Just another day at an improvised insurrection, nothing to see here. Luke Mogelson:
“You are traitors to the country!” a man barked at the police through a megaphone plastered with stickers from “InfoWars,” the incendiary Web program hosted by the right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones. Behind the man stood Biggs, the Proud Boys leader. He wore a radio clipped onto the breast pocket of his plaid flannel shirt. Not far away, I spotted a “straight pride” flag.
There wasn’t nearly enough law enforcement to fend off the mob, which pelted the officers with cans and bottles. One man angrily invoked the pandemic lockdown: “Why can’t I work? Where’s my ‘pursuit of happiness’?” Many people were equipped with flak jackets, helmets, gas masks, and tactical apparel. Guns were prohibited for the protest, but a man in a cowboy hat, posing for a photograph, lifted his jacket to reveal a revolver tucked into his waistband. Other Trump supporters had Tasers, baseball bats, and truncheons. I saw one man holding a coiled noose.
“Hang Mike Pence!” people yelled.
The absurd meets the dangerous.
I followed an overweight man in a Roman-era costume—sandals, cape, armguards, dagger—away from the bleachers and onto an open terrace on the Capitol’s main level. People clambered through a shattered window. Video later showed that a Proud Boy had smashed it with a riot shield. A dozen police stood in a hallway softly lit by ornate chandeliers, mutely watching the rioters—many of them wearing Trump gear or carrying Trump flags—flood into the building. Their cries resonated through colonnaded rooms: “Where’s the traitors?” “Bring them out!” “Get these fucking cocksucking Commies out!”
Thanks to Capitol police, rioters couldn’t penetrate the West Terrace, where legislators had gathered. And here’s another story about a small Maryland town grappling with the realization that their police chief’s twenty-four-year-old son participated in the riot. Americans have a particular kind of crazy that no people will rival.