The White Privilege Of The January 6th Insurrectionists
January 6th, 2021.
A “mob” stormed The Capitol, while some of them seem to have basically been invited in by law enforcement. The motivation was the idea that the election was somehow stolen, and the “Stop The Steal” rally on January 6th had been widely promoted by conservative influencers, QAnoners, and Republican politicians.
Paul Gosar, a congressman from Arizona, tweeted about the rally on the day it took place, adding: “Don’t make me come over there.” He tags Ali Alexander, who later told a crowd that day: “We’ll shut this country down if we have to.” Five people are now dead.
We know that 500 people have been arrested, and that a good portion of them that have ties to either military or law enforcement. We know that they chanted about hanging Mike Pence, and that there were Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, and Three Percenters. We understand that the GOP is trying to downplay what happened and that Putin even finds it worth it to help them.
It’s certainly been interesting to see all of the narratives that have emerged since that day. Most rational people understand that this was a disturbing, albeit lazy, attempt at a coup — while others will argue that it “isn’t a coup” and worry more about the messaging than anything else.
Some pundits and influencers have tried to argue that this wasn’t really that serious since the military wasn’t involved. To these individuals, a group of white men storming The Capitol at the behest of a former president is more of a comical event than anything else. Hm…
I find that a bit strange, personally.
Others have inexplicably called the insurrection “non-lethal,” for reasons beyond my comprehension. Ben Burgis, who writes for the Jacobin, and literally wrote a book about “giving an argument to the left,” offered up this ridiculous take on Twitter. The idea that downplaying the insurrection is BAD for the left is such a short-sighted statement that it’s hard to take seriously.
The tweet is now deleted, but you can see the following reactions from Twitter:
It’s safe to say that even the Republicans are realizing that the optics are undeniably terrible.
If you are “on the left” and spent the next several weeks after the insurrection arguing about whether these people were truly fascist or not — was that productive? Many actual members of the Republican Party promoted the “Stop The Steal” rally for weeks — and downplaying the insurrection only helps the most deranged politicians, pundits, and pieces of shit in this country.
Alas, I’m not here to expound at length about the insurrection, or the way that it has been portrayed. I’ve seen information over the past several months that really helps frame precisely what happened. We all know that the “mob” that showed up that day was delusional, and I previously wrote about Pat Stedman.
Beyond that, however: who EXACTLY were these people? Some have tried to frame this as an economic crisis: these “white people wouldn’t have rioted if they had gotten their COVID checks.” It’s a ridiculous narrative, and yet it has been pushed. Here’s Jimmy Dore and Richard Wolff trying to make that claim:
This is obviously ridiculous. For some, it might be tempting to spin this riot as some sort of anger from laid-off blue-collar workers. But no. For the most part: these were, quite simply, white men. To put it in mathematical terms, the insurrection was caused by a group of people that was “95 percent white and 85 percent male.” Some of them may have had tax problems, but to frame this as some sort of working-class riot is inane. A former Olympic athlete was involved.
We know more about who these people are through one simple question: How are they acting now? And, well…as you may have guessed — pretty strangely. I imagine some of them are debating about taking plea agreements. Still, others seem to legitimately believe that Trump will somehow, STILL, “save” them. Here’s a tweet from several days ago, from Scott Macfarlane, who has been covering the insurrection and the subsequent investigation:
Look — I certainly don’t believe that the criminal justice system always makes sense. I understand that lawyers come up with creative defenses to beat their cases. However, I also imagine that you will read through this and agree that some of this is absolutely bizarre. Many insurrectionists are acting as if January 6th never happened, and appear confused at the mere concept of consequences for that day.
I understand that this riot wasn’t necessarily a coup — something that everyone seemed to focus on for several days after the insurrection, even though it was a fucking INSURRECTION — but THIS — the fact that some of them believe that Trump will still save them — is certainly disturbing.
Do I have some deep desire to see all of these people do life in prison? Of course not. I would like to think that some of those arrested in their 20s will look back on this in a decade and give some kind of insightful interview as to how they’ve moved on from that mentality. Maybe some will admit that they had gone down an unhealthy rabbit hole of sorts. I also don’t think there should be no consequences, and obviously, less leeway should be given to the most violent insurrectionists.
