I have been a Pinkerton security guard and a Libertarian Party activist. I don’t expect many DailyKos readers to celebrate those parts of my past. But I need you to understand how I know what I know. As a security guard, I have protected buildings while protests took place. As an activist, I have participated in protests. I know what a peaceful protest is supposed to look like. I know that some protesters might get out of line.
As a security guard, I was told that protesters do have a First Amendment right to have their voices heard. However, they could not be allowed on the property because they might interfere with client operations. We were told not to fraternize with the protesters, and not to join in the protest. I’m not even kidding around, that was in the training video.
As a Libertarian activist, we used to hold protests near the downtown Post Office on April 15th as people mailed their 1040’s. Our party chairman told us not to block traffic or anything else to break the law. He specifically warned against protesting on USPS property, saying that we could be arrested. None of us wanted to be arrested, none of us challenged the law, so none of us got arrested. I really wish it could be that simple for everybody.
Most protesters don’t want to get arrested. We show up, we follow the guidelines, we go home. I have the upmost respect for people like Rosa Parks who do get arrested as part of a protest, because most people would not voluntarily put themselves through that kind of hardship. Sometimes it’s good to break the law, and most of the time it is bad.
I saw the Capitol rioters and it was clear that they believed in their cause enough to break the law. But it didn’t look like they expected any legal consequences. Most of them weren’t wearing masks, many of them livestreamed what they were doing. There were out-of-town police and military veterans among the mob, so they had to have known that storming the Capitol would be a felony that would follow them around forever.
That kind of sacrifice might make sense if it yielded a tangible result: Donald Trump remaining in office. Or they might have been expecting a pardon, in which case it would not have been a sacrifice at all. These people don’t strike me as particularly altruistic, but even if they are all willing to go to prison for Trump, one would think that wasn’t their first choice. You can do more for a cause or a candidate if you aren’t in prison.
To be sure, many of the rioters likely didn’t make this calculation. But whoever planned it did. He had these people’s loyalty as a resource, he treated them as a disposable resource, and he sacrificed them for something he considered more valuable. He could have found other ways to exploit them that were legal and safe. Whoever planned this knew they were taking a huge risk. The coup plooters would have had to gotten reassurance from Trump that he would go along with it if the coup succeeded, and that Trump would help protect the plotters if it had failed.
Let me be clear: I’m basing all of this on my experience as a security guard, my experience as an activist, and what I’ve seen in footage of the riot. While that may not prove that Trump was involved in the planning, I don’t really have an alternate explanation.