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SCOTT DREYER: January 6 Is Epiphany

In our culture we spend months gearing up for Christmas…think of the Christmas wares that start appearing in stores in August or so. Then, by December 26 —bam!–it’s over. Traditionally, however, there were 12 Days of Christmas, with December 25 only as Day 1. Maybe we need to get back to that, but that’s a topic for another column.

Still, the 12th Day of Christmas is January 6, also called Three Kings’ Day or Epiphany, which comes from the Greek epiphaneia, “manifestation.” That day commemorates the arrival of the magi to worship the baby Jesus. (The Bible mentions three gifts…gold, frankincense, and myrrh…but not the number of wise men. Plus, scholars now believe that by the time the magi arrived, Jesus was probably a toddler or older, but I digress.) In earlier times, Epiphany was one of the three biggest holidays (from holy days) of the Church, along with Christmas and Easter.

Epiphany is one of many words that have entered the English language from the Bible. Since the holiday celebrates the magi finding Jesus, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word also means “a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you.”

After January 6, 2020, however, the date has been linked to the infamous riot at the Capitol. Almost immediately, I had a terrible feeling: is this something that people will try to twist into the American-version of the Reichstag Fire? (For more information please read Parts One, Two, and Three.)

At this point, some might dismiss this column as a “conspiracy theory.” However, have you noticed how many so-called “conspiracy theories” in the past few years actually were proven to be true? Likewise, how many of those who railed against “The Big Lie” were themselves actually lying?

On the evening of January 5 I was listening to the hourly update from ABC News on the radio. The announcer intoned it was the night before the second anniversary of “the deadly January 6 riot.” In the spirit of “Letting Go,” I can’t control what others say or do, but I can try to speak the truth as I see it via this platform. Since no one can know someone else’s heart or motives, I don’t know if those who spread misinformation about January 6 are deliberately lying or sincere but just misguided. However, below are some common misconceptions about that infamous event with some accompanying context to shed actual facts about the subject. Plus, as more information comes out, the more these lies are exposed. I write this column in the spirit of “don’t curse the darkness, but light a candle” with the aim of exposing some of the misinformation surrounding that day.

If we let the lies get “baked in,” it will be harder for people in future years or generations to know what really happened.

Lie 1: January 6 was a colossal bloodbath.

To hear many in politics and the media talk about it, January 6 was as deadly and tragic as Valley Forge, Antietam’s Bloody Lane, Pickett’s Charge, Cold Harbor, Pearl Harbor, D-Day and the Tet Offensive, all rolled into one.

Yes, the Capitol riot was deadly, but not as the dominant narrative claims.

I hope we all regret all loss of human life. On 1-6-20, four individuals lost their lives at the Capitol. For context, Roanoke City had at least 67 shootings during 2022, including 17 murders. Over the recent New Year’s Day weekend, Chicago shootings killed eight people and wounded at least 22 others. (source) Yet, those deaths get scant media or political coverage.

Lie 2: Trump supporters were responsible for all the violence on January 6.

The mainstream story claims violent hordes of Trump supporters tried to take over the government but some martyrs held them back so that our republic survived by a slender thread.

It’s seldom talked about, but everyone who died on that tragic day at the Capitol was a Trump supporter. The most famous of them all was Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran. Babbitt was unarmed on January 6, but a police officer shot and killed her. Despite all the riots and complaints against “police brutality” and “police who use excessive force” during 2020-2021, the officer who killed Babbitt was never charged with shooting an unarmed woman at close range. In fact, President Biden and the nation celebrate him as a hero who helped “save democracy.”

Adding insult to injury, Babbitt’s mother was arrested in DC on 1-6-2023 while she tried to attend a memorial on the second anniversary of her daughter’s tragic death. (source)

Moreover, two other protestors died that day, but of natural causes. Kevin Greeson of Alabama and Benjamin Phillips of Pennsylvania died from heart attacks. In Greeson’s case, he fell before the Capitol was breached, and Phillips was in DC but not at the Capitol.

