SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – On the eve of Inauguration Day, the scene outside California’s State Capitol is prompting a diverse range of reactions.
“It’s a bit surreal for me. I feel like it’s a little overkill. But I understand why they’re here,” said one resident commenting on the law enforcement presence at the State Capitol.
They’re here by order of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who activated up to 1,000 National Guard members to support the California Highway Patrol, enhancing security in and around the State Capitol, guarding against any potential Inauguration Day violence.
Locals have been watching the uniformed presence grow over the past several days.
“And I can see the progression where they started with a few,” one resident told FOX40. “And then building a few more, then a few more, which I think was great because it wasn’t so startling to the community.”
“It makes me feel better because I live right here. So I’m reassured,” another resident said.
But to some residents, there is nothing comforting about it.
“I never thought I’d see America like this. It’s really scary,” said one neighbor. “And I don’t care which side you’re on, America is quite divided. Just to see these poor soldiers that got called up with the National Guard, out of their jobs, having to have M16s. And they’re going to have to point them possibly at other Americans, frightening.”
To others, the strong military presence is a tourist attraction.
“It’s definitely something to see. I drove up here from the Bay just to see this. So it was definitely worth it,” one person told FOX40.
Adding to the surreal scene, businesses around the Capitol closed early and some of them are boarded up.
The expectation that none of the uniformed officers will have reason to spring into action was one thing most of the people FOX40 spoke to had in common.
“It’s a little extra security in case something does happen. And I don’t think anyone really thinks anything is going to happen,” one resident explained.