Some of these rioters will inevitably make deals. However, many who don’t make deals may STILL believe that Donald Trump will save them somehow. Anna Morgan-Lloyd is a 49-year-old woman from Indiana that wasn’t violent, didn’t break anything, and spent 10 minutes inside The Capitol. She’s avoiding jail and getting three years of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.
One might think that some QAnoners and “Stop The Steal” supporters would be embarrassed at this point, and finally admit that the fight for Trump is over. However, it appears that Trump returning to the presidency has become some amorphous prediction with a bit of a religious texture.
For example: Christians may not know exactly when Jesus will come again…but they KNOW he will, right? I know many Christians who remain committed to the beliefs outlined in the Bible rather than an accurate prediction of a deity’s return, but it still plays a role in how Christians think about the future. Similarly, to many insurrectionists, Trump’s return to power is STILL somehow inevitable. Election results are a mere obstacle to prophecy.
It’s obvious this kind of mentality that is more problematic than anything else. Trump is playing into this fervor, of course, and it is clear that the insurrection, in terms of the public consciousness, isn’t simply “going away,” and if it does — it probably won’t be soon. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, pointed out that he himself wants to learn more about “white rage.”
It’s easy to see that many of these insurrections were who you would expect: white men that praised Trump, believed that he would win the election and that any results suggesting that he DIDN’T win weren’t accurate. Their white privilege also explains the behavior of some of these insurrectionists even after they have been arrested and charged.
The QAnon Shaman
Jacob Chansley is arguably the “QAnon star” of the insurrection, thanks to the headdress and face paint that became famous after January 6th. He also goes by “Jake Angeli”. The Trump supporter and QAnon believer prayed with the rioters before the insurrection, stating before they entered the Capitol: “Thank you for allowing the United States to be reborn.
How’s that guy doing, you ask? He’s demanding organic food in prison.
I imagine there are literally millions of people, all over the world, that would love to be able to adjust the food that they are eating in jail. It is important to note that this isn’t just about food quality, it’s also a question of health. Their concerns will never be heard — but Angeli’s hunger strike was successful. The federal judge overseeing his case was reportedly “convinced” by Angeli’s “adherence to Shamanism.”
Shamanism isn’t even an organized religion of any kind. There’s a website at shamanism.com that attempts to offer some vague outline of what it might be…and it might stun you to find that it says nothing about organic food. I know. Shocking.
Incredibly, Angeli also spoke about a “chemical balance in my body that affects my serotonin…my appetite, my mood.” We have a white man who believes that Trump should be president, that is obvious. However, this is also a white man that believes that he should only eat food — IN PRISON — that ONLY uplifts his mood at all times.
Federal prison isn’t an upscale wellness center. It infuriates me because I sincerely doubt a person of color would get this kind of treatment, and I don’t think it’s much of a stretch for me to say that.
Oh, are you confused? My bad, I didn’t tell you yet: the QAnon Shaman did get his wish. At the end of the day, prisons should be serving better food — but come on. How many black or brown nonviolent drug offenders can actually make it so that a prison can serve them differently from the rest of the inmate population?
Also, it looks like his lawyer will try to argue that Chansley’s autism is what brought him to the Capitol, horns and all. His lawyer, who has called the insurrectionists “fucking retarded,” is going to try to argue that this QAnon Shaman, a white man, was simply following Trump’s orders:
With Jeff Mckellop, you certainly don’t have to go too far to begin talking about white privilege. In a world where black teenagers can be murdered if they hold up a cell phone, Mckellop could assault three police officers. He infamously used a flagpole as a spear in the insurrection, and has a military background.
It gets deeper. Incredibly, McKellop worked for the CIA and The State Department as recently as 2018. Politico described him as a “decorated veteran of multiple overseas tours,” and it is his past military experience that has him currently in the prosecutors’ cross-hairs. While idiotic GOP congressmen like to compare the insurrectionist to a “normal tourist visit,” it’s hard to paint that narrative with Mckellop: the man came prepared with body armor and a gas mask.
