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‘We were law, abiding people – still are’ – says one of insurrectionist who was involved in the US Capitol riot

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

Three months after a Trump-supporting mob stormed the US Capitol and Congress, what is the fallout of the failed insurrection for the US?

As the FBI continues to conduct its biggest investigation since 9/11, in the latest interview on ITV, two insurrectionists, one of them Joshua Pruitt, a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys, and to David Medina, who shouted “you did this to us” to our camera on the day of the insurrection, who entered the Capitol say they did nothing wrong and have nothing to apologize for.

Pruitt is the first and only Proud Boy involved in the US riot who has come forward for a television interview.

Pruitt leapt over a guard rail to enter the building on January 6, footage from inside shows him at the front the mob that soon clashed with police.

He still maintains he wasn’t there for violence:

I am not going to put my hands on a police officer. That’s not what I was there for. That’s not what I was about.

In fact, he says he didn’t do anything wrong – despite the long list of charges he is to face at trial next month: Civil disorder, obstruction, aiding and abetting destruction of government property entering a restricted building, disorderly disruptive conduct, acts of physical violence.

If convicted, he could face years in jail. He says it’s part of a “narrative”.

“They want people to pay. They’re throwing a bunch of crap against the wall and seeing how much of it will stick.”

Asked if he’s frightened it’s going to stick to him, Pruitt says “no” – and he’s not frightened of going to jail either.

“Should I really go to prison for walking in a building? Come on.”

He blames that same “narrative” for what the Proud Boys have widely become known as – far-right extremists. Indeed, in Canada, the group is classed as a terrorist organization.

“They’re literally just a group of conservatives is what they are,” he claims.

“They might be a little bit more further right than some. But you know, the thing is you want to call or people want to call the proud boys, racist. You know, they’re not the KKK.”

Pruitt says because the Proud Boys isn’t all white in its membership – it cannot be racist.

That sense of disillusion is something mirrored by the words of pro-Trump Republican David Medina.

Having entered the Capitol, he screamed down saying:

“We were normal, good, law abiding citizens and you guys did this to us!”

Medina has not been arrested for his actions on January 6.

He says he was “under the impression that we were all peacefully protesting” on that day.

“It didn’t pertain to any of the violence that was going on, or any kind of insurrection,” he says of what he said on January 6.

“We were law, abiding people still are. And the government did this to us, meaning the government got us to get up, get off our butts and get politically active.”

He claims had he “known that the violence was going on,” and that officers were being assaulted and “that people had broken into that building” – he would have left.

It’s unclear how he thinks people would have gained access to the building without having broken in.

“I don’t fear it [being arrested]. You know, I’m a big believer in God and God’s plan and what he has, what he has planned for me or in my life. So, I don’t live in fear.”

He says the responsibility lies instead with the American media – and he blames them for “spinning” January 6 as “some big insurrection”. Something he says is false.

“There’s a lot more unity than you think and the media is what keeps us divided.”

Medina tries to compare left wing protests with the right wing January 6 riot.

He claims leftist violence is more threatening than those on the right and that a “double standard” is at play.

But that is simply untrue, according to some independent security analysts.

Former Assistant Director of the FBI, Frank Figiluzzi firmly rejects the comparison.

“Black Lives Matter was a response to excessive use of force by police officers – peaceful protests that turned into a criminal element, hijacking a peaceful protest and committing acts of vandalism and even violence.

“Comparing that to domestic terrorists, who decided to attack our iconic symbol of democracy, with the objective of overturning a valid presidential election?

“I see the comparison as a false comparison and one that we should not even be having.”

The former FBI boss says America should instead be focusing on who exactly is a threat to the country – and how they can be properly tracked.

And it is an internal threat Mr Figiluzzi says is most pressing: “The threat is us”.

“The role of social media is so prominent in radicalisation right now that the FBI cannot possibly sort through hundreds of thousands or millions of posts and videos and tweets and determine who is aspirational,” says Mr Figiluzzi.

“Who’s the guy sitting on his couch, eating potato chips and posting about something he’ll never do. And who is the person who’s going to move down that pathway to violence?

“That is an overwhelming challenge right now and that makes it particularly tough to identify the next lone offender”.

That the insurrectionists feel emboldened, however, is not the sole responsibility of the individuals involved on January 6 – and interviewed by the media.

“These people are victims,” says Imran Ahmed of the Centre for Digital Hate.

“They’ve been preached misinformation, they have fallen for it, and they are the ones who pay the price.”

The real perpetrators, Mr. Ahmed says, are the people behind that misinformation.

We risk blaming misled individuals “for the bad actions of violent extremists, of groomers, of organisers and people like Donald Trump who took advantage of the misinformation to try and gain political advantage for himself.”

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