And Then Again by Tamara Pettit

…… Like many of you I was shaking my head in disbelief last week as I watched rioters surge into Congress and telling myself, “No, this can’t happen here. This is America. We don’t do that here.” Turned out we do and any idea that we were above that… that our government was sacrosanct… evaporated.
….It’s not like I wasn’t warned. I had several friends who voiced their concern. My son, Doug, said he thought something like this might happen. Life in the United States has changed forever.
…..Who are these angry people who seem to have no bounds? Do we know them? Turns out we in West Virginia not only know them, we elect them. Newly-elected Delegate Derrick Evans, a Republican from Wayne County, had barely taken his oath of office in West Virginia, when he was off to the DC to take part in the rally. He took his own cell phone video of breaking into the capitol as he shouts “We’re in, Derrick Evans is in the Capitol” Not quite the behavior of a rationale lawmaker. When asked about Evan’s actions at a press conference, Gov. Jim Justice referred to him as a “dumb bunny.” I can think of other descriptives.
…. A look into Derrick Evans’ background reveals he attended Marshall University for one year before transferring to West Liberty University where he graduated. He played football while at West Liberty and was an All-American Football Player. He is a former teacher and football coach in Wayne County. According to Wikipedia he recently announced he was a line coach for Virginia Tech and currently lists his profession as real estate development.
….Evans was known in his district for being a frequent abortion protestor and had a restraining order filed upon him by a worker in a health clinic according to Wikipedia.
…….House leadership was quick to say that they take would swift action against Evans, but before any action could be taken Evans quickly submitted his resignation.
……Is Evans a fluke? Maybe not. I was alarmed to read on WV Metro News that Senator Mike Azinger, a Republican from Wood County, had not only attended the rally, but said he would go back if Trump called him.
……“The rally was something our President called for,” said Azinger. “I didn’t necessarily want to make that long trip and stay out in the cold.” Azinger continued that he felt it necessary to make the sacrifice to go and he hoped Trump called them back.
……My blood runs cold when I read this. I served with Sen. Azinger’s father, former Del. Tom Azinger, and it is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting a repeat of the mob which at times chanted “Hang Mike Pence.”
…..Throughout the State’s history there have been those who ended up in the House or Senate and many of us wondered how in the heck they got elected. Often, the voting public did not know their entire story. What I have found, however, is that the understory eventually comes out. Sometimes the election is a fluke. A really unpopular incumbent results in the election of a candidate who has run many times in the past.
…. One candidate back in the 1990’s frequently ran for both State and local offices. Floyd Rayner Looker ended up in the Federal Prison in Ashland instead of serving in the House of Delegates. In 1996, he was a member of the right-wing Mountain Militia group and was arrested for planning to blow up the FBI Fingerprint Center in Clarksburg and several other federal buildings. His plans were discovered when an undercover FBI agent, posing as a member of an international terrorist group, offered him $50,000.00 to turn over blueprints of the FBI Center. How did Looker acquire the blueprints? Seems another Militia member was a member of the local fire department where they had a copy in case of a fire at the center. Looker showed the agent the plastics and explosive they were going to use and blew a two-foot-hole in the ground as a demonstration. At the time, Looker claimed that Mountain Militia had members in all 55 counties. By the way, Looker ran as both a Republican and a Democrat.
……Monday is Martin Luther King Day. I think it’s a good time for us to pause and reflect over what Dr. King would have thought about the violence being wrought in the name of protest. While his people had experienced many inequities and endured brutality, they continued in their non-violent peaceful demonstrations in the face of great adversity. As I heard of the many buses filled with angry protestors heading to Washington, DC,, I couldn’t help but think of those who traveled on buses as “freedom riders” through the South in 1961.
…..What would they think of the United States today?