In the lead story in its local news section, the Washington Post reported last week that the Justice for J6 rally in D.C. cost government agencies that assisted Capitol Police at least $790,000. The Post seems bothered by this expenditure. So I infer from the fact that the paper rarely reports on the price tag of marches and protests by leftists or, for that matter, their rioting.
Whatever one thinks of the events of January 6, the protest on behalf of the defendants who stormed the Capitol was well within the rights of the protesters. Supporting folks charged with crimes is a time-honored form of American protest, especially when the alleged crimes are committed in a political context. And, of course, these rallies are protected by the First Amendment.
In this case, moreover, it’s not the protesters’ fault that government agencies spent so much in connection with the protest rally. The event was sparsely attended and did not require the expenditure of nearly $1 million. According to the Post, fewer than 500 people attended, a goodly share of whom were (in the Post’s words) “journalists and bystanders.”
Yet, the D.C. police mobilized its entire force of more than 3,500 members to work on both the day before and the day of the rally.
The excessive amount of money was spent because the government believed its own BS. It chose to believe that this event might be a repeat of January 6 — another “insurrection.” There was no sound basis for this belief, which was widely ridiculed by sensible conservatives. Rather, the belief was founded in some combination of paranoia and the desire to advance the view that “insurrectionists” are a genuine threat in America.
To be fair, the Justice for J6 rally isn’t the first time D.C. authorities spent way too much money policing a right-wing rally. According to the Post, a Unite the Right rally in 2018 cost the city an estimated $2.6 million. Fewer than 40 people attended that one.
It’s good to see the city moving towards more cost-effective policing of political rallies.