What To Know Today
“Right now it looks not great”: Far-right and pro-Trump groups plan marches, protests ahead of the inauguration. “On January 6th, their energy was focused on Congress,” says extremism researcher Megan Squire. “On the 20th, their energy will be focused on Biden. That’s concerning, especially since they’re not remorseful or ashamed.” Fliers circulating online are calling for armed marches in Washington and at state capitols on January 17. (Already, there was one in Kentucky over the weekend.) Additional pro-Trump demonstrations are planned in D.C. next week.
- Riot as recruiting tool: “There’s a lot of chatter,” extremist researcher JJ MacNab told USA Today. “I usually try to downplay these things unless it’s really big, but this was really big.”
- Calls for violence → more platform crackdowns: As Twitter and Facebook booted President Trump’s accounts, Amazon, Apple, and Google cut off services to Parler, a social messaging app that has become a favorite for conservatives and far-right groups. Parler appeared to go offline shortly after midnight West Coast time this morning.
Man with cache of guns, ammo charged with threatening Nancy Pelosi. Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. is one of 13 people the Justice Department has so far indicted following Wednesday’s assault. Federal prosecutors said Meredith, who arrived in D.C. after the occupation of the Capitol, texted a contact about his violent intentions toward the House Speaker, saying he would put “a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” He was also charged with possessing an unregistered gun and unlawful possession of hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The feds say to expect more arrests. The FBI claims it has received 4,000 leads, and counting, since the attack.
Police departments, military probe participation of officers and soldiers in the siege. Law enforcement agencies in states from California to Texas to New York were considering terminations, suspensions, or other punishments. And a Department of Defense official said 25 people — including current and former service members — were under investigation on domestic terrorism charges. An alliance undone? Anecdotal evidence suggests right-wing support for the police, frequently displayed at last year’s racial justice protests, may be eroding after pro-Trump protesters physically squared off against law enforcement last week.
ICYMI: The gun-rights rhetoric that helped seed the insurrectionist mindset. The mob did not use firearms to force entry into the Capitol last Wednesday. But when the rioters surged into the chambers, many were acting out a viewpoint cultivated by some gun rights groups, who have convinced followers that violence is a constitutionally protected response to a perceived tyrannical government. In a follow-up to our 2016 piece on the insurrection theory of gun ownership, Duke Law professor Darrell Miller tells Trace contributor Olivia Li about the origins of the dangerous worldview in the National Rifle Association’s transformation into a conservative political force in the 1970s, and unpacks how the belief spread during the Trump years. Read the article.
D.C. riot intensifies efforts to make state capitols gun-free. As we reported last October, lawmakers in several states are attempting to restrict firearms in their capitols (civilian gun carrying is currently allowed in at least eight state legislatures). We reached back out to some of the people spearheading those efforts, who fear that the insurrection in the nation’s Capitol will embolden gun-toting protesters. You can read more here. One ban debate proceeds later today: State Senator Dayna Polehanki tells us that the Michigan Capitol Commission will meet to consider prohibiting openly carrying guns in the state Capitol in Lansing.
Illinois rampage leaves seven casualties. In the span of four hours Saturday, a gunman fatally shot three people and wounded four others in locations from the Chicago campus of the University of Chicago to the nearby town of Evanston. Police said the suspect, who died in a shootout with officers, appeared to pick victims — who ranged from 15 to 81 — “just randomly.” The first fatality was identified as a 30-year-old Chinese doctoral student. “This sudden and senseless loss of life causes us indescribable sorrow,” the university said.
689 — the number of people fatally shot in Missouri in 2020, believed to be the state’s deadliest year ever, according to a investigation that looked at the causes and consequences of the surge. [The Kansas City Star and The St. Louis-Post Dispatch]