We came perilously close to turn of events that could have made Capitol riot much worse

Only a few steps separated lawmakers from a confrontation with out-of-control mob.

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Second Impeachment Trial Of Donald J. Trump Continues In Senate

House Impeachment Manager Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) departs Wednesday after the day’s proceedings in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol.

Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images


Our lives are measured in steps.

First steps.

Baby steps and missteps.

Steps to the altar.

Steps calculating success, failure, fitness — and even a 12-step program treating addictions.

So many steps in a lifetime.

Even the goose steps of tyranny.

This past week, in the midst of the riveting and exhausting Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, a calculated measure of “58” hallway footsteps got the nation’s attention.

58 steps.

It was the length of a hallway path calculated as the distance between life and the possibility of death — walked by legislators away from the Trump-inspired marauders stalking legislative prey at our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“I paced it off myself,” argued U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell, a House impeachment manager pleading a case for a high crimes and misdemeanors conviction of Trump.

In the midst of the melee, the maniacal Trumpsters called for death, thumped on walls, banged on doors, and became a river whipped into froth and frenzy before leaving behind the detritus of fury.

They called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

They called out former Vice President Mike Pence.

Then erected a gallows and a hangman’s noose and called for death.

Then they called home, texting each other about their bravura and stolen goods.

“Bring them out,” they kept shouting. 

As a result of this assault on our nation’s democracy and interruption of a peaceful certification of the electoral vote, the subsequent televised Senate trial this week was equally riveting — and exhausting! 

And when it was Trump’s turn Friday to defend himself, his lawyers got out their weapons to tweak strategy, redefine freedom of speech and declare Trump a victim.

So Trump’s lawyers brandished scissors and clipped and snipped their way to a celluloid production of dizzying news clip soundbites of Dem leaders urging their country to fight, fight, fight — without context — and added spooky music to manipulate.

Covering everything short of war in my newspaper career before becoming a desk-bound columnist, my encounters with fear of possible danger were as a tourist: leaving Tunisia’s second blowup during the “Arab Spring”; a brief border stop in Libya hoping I wouldn’t be identified as a journalist; and being separated from my companions and confined in a thatched “jail” cell after a brief border arrest between Vietnam and Cambodia. 

But as a reporter, hitching a ride on a rickety helicopter flying over a dense jungle canopy en route to witness the death camp created by the mass suicide of members of the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, could have been a disaster.

How cunning danger can be: an innocent step the wrong way in the Capitol could have led into a mob bearing stun guns, hockey sticks, military muscle and plastic handcuffs, amid churned up rioters.

How would that have changed America?

So in the midst of national desperation or disappointment or delusion in a changing America divided by the way we define free speech and sedition, let’s hope our country gets a second chance at joining hands and getting together.

But for now, I’m taking a breather from this national nightmare of dirty politics and heading to a dirty martini.

A COVID-19 update . . .

Dear Aunt Blabby,

Just thought I’d give you a coronavirus update.

My tortuous tango leading up to my first COVID-19 shot was a success.

It was efficient, it was fast, and it was not a long wait following a subsequent warning my left arm might be sore and I might feel fatigued.

Thankfully, the day after the needle was a piece of cake. 

Unfortunately, a subsequent two-day fatigue and sore arm did not limit my ability to unpack and eat a box of yummy apricot rugelach baked by the divine Three Tarts Cafe in Northfield.

Sneedless to say, stay tuned for the second installment of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A special man . . .

Condolences to the family of a man who inhaled life and exhaled love, Edward Weil, who died early Thursday morning at the age of 93 — and the husband of a woman he praised every day as a reason for his incredibly happy life — his beloved wife, Dia. 

His devoted son, Eddie, proclaimed his adored dad a second father to countless people and a mentor to many; his daughter-in-law, Karen, praised him as a teller of truth; and his brother, Tom, proclaimed: “I wish I was half the man he was.” 

As for myself, may everyone have the great, good luck to have a man like Ed in their life.

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Randy Moss, 44; Peter Gabriel, 71; Robbie Williams, 47. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Freddie Highmore, 29; Edinson Cavani, 34; and Danai Gurira, 43.

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