They Were Out for Blood

The men who carried zip ties as they stormed the Capitol weren't clowning around.

It's easy to think of the siege of the U.S. Capitol as a clown show with accidentally deadly consequences. [...] Those rioters, the bozos, were the ones who talked to the press, who waved gleefully to photographers, who selfied and streamed the entire afternoon, without even a thought that there might ever be consequences. They were doing it for the 'gram, and their story overwhelms the narrative because their faces and voices dominated the day.

But there were other rioters inside the Capitol, if you look at the images. And once you see them, it's impossible to look away. The zip-tie guys.

Call the zip ties by their correct name: The guys were carrying flex cuffs, the plastic double restraints often used by police in mass arrest situations. They walked through the Senate chamber with a sense of purpose. They were not dressed in silly costumes but kitted out in full paramilitary regalia: helmets, armor, camo, holsters with sidearms. At least one had a semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails. At least one, unlike nearly every other right-wing rioter photographed that day, wore a mask that obscured his face.

These are the same guys who, when the windows of the Capitol were broken and entry secured, went in first with what I'd call military-ish precision. They moved with purpose, to the offices of major figures like Nancy Pelosi and then to the Senate floor. What was that purpose? It wasn't to pose for photos. It was to use those flex cuffs on someone. [...]

They went into the Capitol, as Congress was counting electoral votes, equipped to take hostages -- to physically seize officials, and presumably to take lives. The prospect is terrifying. But just because it seems unthinkable doesn't mean we shouldn't think hard about what almost happened. Don't dismiss the zip-tie guys as "LARPers" or "weekend warriors." [...]

But it could have been much, much worse. If the rioters had been a little quicker through the doors; if senators and representatives hadn't just moved from their joint session into separate chambers to debate the Arizona challenge and had instead still been packed into one harder-to-evacuate room; if any number of things had happened differently, the three people next in the line of succession for the presidency might have been face to face with those zip-tie guys. And then: Who knows.

Ronan Farrow:

A day after the riots, John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto's Munk School, notified the F.B.I. that he suspected the man was retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock, Jr., a Texas-based Air Force Academy graduate and combat veteran. Scott-Railton had been trying to identify various people involved in the attack. "I used a number of techniques to hone in on his identity, including facial recognition and image enhancement, as well as seeking contextual clues from his military paraphernalia," Scott-Railton told me. Brock was wearing several patches on his combat helmet and body armor, including one bearing a yellow fleur de lis, the insignia of the 706th Fighter Squadron. He also wore several symbols suggesting that he lived in Texas, including a vinyl tag of the Texas flag overlaid on the skull logo of the Punisher, the Marvel comic-book character. The Punisher has been adopted by police and Army groups and, more recently, by white supremacists and followers of QAnon. Scott-Railton also found a recently deleted Twitter account associated with Brock, with a Crusader as its avatar. "All those things together, it's like looking at a person's C.V.," Scott-Railton said.

Some of them were well acquainted with the layout of the building, which, by all accounts, is a very confusing place to navigate:

House Majority Whip James Clyburn:

"My office, if you don't know where it is, you ain't going to find it by accident," Mr. Clyburn continued. "And the one place where my name is on the door, that office is right on Statuary Hall. They didn't touch that door, but they went into that other place where I do most of my work. They showed up there harassing my staff.

"How did they know to go there?" he asked. "How come they didn't go where my name was? They went where you won't find my name, but they found where I was supposed to be.


I would just feel significantly reassured if Schumer and Pelosi were able to convince me that they fully grasp that they could have been murdered on a livestream.

What I perceive as Democratic leadership's inability to grasp how close they came to violent televised death is actually one of the most disturbing parts of this for me.


This was the trial balloon to end all trial balloons. "Could a poorly trained, unstrategic band of ding dongs pierce the building with the compliance of the Capitol Police?" YES. So, what do we think will be different about January 20?

If, like me, you are wondering why the House didn't pass articles of impeachment immediately -- which to me would mean "before I go to sleep on Wednesday night" -- but is instead waiting 5+ days until Monday, Wednesday, maybe some time in February, who knows.... the answer appears to be "Kevin McCarthy".

Samantha Corbin:

House Rules require unanimous consent in order to meet sooner than Monday and McCarthy is objecting. Put another way, we have to wait because Republicans continue to obstruct the pursuit of justice.

The House meets Monday; to do so otherwise needs unanimous consent and McCarthy objects. We JUST went through this with $2000 checks over Xmas. Meanwhile we are using the weekend to build support for #impeachment.

For the "they should've done it yesterday" folks, they didn't have the votes. A number of members had hoped Pence would enact the 25th amendment but he is refusing, and Cabinet members - rather than protest Trump - resigned to PROTECT him so they didn't have to vote.

Here's a google doc showing which members of Congress support or reject impeachment and removal from office. I understand why only like ¾ of a Republican is for it -- they are seditionist traitors -- but how this is not unanimous among Democrats escapes me.

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18 Responses:

  1. Erin says:

    At this point, regarding removing the orange manchild from office, my concern is that he'll announce his resignation, at which point Pence takes over and then pardons him.

