A Deep Mystery of Absence Surfaces

Bren Kelly
7 min readJul 31, 2022

The Coldest Case of Federal Crime

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It’s a more than a little disconcerting when I had a flashback of “Where were you when?” I paused when I saw some clip during the last segment of the January 6 committee and suddenly remembered the trauma of watching live on January 6th, 2021. It was like when I saw live the second plane slam into the second World Trade Center on 9/11, back in 2001. Although I had seen clips many times of the rebels going up the stairs at Capitol in the year that followed, this was the first time I had a “flashback” sense. It was the first time I saw it again in a new light that made sense.

This time the pattern that couldn’t be seen appeared: it was the absent puzzle piece that fit into America’s violent racial struggle.

When I was watching the original event unfolding back on January 6, I had been writing for a few months on “Black Lives Matter” issues on Medium, trying to “do the work” of a white person to better see the systemic part of racism that drove the murder of George Floyd (among the many, many in the news that year). In that first live unfolding of the insurrection, I noticed that there were no federal police, no national guard, no military troops, no secret service, no FBI, no ATF.

These alphabet letter of police and military enforcers, who had surrounded Trump when he marched to the church to hold the Bible up and beat down protestors, were notably absent. I had seen the video “proof” of these federal enforcers beating the peaceful protestors, who all held their hands up in the air on June 12, 2020. It seemed not one of these federal enforcers was missing on that date.

But during the organized violent protest to protect the Capitol, all of them were missing, except the Capitol Police. Those police are part of the legislative branch, not the executive branch, so don’t fall under Trump. Thus­­­­­­­­­­, something was very wrong. While listening to the famous and much lauded January 6th committee, it occurred to me of that obvious absence again. I’ve yet to hear anything from the January 6 committee about this significant absence. Any good observer always knows what I had forgotten:

Absence is always the most important presence.

Bren Kelly

Engaged in new Ideas and old Inequalities, dismantling the system in systemic, born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, still seeking injustices.