“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business . . . The right IN ONE DAY took the . . . U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.”
Those are the words written in a now-deleted social media post by Thomas Robertson, 47, an officer of the Rocky Mount Police Department in North Carolina. Robertson was photographed in the Capitol building during the January 6 riots.
Himself and colleague, Jacob Fracker, 29, took a selfie inside the Capitol and then shared the picture to Facebook, bragging of their exploits.
“Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom?”, said Fracker.
The pair have both since been arrested and faced court where the judge has ruled that they can no longer possess firearms, travel outside of Western Virginia, attend public demonstrations, and both have forfeited the right to a passport.
These are just two of the hundreds of people being tracked and detained by the FBI in a wide-reaching operation to punish those involved in last weeks attack on the US Capitol.
“The FBI has a long memory and a broad reach. Even if you’ve left DC, agents from our local feild offices will be knocking on your door”, Washington Field Office assistant director Steve D’Antuono said this week.
FBI’s Most Wanted
In the week since the attack, more than 170 investigations have been opened and these are “just the tip of the iceberg”.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, 33, the guy in the fur hat and horns carrying a spear in some of the most widely shared images of the riot, has been arrested and charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct. He is apparently refusing to eat food in jail because it’s not organic.
Doug Jensen, 41, from Iowa, has also been arrested and charged. He is the man who chased heroic police officer Eugene Goodman through the Capitol, attempting to break into the House of Representatives.
Nick Ochs, a self-described “Proud Boy Elder from Hawaii”, who tweeted a picture of himself inside the Capitol smoking a cigarette, was arrested too as he got off his return flight home in Honolulu.
Richard Barnett, 60, is the man who was pictured with his feet on the desk of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who also stole items from her office. He has been arrested and charged with theft among other things.
As the weeks go by and more information becomes known about the people involved, most of whom have so far been identified by associates and reported to the authorities, more arrests are sure to follow.
It is worth mentioning however that a lot of the people involved in the riot genuinely believe they have done nothing wrong. The ranks of Trump supporters are filled with conspiracy-minded people who believe the Democrats are communist pedophiles wanting to turn America into a Venezuela based on an economy of child-trafficking. They believe they were making their voices heard, taking back power from those in government, and reenacting scenes from the revolutionary founding of their country.
The blame for the violence and destruction seen on January 6 lies entirely at the feet of Donald Trump. Trump was speaking at a rally outside the White House, encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol, and telling them he would be leading the charge. Trump apparently wanted to walk with the rioters but was dissuaded by his security team.
Instead, he fled the scene in a limousine, tweeting in a video hours later that the people involved were “very special” and that he loved them.
Republicans too share some portion of the blame, as Capitol Police officers have even stated that they wouldn’t be surprised if some lawmakers helped to organise the attack.
Newly elected Rep. congresswoman Lauren Boebert has come under particular fire for appearing to direct rioters by tweeting the location of top Democrats during the attack. She also tweeted earlier in the day “This is our 1776”
Even after the attack, some lawmakers have refused to pass through Capitol metal detectors, claiming it is an infringement on their second amendment rights to carry firearms. Speaker Pelosi has said anyone refusing to do so will face a $5,000 USD fine.
Trump has since backtracked on his earlier remarks, releasing a video via the White House Twitter account on Thursday in which he said he “unequivocally condemns the violence we saw last week” and that the MAGA movement has always been about defending the rule of law and upholding the values and traditions of the nation.
“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever harass our fellow Americans”.
Trump went on to equate the violence seen at the Capitol with that of the civil rights protests in 2020 and said that both sides of the political divide need to abandon violence.
He also lashed out at social media, though not in name, for banning him, which he referred to as an “unprecedented assault on free speech”.
“To censor, cancel, and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous. What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another”.
It’s unlikely that the arrests and the inauguration of Joe Biden on Wednesday will put an end to the Trump movement, and, with protests planned across America this weekend, the threat of another violent incident will likely hang over the country for some time.