Prosecutions of the hundreds charged in the Capitol riot are just getting started. Defendants could spend years behind bars for ransacking the building – and harsher penalties loom for those who assaulted police and destroyed property. https://t.co/9rpGnElyly
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 15, 2021
Like ‘… the Aristocrats!’ joke, only infinitely dumber and more awful.
Relentlessly grim stuff here. https://t.co/wp8oQhnwPy
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 16, 2021
Sure, the bulk of the rioters didn’t mean any harm, exactly… any more than the superspreaders at the Sturgis bike rally last summer intended to kill themselves & their loved ones. They were just, like, deeply involved in fun group events with a few thousand of their closest friends!
… They were mostly older White men and women who lived paycheck to paycheck with plenty of time on their hands — retired or close to it, estranged from their families or otherwise without children — and Trump had, in a surprising way, made their lives richer. The president himself almost always spent the night in his own bed and kept few close friends. But his rallies gave the [Front Row] Joes a reason to travel the country, staying at one another’s homes, sharing hotel rooms and carpooling. Two had married — and later divorced — by Trump’s second year in office.
In Trump, they’d found someone whose endless thirst for a fight encouraged them to speak up for themselves, not just in politics but also in relationships and at work. His rallies turned arenas into modern-day tent revivals, where the preacher and the parishioners engaged in an adrenaline-fueled psychic cleansing brought on by chanting and cheering with 15,000 other like-minded loyalists. Saundra Kiczenski, a 56-year-old from Michigan, compared the energy at a Trump rally to the feelings she had as a teenager in 1980 watching the “Miracle on Ice” — when the U.S. Olympic hockey team unexpectedly beat the Soviet Union…
Kiczenski met people like Ben Hirschmann, a Michigan legislative intern who posted on Facebook anytime he had an open seat in his car on the way to a rally. She bonded with Brendan Gutenschwager and flew with him to Hong Kong, where they spent 24 hours waving their red, white and blue Trump flags during protests over China’s extradition laws. She occasionally overnighted about an hour outside Detroit with Judy Chiodo, a fellow Trump rally-trotter, rather than drive all the way home to Sault Ste. Marie.
But 2020 proved grueling for the Joes. In March, Hirschmann was among the first Americans to die of covid-19. His death, at 24, shook his Trump friends. “I talked to him more than my own daughter,” Cindy Hoffman, a 60-year-old Iowa woman who ran a tool-sharpening business, said on a Zoom call that the Joes held to grieve…
When Randal Thom, a 60-year-old ex-Marine with a long gray mustache, fell severely ill with a high fever and debilitating congestion, he refused to go to the hospital. He was a heavy smoker who was significantly overweight and knew he faced an increased risk of severe effects from covid-19. Still, he refused to take a coronavirus test and potentially increase the caseload on Trump’s watch: “I’m not going to add to the numbers,” he told me. Thom survived the scare, but died months later in a car accident while returning home to Minnesota from a Trump boat parade in Florida…
Kiczenski was in Washington with friends for the Jan. 6 rally. She was convinced beyond a doubt that Trump had been reelected on Nov. 3, only to have his victory stolen in what she described as “a takeover by the communist devils.” She said she believed that, in part, because she had crossed paths with Corey Lewandowski, a well-known and ubiquitous Trump adviser, in the Trump International Hotel the previous summer. Lewandowski told her, she said, that the only way Trump could lose was if there was massive election fraud…
On Jan. 6, she and her friends made their way to the west side of the Capitol, where a mob pushed through police barricades and turned steel bike racks on their sides, leaning them against stone walls like ladders. Some men helped her climb up the rungs. People were everywhere, and it was difficult to move. Kiczenski and her friends scaled one more wall and were within about 100 yards of the Capitol. But it had become so crowded — they didn’t want to lose one another — that they decided to stop on the west terrace, take pictures and soak up the atmosphere…
Kiczenski was inspired by a vista of Trumpian strength and patriotism: the Washington Monument in the distance, the majestic Capitol in the foreground, and freedom-loving patriots fighting like hell to stop a stolen and fraudulent election, liberate their country and save their president. She snapped pictures and recorded videos.
“It just looked so neat,” she said. “We weren’t there to steal things. We weren’t there to do damage. We were just there to overthrow the government.”
But when Trump posted a video to social media asking supporters to go home (and saying he loved them) after the riot raged for hours, Kiczenski felt confused and depressed. “We were supposed to be fighting until the end,” she said.
She reminded herself that the president hadn’t technically conceded, and as soon as she arrived home in Michigan, she packed for the next Trump trip. Kiczenski trusted that something was coming and wanted a go-bag ready if she needed to leave for a rally at a moment’s notice.
“We’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to hear about the next event,” she said. “Now we’re like an army, and it’s like boots on the ground. Tell us where we need to go!… “
As innocent, and as deadly, as a cloud of coronavirus particles.
If I haven’t mentioned it before (I keep starting posts about the riot, but there’s just TOO MUCH), HuffPost reporter Ryan J. Reilly’s twitter feed is a great way to keep track of day-to-day developments:
“Here comes the riot police, Mom… This is our house! Wow, Mom. I wish you were here with me. It’s really exciting in here. It’s joyful and it’s sad at the same time. We can’t let Biden… to be our president.” https://t.co/GtBNh85bg1
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) July 15, 2021
In video #3, someone is smashing in a window to the Capitol as people in the crowd sing the Star Spangled Banner pic.twitter.com/y4HeHSKnHo
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 15, 2021
Protip: being a real-world shitposter will get your bail revoked. https://t.co/NKaxEIHLJf
— HatIsNotIntoCoups (@Popehat) July 15, 2021
/2 Some people are responding to this with “wait, isn’t it permissible — even healthy and good — to have contempt for the government?” Yes, it is. But you have to pay attention to context.
The context here is the judge’s determination under the Bail Reform Act:….
/3 “Will any combination of conditions reasonably assure” that this person will show up for court and not be a danger to the community?
Here the judge didn’t find this doofus was a danger, though I suspect some judges might have (the judge is right, IMO, on this record).
/4 The judge did find, however, that the defendant’s erratic behavior, including harassment of the court officials supervising him and their families, suggested that he would not comply with court orders regarding showing up in court.
/5 From the judge’s perspective, this is the dialogue:
Judge: “If the court orders to you appear for trial, will you obey, or do I need to detain you to make sure you show up?”
Defendant: “The court can kiss my ass.”
Judge: “Well okay then.”
/6 You can disagree with the judge’s conclusion and think that piling on more conditions would have reasonably assured his return to court — some judges would — but the logic that “this completely defiant person clearly won’t follow orders” is typical detention logic.
/7 From a legal realist perspective, being a gratuitous douche to the court staff (because Pretrial and Probation are arms of the court), and doing creepy threatening things to their families, will make the judge not disposed to give you the benefit of the doubt.
/8 In short, your legal fortunes are best protected expressing contempt for government in traditional American ways, like in the same fundraising appeal in which you also celebrate the unimpeachable divinity of law enforcement and the military.