When a mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, many of us watching the events on television were wondering: they’re not going to actually breach the building, are they? Police and security will turn the mob back, right?
Then, the unthinkable actually happened, as rioters broke glass windows and forced entry inside.
Once those windows were broken, a last line of defense against intruders was obliterated. Eventually, the Senate Chamber and congressional offices were overtaken, and a joint session of Congress was interrupted. When it was all over, five people had lost their lives.
The fallout from this seditious event grows as each day goes by, including an ongoing investigation that led to the discovery of two pipe bombs, the pursuit of several at-large insurrectionists, and a pending impeachment of the President of the United States.
Could all of this have been prevented by simply replacing the windows of the Capitol building with Riot Glass?
Windows are the weak point
Security professionals, landlords, and building managers know all too well that windows are the most vulnerable points in a structure. Whether it’s a storefront window, a glass door, or the window of a congressional staffer’s office, when an intruder decides to enter a building with malicious intent, they are most likely to breach a window.
When you watch footage of the Capitol invasion, you’ll see rioters specifically targeting pane-glass windows, breaking and smashing them with ease. Once the windows were taken out, intruders poured through and into the interior of the building, where they ran roughshod over the Senate Chamber and overtook congressional offices.
For these invaders, breaching the glass windows was probably the easiest part of their insurrectionist afternoon. The windows shattered quickly, as we all could see in the media coverage.
What if the windows didn’t shatter so readily? What if the glass was somehow reinforced, preventing shattering and remaining intact and in place? Could such a defensive strategy have possibly prevented the sacking of the Capitol?
How Riot Glass and safety and security window film work
Riot Glass is a patented framing and clear ArmorPlast shield system made from a combination of polycarbonate and plastics that mechanically anchors to your windows and doors for maximum strength. The framing system comes in anodized clear and bronze, custom fit to your doors and storefront window system to create a protective shield that is always working. The panels are scratch-coated, solar UV treated, and extremely durable.
Riot Glass stops break-in attempts using sledgehammers, crowbars, knives, pickaxes, bricks, blocks, bats, and more. In short, it stops rioters and looters from getting in and has proven more effective than any other forced-entry protection system including boarding, roll-down gates, and security window film.
Watch the video to see Riot Glass in action:
Advanced safety and security window films like those in the 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film family are specifically designed to mitigate shattering and to reduce the risk of flying glass. With the right window film application, vulnerable windows and glass—even those in the Capitol building—gain an extra layer of protection, becoming less likely to be penetrated by bricks, rocks, sticks, and crutches, and even if broken, far less likely to shatter.
Would the ransacking of the Capitol building have been thwarted with window film alone? Probably not. But there is no question that if those windows had been protected with powerfully engineered safety and security window film, rioters and insurrectionists would have had a much more difficult time breaking the glass, and penetrating the threshold through the windows. And that precious time would have granted police and security more time to adequately respond.
The 2020 Nashville bombing
On December 25, 2020, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside a recreational vehicle parked in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Eight people were injured and dozens of buildings in the vicinity were damaged.
Although the motivations and outcomes of the Capitol raid and the suicide bombing are entirely different, there is no question that safety and security window film could have mitigated much of the damage in Nashville. Broken glass and windows throughout the downtown area—had they been applied with quality safety window film—may not have shattered at all. And if they had, the spall effect, or penetration of shattered glass, would have been reduced or prevented entirely.
A simple measure of safety and security
The safety, security, and strength of a building’s windows and glass can be further enhanced with 3M Impact Protection Attachment Systems. These combination systems attach filmed window to the window frame, creating a robust shield that significantly outperforms window film-only systems. This extra level of protection guards against impact energy from earthquakes, forced-entry events, and bomb blasts.
The Capitol riot and the Nashville bombing were tragic events, sobering as they remind us of how vulnerable we are even in the places we feel are the most secure. With the simple application of quality Riot Glass or safety and security window film, we can protect people and property, reduce the risk of flying glass, ensure less business disruption, and mitigate against the injurious and damaging effects of natural disasters, break-ins, and explosions.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can use Riot Glass and 3M Safety and Security Window Film to keep your people and property safe.