These groups haven’t been hiding their weapons or their intent to cause mayhem. And that intent isn’t going anywhere in 2021.
NBC News, January 7, 2021
The country watched in disbelief as far-right protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, brandishing Confederate battle flags and sending senators and representatives fleeing for safety. A violent coterie of Trump supporters smashed windows and staged an occupation of Congress, all to halt the counting of Electoral College votes, as is required by the Constitution. President Donald Trump, for his part, did little to slow the violence, tweeting out attacks on his vice president and repeating his claims about election fraud, illegitimacy and conspiracy.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there is theft involved,” Trump told cheering crowds at the “Save America March,” shortly before the riot began. Before it was over, one woman would be fatally shot, more people would be injured, and the world would be left in shock. But while people living outside the U.S. might have reason to be surprised by the images beamed around the globe, Americans — especially Republicans — should have seen this crisis coming.
It’s not like we weren’t warned. In the days leading up to the rally, online forums popular with the far right were filled with threats of violence. Such rhetoric dovetails with the actions of far-right vigilantes and alt-right gangs like the Proud Boys. On the eve of the rally, the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested and accused of destroying a Black Lives Matter sign at a historic Black church at a previous pro-Trump rally.