Rosanne Boyland of Georgia also died the day of the riot, but controversy surrounds the cause of her death. The New York Times initially claimed she died “in a crush of fellow rioters during their attempt to fight through a police line, according to videos reviewed by The Times.” However, a medical examiner later stated she died from an overdose of medication for ADD and narcolepsy. (source) In contrast, other evidence shows she was oxygen deprived when the police sprayed something into a tunnel that made it hard to breathe, then she was crushed in the melee. Lastly, while lying unconscious, a DC police officer beat her in the head and ribs.

Lie 3: Police officer Brian Sicknick was killed when crazed Trump supporters bludgeoned him in the head with a fire extinguisher. 

The Roanoke Star and this columnist are strongly pro-law enforcement. Early reports claimed rioters struck Officer Sicknick in the head with a fire extinguisher. The story spread quickly and widely. As recently as April 2022, the Roanoke Times via its columnist Leonard Pitts was spreading this falsehood even though the tale had been debunked at least twelve months earlier. By April 2021, medical examiners explained that Sicknick tragically passed on January 7…two days after the riot…from natural causes when he suffered two strokes. (source)

Lie 4: Five police officers died in the Capitol on January 6.

President Biden has claimed rioters killed five cops on January 6. False. Speaking this week, President Biden made a new gaffe by indicating the riot occurred on “July 6.”

Tragically, four police officers involved on January 6 later took their lives by suicide. However, no one can say for sure why they took that tragic step. Moreover, suicide is a national mental health crisis and many first responders are especially at risk, particularly since our culture has become very anti-police in recent years.

Lie 5: Believing the 2020 election was rigged is a Big Lie.

Actually, thanks to Elon Musk having bought Twitter and releasing previously-secret files, we see the election was rigged. The FBI had Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” from December 2019 to October 2020, but had suppressed the story. Then, when the FBI realized the story was going to hit the fan in the weeks before the election, they warned Facebook and Twitter to be on guard against “Russian disinformation.” (source)

A poll shows 17% of Biden voters would not have voted for him, had they known the Hunter laptop story, which would have had the potential to change the election results. So, that kind of manipulation is a type of election-rigging.

Lie 6: January 6 was an insurrection.

This charge is always repeated, but I think “riot” is a more fitting noun. Some protestors were armed, but none of them discharged a firearm that day. (Only the police officer who killed Ashli Babbitt did that.) Plus, many meandered around the Capitol posting selfies. Who, if they are aware they are breaking the law–especially if they think they are trying to violently overthrow the government–would post selfies of themselves to social media? Who cranks up Facebook lives and declares “Look at me, everybody! I’m getting ready to rob a bank!”

There is much more, but time and space are limited. A few final questions to gnaw on.

  • Since tensions were so high by early 2020 and President Trump has publicly called for supporters to rally in DC, why were requests for more police and National Guard turned down?
  • Why were the barricades around the Capitol so scant and flimsy that day?
  •  Who opened the 17′ high, 20,000 lb. Columbus doors?
  • Who is Ray Epps? He has filmed egging on protestors to go into the Capitol, and was inside the restricted area. But, unlike so many other protestors, he was never charged. Who were those people who began moving barricades and rolling up fencing around the Capitol early in the riot…almost as if they knew what they were doing and acting according to plan?
  • If January 6 was such a “grave threat to our democracy,” how do we explain the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan? Or our open Southern border, allowing in drugs, illegal immigrants, and possibly terrorists? Or a $31 trillion national debt? Are those not threats to our security and democracy?

Most of all, don’t take my word for it, but do your own research and, most importantly, your own thinking.

Epiphany means “a sudden knowing.”  There is much we still need to know about January 6.

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer at Bryce Canyon
Scott Dreyer M.A. of Roanoke has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Photo at Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at




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