How’s Jeff McKellop doing? He refused to leave his jail cell for his first hearing, which is kind of strange. I usually hear many law enforcement and military types speak about “responsibilities” and “consequences.” Many of them sure have a lot to say when the protests revolve around a black man dying at the hands of law enforcement.
They’ll rant and rave on social media about “complying orders.” However, 3 Bronze stars and McKellop don’t really understand how to actually face consequences in court. In fact, the stress triggered an asthma attack on March 22. McKellop is brave enough to cause a laceration on a police officer’s face with a flagpole, but days later, he wasn’t “man” enough to show up at his own court hearing.
Tsk, tsk. Like other insurrectionists, he is now incredibly trying to use the “I was just there for a friend” argument. This man has been in the news constantly since the insurrection for stabbing law enforcement but thinks that “Well, I wasn’t even REALLY supposed to be there” is worth mentioning.
This kind of entitlement is still somewhat incredible, even if it isn’t that surprising.
Many individuals may have been lured by Trump’s various remarks and comments about the election, and specifically about the Capitol building. Still, it looks like Alan Hostetter was intent on doing a bit of the luring himself. Hostetter now could be in trouble with the IRS in addition to charges related to January 6th, 2021. He created the “American Phoenix Project,” which he has been using to protest the election and speak out about vaccines.
There are all sorts of laws and regulations about political campaign donations, but Alan Hostetter didn’t seem to care that much about that. This is even more disturbing when you consider that Alan is a former police chief and SWAT officer. Yet, he believes that politicians should be “tied to a f-cking lamppost.”
The insurrection is already a low point in recent American history. However, an individual who participated in the insurrection may also have funneled taxpayer money to further the “Stop The Steal” narrative is the kind of unfortunate twist that prosecutors could potentially exploit.
He also launched a second career as a yoga teacher makes one wonder about how the wellness community has also been susceptible to authoritarian messaging about the election and its legitimacy. It is also just one of those quirky additions that really makes one wonder who was participating in this insurrection.
Not sure if the “sound bath yoga” venture will work out for Alan, especially since his former students aren’t too pleased with his character arc. “I watched over the last year as he spiraled from this calm yoga instructor to a nutty guy who would yell at you on the street if he caught you wearing a mask,” one said.
These are actual yoga students speaking on anonymous terms because they fear retaliation, which makes one wonder about his past career. He apparently only ended his law enforcement career because of health issues,
The afore-linked Voyage LA article is a bit surreal. The man legitimately looks like a stoner island tour guide of sorts in the picture, and he speaks on his experience being a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels. Hostetter is a business owner in Orange County, widely known as one of the wealthiest counties in the country. It certainly doesn’t fit any Republican talking point about how blue-collar workers are upset about immigrants taking their jobs… it’s a man with a yoga business in a very wealthy county that is obsessed with wellness — and more and more, QAnon.
Alan was promoting some of this stuff on his Linkedin page. Here is his “recent activity,” clearly referencing January 6th and its importance. The slogan for the American Phoenix Project? Apparently, it is:
Let hope rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of a suffering nation.”
The second “broad objective” of the American Phoenix Project was to “reform the mainstream media entirely.” What does that look like? Hofstetter was already talking about how politicians should be executed, but did he truly feel like the journalists should be next? As a man that was a former police chief: did he have ANY reservations about the illegality of it, or did his idea of patriotism simply supersede it? Did QAnon influence him or not?
It’s hard to believe that Hofstetter went from being a yoga coach to organizing and financing rallies where he basically called for the death of Trump’s opponents. He amps up a Huntington Beach crowd in December 2020, offering: “President Trump must be inaugurated on January 20, and he must be allowed to finish this historic job of cleaning out the corruption in the cesspool known as Washington D.C.”
Barnett’s white privilege has morphed into delusion. He appears to think that he has become a celebrity, or is at least desperately trying to convince others that his photo — Barnett is the individual who took the infamous photograph at Nancy Pelosi’s desk — is “the face of the new anti-federalist movement.”
