The rioters who stormed the Capitol heightened not only political tensions, they have triggered a security effort like the city of Washington has never seen. For those of you who have left South Florida to visit the capital city to take in its its history, famous buildings , and monuments—it’s a much different place now.
Since the riot Wednesday, no matter the hour, in the darkness, and in the daylight, the nation’s capital has been quickly turned into a place looking much like Fort Knox. Many federal buildings now sit behind metal barricades erected in the hours after the riot.
“We came by just to kind of see what was going on to see how it has transformed and I think it’s such a shame, and hopefully at some point we will get our country back,” said Jenny Allison, who lives nearby in Arlington, Va.
Allison told us what’s transpired is painful. The high fences have gone up around not just around the Capitol. There’s no more just walking up the Supreme Court steps to peer into the highest court in the land.
"It is heartbreaking and I hope this doesn’t impact how people are able to enjoy the actual Capitol building and the capital city going forward," Allison said. "When you think about it this could change how people are able to experience buildings that really belong to all of us—right?”
Yes, there’s always a substantial security here and a valid worry about terror threats, but what happened when rioters overran Capitol police after President Trump’s rally took the potential danger to another level.
If you’d like to try to see the White House, good luck. The high fence around the White House now extends several blocks and there are high walls that prevent you from even seeing through. From the street you can see the Department of Treasury and the top of the White House in the distance with the flag at half staff to honor officer Brian Sicknick who died after the riot. Police say he was struck with a fire extinguisher.
When it comes to seeing the President's home, D.C. resident Travis Howell told us, ”It is a little bit of an eyesore at the beginning, but you kind of get used to it. But I think forever—it’s DC—and everybody is always going to come and visit and see the sites.”
On the streets of downtown Washington, the men and women of the DC National Guard are mixing in with the general public.
Early Boner grew up here. He’s glad the extra security is in place. Bonner told us, “It’s very good. It’s more safety now for them doing that. They wasn’t prepared for all of this stuff that happened this week that just passed.”
Some of the additional protections would have gone in place near the Capitol for the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20th, but the time line moved up, and those who call D.C. home think, unfortunately, this is what visitors from South Florida will see for the foreseeable future.