One police officer is dead and another wounded after a man drove his car into the barricade surrounding the U.S. Capitol building. The suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot and killed by police after he jumped out of his car wielding a knife.
The incident briefly placed the Capitol under lockdown, prompting much speculation that it might somehow be related to the January 6 riot, during which the building was overrun by far-right protesters. But according to early reports, Green is affiliated with the Nation of Islam and had recently posted on Facebook about various personal difficulties. It's difficult to place the NOI on a right-left spectrum, but many followers believe in anti-Jewish and anti-white conspiracy theories. They tend toward black separatism, and it's extremely unlikely Green has anything to do with former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" movement. For now, this appears to be an isolated incident.
The barbed wire fences that have surrounded not just the Capitol building but several city blocks were recently removed. Lest anyone think that this attack was the unfortunate result of lax security, the barricade that Green struck has actually been there for years, and was neither added nor removed during the recent changes.
I ventured down to the Capitol; National Guard troops had already blocked off the area where the attack occurred. (The National Guard has maintained a presence in Washington, D.C., ever since the January 6 riot.) Law enforcement officers were understandably on edge, and it's tragic that someone was killed.
It would be a shame, however, if this tragedy prompted Capitol security to bring back the fences, or delay sending home the National Guard. The massive military presence was designed to prevent the kind of all-out assault on the Capitol that unfolded on January 6—something that's vanishingly unlikely to happen again, now that Trump has exited the scene. The preexisting barricades are sufficient to protect the Capitol from a lone, deranged driver.