So, naturally, he is now selling copies of his court filing for $25. He also wants $100 for a picture of him with his feet up on his desk during house arrest. Despite all of this, he claims that he politely knocked on Pelosi’s door and was actually “pushed in” by protestors.
The 60 year-old-man is now, according to a website that has emerged, asking for help “on two fronts.” Barnett is hoping that “America’s Patriots” will contribute to not only his legal fees but also to his family expenses. The website explains that his employer terminated Barnett “because of public pressure.”
Barnett seems pretty intent on framing what he did as “peaceful protest.” However, it certainly doesn’t help that Barnett had purchased stun guns, pepper spray, and two-way radios days before January 6th. The FBI also points out that Barnett legally owns guns that they now cannot find:
The website also mentions a bunch of things that you might expect: how America should not “bow down” to communism and socialism, how he was “swept inside the open doors” on January 6th, and — because, why not — how, if you are a perfectly reasonable individual who just happens to disagree with the election’s outcome, that “AOC will put you on a Gestapo-like list.”
In a particularly hilarious portion of the “FIGHT” section of the website that reads a bit more lazy than inspired, there is the sentence: “Our response to the cancel-culture activists: The Spanish inquisition was wrong, and so is yours.” It only gets better (meaning, it gets much worse):
Barnett is not someone who feels like he did anything wrong, and if anything, he plans to lean into this new persona for financial gain. When other individuals at the insurrection were getting released, he complained:
For a man that broke into Pelosi’s office and lounged in her desk chair as if he was a gleeful child (seriously — look at his expression above) — and left a message that called her a “bitch”… It appears that Barnett’s smug resolve dissipated in the DC detention center several months ago. “Bigo” complained in jail that he was being “treated unfairly,” and lashed out during a court hearing. “They are letting everyone else out…,” he complained. “Everyone else has worse charges than me is already at home.”
Bigo has since been released from jail, but the privilege truly is remarkable with this group of people. Barnett, confined to a 50-mile radius around his house, went back and forth with the courts to attend a classic car show in Arkansas, and was obviously denied.
I understand that Bigo is a 60-year-old white male, but it is still astonishing that they think the way that they do. I know that there is a very obvious cultish aspect to QAnon, and at least there was a sense of community in that kind of delusion. However, some criminals aren’t allowed to attend major events in their children’s lives, but ol’ “Bigo” here demands to leave his house so he can attend his classic car show.
These anecdotes might be silly, but point to the kind of shameless arrogance that galvanized the insurrection. The “mob” may not have had the most structured plan. The overarching idea was that they would somehow be able to reinstate Trump — and all that mattered was that he, thanks to his words, tweets, and suggestions, had lured them there.
The other details didn’t matter, as much as a hate for the “establishment,” a belief that there is corruption at the highest levels of government, and the further, more entrenched belief, that the election was “stolen.”
Maybe Barnett thinks that he can go to a car show because he’s used to talking his way out of police encounters. In 2020, Barnett was walking around with his gun slung around his back, and other people decided to call the police. Bigo reiterates to officers that he “believes in freedom of speech” (3:08). The cop explains the situation but seems to have no real urge to question Barnett further, noting that he is “politely dressed” (3:39).
What is the context for this particular encounter, you may ask? Barnett spoke to Fayetteville police during a “Save The Children” demonstration outside of the courthouse. He tries to argue that he’s only there for safety purposes, and attempts to “pal around” with the cops.
Bigo claims he speaks to their chief all the time and that police officers come to his firing range during their free time. “All the Gravette cops come out and shoot at my private shooting range.” The mayor of Gravette, Kurt Maddox, has since tried to claim that he doesn’t believe the police officers knew Barnett.
It’s this kind of white privilege that we see so often — and why we often see that white people view the police differently. Many white people will try to make it clear that they have some sort of ties to law enforcement — the overall idea being quite simple: “I’m here, talking to you, and ready to comply. Why would you want to harass me? I know your chief. Your friends know me, and hang out with me.” Of course, in this case — it seemed to work COMPLETELY, which speaks to obvious white privilege.
