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One Year After Capitol Riot, America Still Divided

01-05-2022
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One year ago Thursday, a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in what's been described as the worst attack on American democracy since the Civil War. 

Although we've seen numerous investigations, security improvements, and prison for some of those involved, the country remains divided. 

"If you look at other incidents 9/11, school shootings–we've been brought together as Americans, this is the first incident this hasn't happened," said Donell Harvin, Homeland Security expert for RAND Corporation.

Harvin served as the Washington, D.C. Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence which allowed him to observe, first hand, a dangerous increase in online chatter from armed militias and known radical groups prior to the events of Jan. 6. His office helped prepare the local response. 

"I will go to my grave knowing that had it not been for the local authorities, the Capitol would have fallen," Harvin told CBN News.

While security breakdowns on the federal level remain under investigation, Harvin says it's important that looking back doesn't distract from moving forward. 

"The radical elements that really want to tear apart this country are still there," he said.

Security experts like Harvin worry that our divisive political environment will continue to provide a foothold for those radical elements.

"The violence that we experienced on Jan. 6 is decentralized and will go back to the states and we see evidence of that already with election officials being threatened, public health officials being threatened, school officials being threatened," Harvin claimed.

This leads him to believe that instead of targeting the nation's Capitol, the next threat will be directed at the state and local level.

"Just from a Homeland Security and intelligence analysis standpoint, if those individuals and like-minded individuals who sought to stop the certification of the vote on the very, very last day they could fail on January 6th, indications are that they'll go further up in the voting cycle and try to stop people from actually casting their votes, or stop the votes from being counted or certified at the state level," Harvin said.

Looking ahead, he says it's imperative to protect election officials while securing voting sites and statehouses. Ultimately, though, he believes restoring national unity is the most important way to ensure the survival of American democracy.

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