Heroic Officer Eugene Goodman used himself as bait to lure rioters away from the Senate
Kristen Wilson/Twitter, Ian Bremmer/Twitter (Photo by Ashley Gilbertson)

As more footage from last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol comes out, we're getting a fuller picture of what took place that day. And frankly, it's terrifying.

We've now seen the gallows erected outside of the Capitol and the rioters shouting "Hang Mike Pence!" We've seen reports of insurrectionists carrying zip tie restraints and now know how close we were to possibly witnessing lawmakers being taken hostage—or worse—live on TV. We've seen journalists attacked, a policeman dragged down steps and beaten with an American flag, and feces and urine left in the hallways and offices of the U.S. Capitol.

One piece of footage that has emerged shows how one Capitol Police officer's bravery may have saved members of the U.S. Senate. Officer Eugene Goodman found himself alone and confronted with a mob forcing him backwards up a stairway within the Capitol. Video from HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman attempting to hold back the rioters, but he is clearly outnumbered. They keep pushing him farther and farther up the stairs, toward the floor where the Senate chambers are.


What isn't immediately obvious in the video footage is a specific moment when the mob reached the floor where the Senate chambers were. Goodman appears to glance down the hall toward the chambers, where no security can be seen, and then shove the frontman of the mob before leading them in the opposite direction of that hallway.

In other words, it looks like he used himself as bait to keep the mob away from the Senate chambers. Insurrectionists did end up breaching those chambers, but thankfully, it wasn't until after lawmakers had been moved to a secure location within the building.


It's hard to imagine the terror this man must have felt in these moments. Completely outnumbered, charged with the duty of protecting the U.S. Capitol as it's being overrun, knowing that the nation's lawmakers—including the next three people in line for the presidency—were in the building and relying on the police for protection.

But the terror for Officer Goodman goes beyond that. This isn't just a police officer being outnumbered; it's also a Black man facing down an angry white mob. We've seen photos of pro-Nazi apparel worn by some of these people. We've seen a huge Confederate flag being marched through this building that day. Many of the people who have since been arrested are prominent members of white nationalist groups.

To be who he was, in the place that he was, facing the mob that he was—and to still have the presence of mind to do what he did—is a demonstration of heroism that can't be overstated.

As we express our gratitude and praise for his heroism, we must also acknowledge the trauma of this experience. Not just the trauma any of us would have endured, but the added racial trauma of knowing that this mostly white mob could—and just might—lynch him.

The racism in the group isn't just an assumption. Nor is the violent threat they posed.

BuzzfeedNews interviewed two Black Capitol officers, both of whom remained anonymous, about their experiences in the Capitol that day. They said they were repeatedly called the n-word as the rioters stormed the building. Some even abused them while telling them they were doing it for them.

"We were telling them to back up and get away and stop, and they're telling us they are on our side, and they're doing this for us, and they're saying this as I'm getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper-sprayed in the face by those protesters — I'm not going to even call them protesters — by those domestic terrorists," one officer told the outlet.

And they were left to fend off white supremacists without sufficient support. One officer, who has been with the Capitol Police for more than a decade, said the threat was downplayed before the event, and then the chief of police was MIA during the riot. He also explained how the absurd costuming and antics of some of the rioters served as a distraction from how serious the threat really was.

"That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us," said the officer. "They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs ... They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs, in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military."

The threat isn't over. There are multiple reports of plans for more armed protests in the nation's capital as well as state capitals in the days leading up to Biden's inauguration. Social media companies have cracked down on incitement, including banning the president, in an attempt to keep extremist groups from organizing via their platforms. Other private companies have also taken action to limit further violence by denying service to Parler, a "free speech" social media platform that has been a favorite of many pro-Trump organizers, as the seriousness of what happened last week truly sinks in.

In everything that's happened this week, Officer Goodman's brave actions stand out as a beacon of hope. President Biden will have an incredibly busy schedule once he takes office, but as soon as possible, he should award this man the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If anyone has ever deserved that honor, Eugene Goodman certainly does.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."