There have been many far worse attacks on the US Capitol than the one on January 6th. For instance, here are just 2 examples of many:
1954: Puerto Rican nationalists open fire
On the morning of March 1, 1954, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irving Flores Rodriguez boarded a train from New York City to Washington, D.C. With little to no security measures in place at the Capitol, the group walked into the building with concealed handguns and entered the gallery overlooking the House floor, where Congress was in session.
The group designed their violent attack to draw attention to the cause of Puerto Rican independence. Their grievance dated back to the Spanish-American War, when in 1898, the United States invaded Puerto Rico and established it as an “organized territory.” At the time, this meant that Puerto Ricans were subject to American imperial rule but were not considered full citizens. Even after Puerto Ricans achieved citizenship in 1917, the territory still has no voting representation in Congress and little political autonomy. More than a century of U.S. imperialism and its adverse effect have led some Puerto Ricans, such as these nationalists, to argue that their territory should be completely independent of American rule.
“Bullets whistled through the chamber in the wildest scene in the entire history of Congress,” said Speaker Joseph W. Martin, who was presiding that day. According to the Office of the Historian of the House of Representatives, the police had sealed off the Capitol within minutes of the shooting and conducted a thorough search of the grounds until they captured Rodriguez, who had narrowly managed to slip away in the mayhem. The four attackers were tried and sentenced to federal prison with sentences ranging from 16 to 75 years. They remained imprisoned until President Jimmy Carter, responding to international pressure, granted the shooters clemency in 1979.
1983: Far-left extremists bomb the Senate Chamber
Leftist groups had attacked the Capitol directly before: In March 1971, for instance, members of the extremist group Weather Underground set off a bomb in a bathroom on the Senate side of the Capitol, harming no one, reports Brockwell for thePost.
But the most serious terrorist attack took place a decade later, when a group of women split from the group to form the May 19th (M19) Communist Organization. Just before 11 p.m. on November 7, 1983, a member called the Capitol switchboard to announce that a bomb was about to explode.
Minutes later, M19 detonated a bomb in the Capitol’s north wing, blowing a hole through a wall and knocking the Senate majority leader’s office door off its hinges. Luckily, the area was already deserted and nobody was harmed, but the attack resulted in $250,000 worth of damage and shredded a portrait of Daniel Webster, per theU.S. Senate.
Members of M19—named for civil rights icon Malcolm X and Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh—coordinated the attack to protest U.S. military involvement in Grenada and Lebanon. Broadly, the group argued that violence was a necessary ingredient in the fight for “revolutionary anti-imperialism,” and its members would go on to bomb other high-profile buildings such as an FBI office. Some of the women involved were later arrested and charged with lengthy sentences, Brockwell writes for thePost.
National historian security expert and historian William Rosenau, who wrote a book on the bombings last year said that the group is the only documented terrorist group run entirely by women. They were “a group of essentially middle-class, well educated, white people who made a journey essentially from anti-war and civil rights protest to terrorism,” he says.