126. Opportunists and Militants

Saturday January 9 2021

The debate of what led to Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol Building remains a hot discussion, but there are sources suggesting a tweet from President Trump was the watershed moment, with some interpreting it as a call to action. Trump used the Twitter platform to confirm that VP Pence was not going to overturn the election results, awarding Joe Biden the presidency. Within ten minutes of the tweet, a crowd stormed the Capitol. Congress was evacuated, leaving paperwork and laptops behind in the panic of it all.

Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

President Donald Trump
in a tweet on January 6 2021

I’ve spent the afternoon reviewing some of the video captured during those three hours of January 6 and the brutality of it is chilling. This may have been a planned attack by some involved, but it’s difficult to identify any organization to the actions of these people. Besides some chanting and flag waving, there is no obvious purpose to what’s happening. It is chaos.

The news stories from the day are unsettling.

Reuters New Editor, Jim Bourg, encountered at least three rioters who were looking for VP Pence so they could hang him as a traitor, a claim supported by the video of a mob chanting “hang Mike Pence.” It was overhead they planned to hang him from a tree, but some crafty psychopaths built a rudimentary gallows with a noose outside the Capitol to help make their point. Pence’s wife and daughter were in attendance that day to enjoy the ceremony. There was time to safely evacuate them thanks to the secret service.

Several rioters were photographed wearing combat gear and carrying a supply of zip-tie style plastic handcuffs, suggesting they intended on taking hostages. With that, it’s not surprising many of these people were armed, concealed or otherwise. One young woman, an Air Force veteran who was unarmed, was shot by a Capitol police officer as she tried to break through the barricade to the Speaker’s Lobby. She died from her injuries and is now being acclaimed as a martyr by the far right extremists. Ironically perhaps, is they’ve borrowed the “say her name” campaign from the BLM movement. The Capitol officer responsible for her death has been placed on administrative leave for further investigation.

A Capitol police officer is also dead after being beaten, reportedly struck in the head with a fire extinguisher; a federal murder investigation is now in process. Three other participants of the day have died from medical emergencies; one due to a heart attack, another a stroke, the cause of the third has not been released.

Dozens of injuries were both reported and recorded. More than fifty police officers were injured, with many hospitalized. One officer was filmed screaming in pain and fear while being crushed with a door by rioters. That clip is here, but a warning it is hard to watch.

Other stories are being shared by journalists who were physically attacked because their lanyard identified them as press for the New York Times or AP. Media photographers had their camera equipment taken from them or destroyed.  

Twitter made the decision to permanently deactivate Trump’s profile, claiming his words incited the violence. Did Trump’s tweets, considering his hyperbolic narrative since the November election, toss the match that started this lethal fire? The power people at Twitter think so. I’m taking a guess the Trump legal team has added “Destroy Twitter” to their ever growing to-do list.

The new social media micro-blogging platform of Parler is being blamed for being a repository of sharing plans for Wednesday’s violence. Google has removed Parler from their play platform and Apple has given them an ultimatum to get their shit together or else. Parler (French for “to speak”) was launched in August 2018 and is marketed as an open place to enjoy free speech with minimal restrictions. It’s become a favored gathering place for not just conservatives to share like-minded views, but the right wing extremist groups as well. Users who have experienced Facebook or Twitter Jail don’t have to worry about getting their profiles blocked just by saying what’s on their mind, unless you go too liberal-like in your viewpoint. So, what could go wrong? Best to leave that to the FBI to sort out.

Speaking of, arrest warrants are now out for those who can be identified from the videos, photos, and the social media accounts where they posted photos of themselves committing crimes. The Associated Press has a summary of offenders here and a photo gallery of Wednesday here. People Magazine also has a 43-photo collection from the day here that’s worth scrolling through.

It needs to be recognized that the rioters were specific groups of people with the agenda to watch the world burn. Most of the Trump supporters at the rally had no involvement in the violence and many are speaking out about the disgrace of being painted with the same broad brush. Instead we’re hearing the names of the usual far right extremists such as the Proud Boys, Three-percenters, QAnon, Oath Keepers, and supporters of the boogaloo movement.

Where there is an absence of facts, rumors take root and spread. And worse, the conspiracy theories start to kick up dust with decoding hidden messages and looking for double-agents and complicity. And admittedly, it is confusing to put together. One video I watched showed a clash at a police barricade outside the Capitol, while there are claims that some barricades were removed purposely by the Capitol police. This clip shows a peaceful entry into the building, while the cops stand by like Walmart greeters. And this video shows people calmly walking around inside the Capitol, some with selfie sticks, like they’re just everyday tourists. Notice how the majority of them are even staying between the velvet ropes; it’s in complete contrast to the violence recorded elsewhere making it seem like two totally different events happened. Actually, it appears to be maybe three different kinds of participants inside the Capitol Building. One group being the selfie-stick why-not opportunists seeing the inside of the Capitol for the first time, another is the social media narcissists who just want photos of themselves doing edgy things. The third are the militant extremists who arrived in full riot gear and metal pipes hidden in their flagpoles. Guess who will be the hardest for the FBI to find.   

In eleven days, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. Trump has publicly stated he will allow an organized transition, but he will not be attending the January 20th ceremony. That sounds good, really, and we cross our fingers that the worst of this is over. But let’s be real here. We got blindsided by this and there’s still a multitude of angry people out there who want something they think they can still take by force.

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