The Armies of the Right: Though Trump is gone, the legions of far-right extremists he inspired will continue marching on.

AuthorLeon, Luis Feliz

The marauders, despite their clownish getups of bearskin furs and horn helmets, were deadly serious as they rampaged. One officer was killed--two others died later by suicide--and more than 140 sustained injuries including cracked ribs, smashed spinal disks, concussions, and a lost eye.

Trump "watched television happily--happily--as the chaos unfolded," noted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, before voting to acquit the former President at the conclusion of Trump's impeachment trial on February 13.

Imagine Trump gloating, slumped in a chair, reveling in the violence, as if he were watching his favorite football team blitz the enemy quarterback, an aging schoolboy bully marveling at his adroit use of demagoguery to inspire a mob.

The bloodbath could have been far greater, as the mob included a significant number of off-duty officers in its ranks with specialized training. Estimates put the number of people who participated in the insurrection anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than thirty of the January 6 insurrectionists had military or law enforcement ties, and forty others have been connected to extremist groups. In all, more than 800 rioters breached the Capitol, and thousands more stormed the grounds. More than 300 people have since been charged.

"What we are dealing with here is not merely a mix of rightwing organizations, but a broader mass movement with violence at its core," said Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.

According to the George Washington University Program on Extremism, the terrorists came from forty states and the District of Columbia. They averaged about forty years old, and were overwhelmingly white and male. At least sixteen people linked to the Proud Boys, a neofascist gang with a history of violence against the political left, were present at the Capitol, as were members of the Three Percenters, another far-right extremist group.

They carried guns and zip ties. They wielded baseball bats, flagpoles, and pipes. Many dressed tactically in bulletproof vests and helmets. Among the most prominent far-right groups present were the Oath Keepers, an antigovernment militia made up of military veterans and law enforcement officers.

"Trumps been trying to drain the swamp with a straw. We just brought a shop vac," Oath Keeper and U.S. Army veteran Jessica Watkins, thirty-eight, posted on the walkie-talkie app Zello. She's been charged with conspiracy to obstruct Congress and other crimes.

Images of the attack on Congress show six men wearing black hats and shirts emblazoned with the Oath Keepers' insignia printed in yellow lettering. One video shows members of the far-right militia group taunting police officers guarding a Capitol entrance.

In addition to Watkins, Oath Keeper Donovan Crowl, fifty, a U.S. Marine veteran, and Thomas Caldwell...

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