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A year on, there are numerous valid and important questions about what happened on January 6th and why. There are questions to be asked about the decisions that led directly to what was a peaceful political protest turning into a violent riot. The language used by its popularizers as an attempted coup — insurrection, threat to democracy, seconds from losing the country, etc. — are all meant to elide this point. Time’s Molly Ball says it here: without a massive breakdown in policing and security, this would be a day no one remembered.

So the questions that present themselves are: why were Capitol Police so unprepared for a rally that made crystal clear its intentions to go to the Hill? Why did multiple requests and offers of additional support go rebuffed? Why do so many of the agitators, some of them armed, remain free and at large instead of under arrest? Why were so many individuals allowed into the building without being stopped? And — and this one bothers me most of all — what can the possible excuse be, in the most surveilled area in the most surveilled American city, for not knowing who the attempted pipe bomber is after all this time?

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