any one person or group, but the larger idea of democracy.
“I’m more concerned about us having appropriate, fair, free, honest, uncorrupted elections then I am about any particular candidate winning or losing,” he said.
Hendry said he didn’t make it into the capitol, instead remaining on public property with a small group on the border of the south lawn.
Meanwhile, Congressman Steve Cohen was inside when the madness began.
Working on the House floor when the mob entered the capitol, Cohen (D-Memphis) said he was ushered into the basement, where he bunkered down in his office.
“I got in, double locked the doors, got a baseball bat out, sat down to watch TV. I was by myself,” Cohen said. “If they came in, I was going out like they were at the Alamo with my bat.”
The invasion of the capitol has been condemned by officials on both sides of the political line. From an up-close point of view, witnesses are concerned that a small, well-coordinated group might have set the riots in motion.
“It looks like it’s gonna land in the lap of antifa,” Hendry said. “They were very well organized. They were very well equipped.”
The Washington Post has said there is no evidence to support an antifa connection. But Cohen also said it may have been an organized effort.
“I don’t think it was spontaneous,” Cohen said. ”I think the mob followed some people that were a part of the mob, but were professionals inserted into the mob to take them in a direction that they wanted to go.”
Law enforcement has made more than 50 arrests as a result of the events at the capitol.