It’s a far cry from the kind of “conversation” that would happen with a police officer and a black teenager in a rough neighborhood. Those teenagers dosn’t know those cops except for when they come around to harass them, stop and frisk them, or harass them for whatever reason.
Bigo speaks about “his group” as a chapter of the Freedom Fighters, suggesting that he is the leader — “My group is very small…I can control them and make them understand… we’re equal rights, I’ve got Hispanics in my group, I’ve got blacks in my group… We’re constitutional. Anything that’s about the Constitution, that’s who we are.” (3:58)
He then claims to have built a militia of 1,000 people for the “Freedom Protectors” and complained about how he was “blocked from the group” (5:03). You wonder whether Bigo is an old man who simply has an urge for SOME kind of combat, when you consider that this was only a few months before January 6th.
The most ironic exchange can be seen around (5:30).
Police Officer: I like that you have an understanding of law, and you have a…if you did something ill-advised here, you would not just affect yourself but you represent your friends and family —
Bigo: Well, what you do is you destroy the integrity of the groups that you’re representing.
One hundred and eight days after this exchange, Bigo Barnett would go viral as one of the most high-profile insurrectionists, thanks to his viral photo at Pelosi’s desk.
Patrick Montgomery stormed the Capitol on January 6th, and he also kicked a police officer.
Want to know what good old Patrick is up to? He is killing mountain lions and posing with them after the courts told him that he wasn’t allowed to possess firearms. True, Montgomery is a professional hunter and guide, but it does offer a sense of the kind of self-assured entitlement of the insurrectionists. Even after storming a government building and getting arrested, they seem astonished that they have to make any sort of lifestyle changes due to their new charges.
Montgomery is far from law enforcement: he’s served a six-year sentence for robbery before. He frames this time of his life as when he was “knocking over stores for travel money.” This occurred during his time in college in New Mexico.
Patrick also is now being investigated by Colorado park and wildlife officials for illegally harvesting a bobcat in late January. This kind of arrogance is disturbing: white men can get arrested for storming a government building, get released, and then feel pretty confident about committing more crimes again. He wasn’t arrested for “illegally harvesting the cat” — he was just cited.
On March 31st, he shot a mountain lion with his four hunting dogs, and then took a picture with it. He shouldn’t even own the gun that he used to shoot the lion, but he certainly had one. Montgomery seems to think that he has done absolutely nothing wrong on January 6th, asking an officer why this is “popping up now.”
Unbelievable (but not really).
This wasn’t an insurrectionist full of young Charlie Kirk fans who idolize The Proud Boys and make minimum wage: it attracted many older white men that are channeling their anger at the world changing around them. Sabol was a divorced geophysicist in a Colorado town with three teenagers to consider.
On January 6th, 2021, he wore a black tactical helmet and dragged a cop down the stairs.
Even though Sabol went to the insurrection with zip ties, his friends claim that he didn’t go there with “any ill intentions.” His landlord and many of his friends have glowing things to say about him in this Politico piece, but there’s a significant difference here. Sabol, unlike other insurrectionists, seemed to understand completely what was going to happen to him and others who had participated in the riot.
After the insurrection, the 51-year-old stashed his guns at a friend’s house, “fried” his phones and headed straight to Boston. He planned to flee to Switzerland to avoid extradition, but Sabol never made it: he saw police at the airport and got paranoid. He slashed his wrists and thighs in an attempt to kill himself and was arrested afterward for driving erratically.
Yet, he still claims that he never assaulted an officer. Incredibly, Sabol has told law enforcement that he was “patting him on the back.” He has told investigators that he was answering a “call to battle” as a “patriot warrior,” in previous interactions, but decided that the idea that he was patting police on the back instead of beating them was believable, which is stunning in itself.
Sabol has obviously thrown away his career, which involved military contracts. He is also being denied bail, but only because he was trying to flee to Zurich, unlike other January 6th participants.
