In the aftermath of the armed insurrection by an angry mob that violently defiled our national Capitol last month - which had transpired against the memory of civil unrest that exploded on the streets of several major American cities last summer - comparisons have been made, with some misguided parallels.
Violence should never be condoned as a measure to achieve the desired result. This column seeks an understanding in terms of the distinction between last summer's boiling over of the frustration about police brutality and the Black Lives Matter protests - which were not violent protests, but rather protests accompanied by violence - and the Jan. 6 insurrection.
What erupted on the streets of Minnesota, New York City, and Chicago was a frustration that exploded after hundreds of years of racial inequality, and the looting and burning within this racially-charged framework requires contextual understanding.
I do not mean to suggest last summer's civil disorder that unfolded should be condoned, but rather that it should be understood in juxtaposition to the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol.
There really is never any excuse for lawlessness, but to seek an understanding of the events on Jan. 6 and the rioting that took place last summer, there are some clear distinctions regarding that understanding.
First, let us draw comparisons between the Jan. 6 incitement of violence and destructive behavior that resulted in injuries, as well as death. The damage to physical property, injury, and loss of human life are not anything to be ignored or downplayed.
Yet the flawed logic comparisons regarding the objective of BLM protests about injustice vs. an anti-government planned uprising - with a goal of disrupting a constitutional procedure that also involved capturing or assassinating duly-elected members of Congress - that must be brought to the forefront of the conversation.
These armed insurrectionists were galvanized to coordinate and implement a calculated plan to storm the U.S. Capitol, and violently overturn an election at former President Donald Trump's urging.
Ultimately, the Jan. 6 insurrection was also energized by lies and conspiratorial darkness, which have blinded many Americans in terms of not only the truth, but to their own history as well.
Rabbi Yosie Levine of the Manhattan Jewish Center said, regarding the Capitol assault: "When someone breaks windows, it is not criminal mischief. It is an assault on our democracy."
And in terms of the attempt at understanding the distinction in a context, the lines then become unblurred. In the final analysis, violence, while not condonable, can be understood in a context where meaning is attached to the violence.
The bloodshed behind the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa had meaning against the backdrop of the fight to end legalized segregation.
The comparison of the underlying goals was the focus of this column, for how can one compare the objectives and protests about racial injustice to an organized and armed takeover of the seat of our democratic republic, which was ignited by baseless conspiracy theories?
On Jan. 6, the provocation by Trump was, as Sen. Mitch McConnell put it, "a mob that was fed lies," and when McConnell voiced his support for impeaching Trump, McConnell voiced this concern because the impeachment was the remedy that would help to erase not only Trump's legacy, but the impeachment would also remove that Trump legacy from public perception of the Republican Party.
And those 10 Republican House members that immediately came out in favor of impeachment did so because, unlike the BLM protests, the Trump-fueled insurrection represented one of the biggest dangers in America, which is domestic terrorism via white supremacism.
Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with an emphasis on civics and history.