Who were the Capitol Hill rioters?

Video of pro-Trump protesters rally on Jan. 6. Source: ProPublica

There is going to be a big push to give the government new powers to prevent something like the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots from ever happening again.

For this reason it is important to get a picture of what happened that is as accurate as possible as soon as possible.

“Lambert Strether” of Naked Capitalism looked into the backgrounds of 125 people who’ve been charged with crimes in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots.

He concluded they represent a cross-section of middle-class white America.

More of them came from the largest states—California, Texas and New York—rather than nearby Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. They were evenly distributed among all age groups.

The most common occupations of those arrested were business owner, police officer and real estate broker.

Strether thinks the events of Jan. 6 can be more accurately described as a riot than as an insurrection or an attempted coup. Most of the rioters appeared to be surprised that they actually penetrated the Capitol and to have no clear goal as to what to do next.

In fact, many of the rioters took videos of the events on social media, and selfies of themselves.  Many of these videos were posted on the Parler social media site. 

Any organized white supremacist group or, for that matter, “antifa” group, would have been careful to mask their faces and destroy surveillance cameras. 

No doubt they were in Washington, and maybe some of them were in the Capitol building, but if this had been a planned coup, it would have been more effective.

Parler has been taken down, but the ProPublica investigative team has collected a lot of them, sifted through them and published them in chronological order.  They provide a picture of the pro-Trump protests and Capitol Hill riot as seen by the protesters and rioters themselves.

It is a disturbing thing that the functioning of Congress and the safety of its members was threatened by a mob. 

But the riot was something that didn’t have to happen.  If there had been the same police presence as during the Black Lives Matter marches last year, the pro-Trump protests would have been as harmless as the anti-Trump protests four years ago.

I do think there is a real possibility that the USA is in for a period of low-intensity conflict, as in northern Ireland from 1968 t0 1998.  I also think there is a danger that over-reaction can make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Pausing to reflect on the facts is never time wasted.  I’m not sure I know all the relevant facts.  I’m not sure anybody else does, either.

LINKS

The Class Composition of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut) by Lambert Strether for Naked Capitalism.

Inside the Capitol Riot: What the Parler Videos Revealed by Alec MacGillis for ProPublica.

What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol by the staff of ProPublica.  The collection of videos.  (Hat tip to Steve from Texas)

Why We Published More than 500 Videos Taken by Parler Users of the Capitol Riot by Scott Klein and Jeff Kao for ProPublica.

Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Hill Riot by A.C. Thompson and Ford Fischer for ProPublica.

Capitol Mob Has Roots in Anti-Lockdown Protests by Mara Hvistendahl for The Intercept.

Lessons from the 6 January insurrection by Albena Azmanova and Marshall Auerbach for Counterpunch.

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2 Responses to “Who were the Capitol Hill rioters?”

  1. Nikolai Vladivostok Says:

    I’ve read a few cases that suggest some MAGA participants were organized with a vague plan while one or more were former BLM protesters stirring up trouble. However, the vast majority seem to be as you say: riled up Trump supporters who were as surprised as anyone to find themselves in the Capitol and acting as though they thought themselves harmless and not likely to get into much trouble.
    But then, the storming of the Bastille and the Boston Tea Party were equally ridiculous.
    I’m afraid the government is going to use the incident as an excuse to further restrict our freedoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I rather agree with you. Trumps speech sounded like a union organizer at a rally. A few crazies leapt at the opportunity due to inadequate security, the police crumpled like a soaked dixie cup and the rest of the crowd got swept up in it. Crowds have a mob mentality that can overrule the judgement of the weak minded within them. Those few instigators, maybe as few as a dozen, may have planned to look for an opportunity but I doubt they’d have moved if the opportunity hadn’t been there.

    I’m listening to Biden’s inaugural address and it sounds like exact;y what we need right now. There are rabid dogs on both side of the conflict (though the left would vigorously deny their contribution) and they need to take a chill pill.

    Biden mentioned this song in his speech.

    Like

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