They say this is the largest number of troops they’ve sent to an inauguration. Originally, less than ten were going to go.
“I think the events that took place last Wednesday really changed everything. I think it changed the entire complexion of our response,” Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, adjutant general for Oklahoma, said. “There’s a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety around the country, and people are polarized and I’m just hoping that spark doesn’t occur again that led to what we all witnessed in shock last week.”
The attack on the Capitol was a shock to leaders.
“As an American, as a citizen, it was deeply troubling for me. It was a gut punch really. I never thought that we would have an experience like that in the United States of America,” Thompson said. “It’s alarming to me, it’s saddening to me, that we have to put our Capitol behind a nine foot fence, and surround it with members of the Oklahoma or United States National Guard, thousands of them, to safeguard our Capitol. I just wish things hadn’t escalated to the point they are now.”
The national bureau for the Guard requested a certain percentage of soldiers from all the states.
Thompson says troops may be helping with things like protecting elected officials, crowd management, and communications. They will also be armed.
“I wouldn’t feel good about sending those soldiers there without the means to protect themselves. If they can’t protect themselves, they’d be hard pressed to protect that facility,” he said.
“The concern is with anything, anytime you get large groups of people together, they don’t make the best decisions,” Col. Robert Walter with the Oklahoma National Guard said.
Leaders add there will still be personnel in Oklahoma in case anything happens here.