He was already doubtful about government spending — but who isn’t? His ex-wife claims that his obsession with politics occurred after Barack Obama was elected. Around this time, he ran an American flag off the back of his truck, and Sabol lost custody of his 15-year-old son after he injured him.
Sabol didn’t rant on social media about who rigged the election, and he didn’t make Youtube videos about lizard people or QAnon predictions. He was a white man who lived a quiet life but had a healthy hatred for Democrats that was only growing.
Is this about an angry man who is upset with his life? Is it about channeling anger? The interesting fact here is that many of Sabol’s friends appear astonished at his behavior, even though his ex-wife seems to acknowledge that he had anger issues. Regardless, Sabol is one of the few that have been denied bail, obviously because he was trying to get to Zurich.
His lawyer now claims that Sabol realizes he was “misguided” and “wrong.”
I don’t understand why there are many people that act like the insurrection was completely random -as if conservative influencers and politicians weren’t all ramping up their rhetoric before January. I’m also not sure why there are some on the left that have tried to frame this as a riot as a way to criticize capitalism.
Richard D. Wolff is an economist beloved by the left, and I first saw him appear on The Michael Brooks Show (RIP Michael Brooks). Here, he suggests that this was — in his words — a “manifestation of angry working class people.”
That doesn’t quite tell the story.
Jenna Ryan flew into the insurrection on a private jet. After the insurrection, she seems to believe that she was just a “political pawn.” Sure, she was a grown woman that committed illegal acts — but she was there on Trump’s commands? She also asked followers for donations, lamenting that she had lost out on a self-help book deal (incredibly, Ryan is also a “life coach.”)
I don’t think Wolff would like to admit that this was also about delusion, xenophobia, and white privilege. It’s about white people believing in a man that decided that election results suddenly didn’t matter, as long as he can get enough people to believe that they were wrong. It wasn’t about economic anxiety — it was about “white rage,” anger that their “leader” had lost, and delusions and conspiracies that they will probably later admit are wrong, years or decades down the line.
But it certainly is about white privilege. We live in a world that has punished countless people of color with jail time for possessing a certain amount of drugs, but Jenna Ryan is back on social media and trying to be a Tiktok star. Crystal Mason, on the other hand, is still missing her daughter’s birthdays.
As an Indian-American, I’ve been called a “terrorist” for no reason other than my skin color. Of course, with THESE domestic terrorists — that word doesn’t get thrown around as much. I’ve seen Youtubers, podcasters, and pundits try to laugh off the entire mob as a bunch of misled dopes, rather than angry and militant white men that could’ve genuinely injured lawmakers had they had the opportunity.
Klete Keller didn’t just think that he could storm the Capitol. The former Olympic athlete actually wore his patch and jacket to the insurrection — clearly proud of his actions. He had a rough patch at one point, where he was sleeping in his car — but he managed to land a real estate job, where he refers to his past athletic career. This is a man that was turning it all around, only to lose his job and get arrested and charged. He is now reportedly considering a plea deal.
Republican politicians will continue to downplay the insurrection while also trying to distance themselves, and playing that game will inevitably make them look stupid — even to their own supporters. This is especially true given the fact that refusing to condemn the insurrection also exposes them as not caring about cops — something that isn’t exactly a career boost for anyone associated with the GOP.
In the meantime, the man who inspired the January 6th insurrection had to delete his recent failing blog. His newest venture isn’t going too well, either. There’s also a Chinese fugitive billionaire apparently involved, because of course there is.
However, it doesn’t mean that Trump’s ability to incite violence is gone — and it will be embraced by people that are delusional, unstable, and probably white.
And guess what? August isn’t too far away. If violence does occur again, will many of these individuals experiencing “white rage” actually see jail time, like black people who are caught with a minimal amount of drugs? Fate Winslow served twelve years in jail for a bag of marijuana, something that is now legally sold all over the country. But a white mob can attack police officers and the concept of twelve years seems — suddenly — very foreign.
We live in a world where black children get murdered if they have a toy gun. If you are white, you can have actual weapons, storm a government building — and you will not only be alive, you may not even serve a day in jail.
The next time you find yourself downplaying what happened on January 6th: please think about that.