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Editor, The Beacon: 

I write in response to Tanner Andrews’ complaint that Sheriff Chitwood ordered a fourth armored vehicle costing $337,650. As a Republican, Chitwood better understands President Trump and his supporters than a liberal who values and believes in democracy and American traditions. 

After losing the popular vote by 7 million and the Electoral College by 306 to 232, Trump demanded the election be overturned. He invited supporters to D.C. on Jan. 6 promising a “wild” day. At their rally, he told them to march on the Capitol to shut down the Electoral College vote-counting. 

Trump’s mob injured 60 U.S. Capitol Police, hospitalized 15, and killed one. Four protesters died: One was shot by police, one died from a stroke, another from a heart attack, and one trampled by the mob as they breached the Capitol. 

This was the first Capitol breach in more than 200 years, back in 1814 when the British stormed and burned the Capitol. 

Fire was prevented when 11 Molotov cocktails and two pipe bombs were discovered before use. But the Trump-inspired rioters paraded through the Capitol with Trump flags and the flag of slavery. They wore clothing glorifying Nazis and their concentration camps. They destroyed property, stole computers from offices and cameras from the media covering the event. They smeared feces around the Capitol. 

While order was restored, these groups are already calling for more violent actions later this month, including at Joe Biden’s inauguration. 

The Capitol terrorists included the Proud Boys, whom Trump told to “stand back and stand by.” Proud Boys have a long history of violence and a chapter here in DeLand. 

Mr. Andrews, you, I and millions of others were shocked by this violent attack on our democracy. But Chitwood understands the mindset of the 45 percent of Republicans who approved of the assault on the Capitol. He knows the Proud Boys and other white-power extremists are a real threat to destroy property and put our lives at risk. 

Hopefully, a day will come when those armored vehicles can be sold for scrap. 

Sam Sloss 

DeLand 

Editor’s note: Chitwood has posted on social media that he now regrets endorsing President Trump. 

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