State Rep. DeWayne Burns, R-Cleburne, and other local officials shared their thoughts in denouncing Wednesday’s breach of the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote.
“I condemn the unlawful actions of the rioters that attacked our nation’s Capitol and call for the arrest and prosecution of every person who broke the law,” Burns said. “My heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones during the violence.”
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday night from injuries sustained during the riot. Ashli Babbitt, a protestor from San Diego, was shot by another Capitol police officer while climbing through a window of the Capitol building on Wednesday. Three others died near the Capitol building that same day from what news reports describe as apparent medical emergencies.
Burns commented on the larger picture of Wednesday’s lead up and ramifications as well.
“I am sincerely concerned about the deep divides within our country and the loss of biblical perspective in our society,” Burns said. “I’m troubled by the seemingly growing attitude that people who may disagree with each other politically must treat each other as enemies. May we, the people, value each other as fellow Americans.”
Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon deplored Wednesday’s events as well.
“I certainly do not agree with the storming of the Capitol and what we all saw Wednesday,” Harmon said. “Any time the rule of law is ignored, it’s never a good thing because it only causes more division. And the events of Wednesday hurt the whole country; we looked like a third-world country that day. Now, we’ve got to come together and find a way to work together.”
Calling this a chaotic time in our nation, Harmon said he believes fake news from much of the media as well as tweets from President Donald Trump played roles in the buildup to Wednesday’s events. Harmon stressed that he does not believe Trump is responsible for the violence and destruction that ensued.
“This really hurt the legacy of Trump,” Harmon said. “But Donald didn’t want all of that to happen and I appreciated him telling those people to go home.”
Harmon said he supports efforts by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and others that day to question the results of November’s presidential election.
“All Cruz and the others were asking for was to form a committee, not to overturn the election,” Harmon said. “That doesn’t sound unreasonable and what would it hurt? There are so many allegations of voter fraud and all they wanted was to form a committee to perform a 10-day audit and I think, had that happened, it would’ve gone a long way toward restoring confidence in our voting system.
“Because, maybe there’s some merit to those allegations, maybe there isn’t. But anyone can make all the allegations they want. Until it’s looked at and proof or evidence presented it’s just words. But, by others objecting looking at the evidence, performing an audit, that just raises suspicion in the minds of the people. It leads people to ask, ‘What have they got to hide?’
“Of course, I’m not sure 10 days would’ve been enough to audit several states. Plus, if you do find evidence of fraud, what then? Do you push back the inauguration? I don’t know the answers to those questions but I do believe this still should have been looked at.”
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said now is the time for Americans to stand united.
“I just completed a day of working on conflict resolution on two cases to learn of the undignified, un-American and totally unacceptable conduct in our nation’s capitol,” Cain said on Wednesday night. “While I support the right to peacefully protest and voice opinions, the undignified and disrespectful photographs of people inside the capitol and hanging off statues is a mockery of everything we hold dear as Americans.
“Until today, I have told our city’s children that what makes America different than other places in the world is our peaceful transition of power and lack of rioting and looting following an election. I can no longer tell them this and it makes me sick to my stomach.
“It is long past time for us to return to the principle that we are all Americans and not the enemy of one another and to understand that we can disagree without being disagreeable. Today will go down as a great stain upon our democracy. The real question is will this become the new normal or will this unite our country and lead us to stop looking for differences and instead look for common ground?”
Burns concluded by saying he remains focused on defending the Constitution and serving the priorities of his constituents.
“The personal perspective I’ll share is this, we must all remember that whatever the outcome of our endeavors, our earnest desire should ultimately be that people come to know and love Jesus as their savior and that in the end, God reigns victorious over evil and this world,” Burns said. “That fact, and faith, reminds us that God uses both our victories and defeats, as well as our gains and losses, to complete that victory through his plan.”