    And another concern is I keep hearing rumblings about further attacks on the Capitol on or around the inauguration date - the 17th was mentioned somewhere. Will the cops just let them in again this time? (probably)

    • Erin says:

      Oh, and once again, they're planning coming in disguise: dressed in Biden gear.

  2. Kendall says:

    I tried to call my rep on Thursday after work, since I hadn't see the expected headline about articles of impeachment having been submitted. Since his voicemail was full I went through the song and dance of filling out the form on the House website to send him an email. I even invoked my kids in a think-of-the-children style plea.

    I also called all of my family members today to implore them to do the same. I'm happy I did, because they hadn't thought to do so. So I asked them to call all of their friends and do the same.

    . . . and it is easy to do. The most reliable way to add a spine to a Congresscritter is to stand behind them!

    • Elusis says:

      I did my own version of this, with my parents who are living in various flavors of "he doesn't care what I think" passivity. My mother is a lifelong D/leftist; my father, a "fiscal conservative" who nonetheless used to be a union member and promised me in 2016 and 2020 that he would not vote for T. I am newly learning when my WA reps need nudging, after 13 years of knowing without even having to look that Barbara Lee would be holding it down for the right thing, whatever that happened to be.

  3. Jim says:

    Brock claims the flex cuffs aren't his. Luckily, he also claims to have not been inside Pelosi's office, when video caught him exiting it, so he's trashed what might have been left of any semblance of credibility.

  4. Dude says:

    I'm guessing the Dems dragging their feet are what's left of the ones who spent most of the last four years not impeaching this dumb fuck - they think there's still some middle ground to be found. (Whereas Apple dragging their feet on banning Parler from the App Store is just corporate greed, plain 'n simple.)

    If there is one thing - and I mean one thing - that amuses me about these insurrectionist fucks vowing to return for Biden's inauguration, it's the fact that doing so would further confirm how poorly-attending Trump's inaguration was.

    • Elusis says:

      Well, that document for some reason lists the Indiana District 1 representative to... the Indiana State Legislature, who is not going to do anyone a lot of good in terms of impeachment.

  5. nooj says:

    (funny) The Onion: "D.C. Police Lose Control Of Rioting Trump Supporters After Hundreds Of Officers Called Away To Deal With Black Jaywalker"

    (not funny) This video is nuts ( It's twenty minutes of people surging into a wall of cops, pretending that storming the Capitol of the United States is as fun and rewarding as rushing the stage at a music festival:

  6. Ben says:

    As a "huh that's an odd connection" that is really more about the reach of billionaires than any conspiracy, Lieutenant Colonel Larry Brock works for Ross Perot Jr. Quite a roundabout presidential politics connection.

  7. tfb says:

    I suspect that the argument against impeachment now might be that there's not time for it to happen (is there?) and it may make him into a martyr in the eyes of the nazis, making an already very bad situation worse in future.

    I don't know if that is the reason, and I also don't know if it's a good reason if it is: my intuition is that it's a terrible reason, but my intuition is worth fuck all.

      • tfb says:

        That's what I think too. I think he and a large number of other people involved should spend a very long time in gaol. But I'm so often wrong I don't have any faith in what I think. I mean, I'm a lisp hacker: we're wrong about everything.

    • Mark says:

      > there's not time for it to happen (is there?)

      My understanding (IANAL) is it's still possible to convict after he leaves office, which would mean he can't run again, wouldn't get a taxpayer-paid office and staff, etc. Not to mention the symbolism of it.

      • tfb says:

        Yes, I think this is true (at least reputable news people say that). That makes my previous comment wronger.

  8. Jonny says:

    Not enough people appreciate how pants shittingly terrifying and fucked up this event was. There are so many ways that this could have been worse. Hell, it could still get a lot worse.

    There are literally millions of people who 100% believe that their democracy is gone, and that the globalist pedophiles are in control. They literally believe that a conspiracy has successfully overthrown the American government. Think about that. What would you do if on the 20th Donald Trump assumed power out of nowhere with full support of State? You'd go fucking nuts. That's what these people think has happened. Millions of them. Tens of millions maybe. How many of those millions are getting so fucking nuts and angry that they are going to organize something seriously crazy? I'd be tempted to do or at least support something crazy if I thought that our democracy was legitimately overthrown, and I'm a pretty mellow dude. And let's not forget, a lot of these people are ex-military. That's a lot of crazy and angry people who legitimately think that they just saw the Republic fall.

    And let's not forget all the militia folks who have been around organizing and training, and who now have sudden comradery and support.

    I hope to hell that seeing that political violence and the reaction helps breaks the fever as people realize that political violence is inherently self destructive and damaging to whatever cause uses it. I hope that this gets opportunist who have milked this conspiracy bullshit finally either to shape up or get ejected from the mainstream. But even if it calms mainstream America, that isn't going to change the millions of people who legitimately believe that their democracy is done. Some of them are going to do something crazy.

  9. MattyJ says:

    My favorite thing about this awful mess is that, as one might suspect, the folks that bought you Parler were inept. They left all their user data (posts, pics) out in the open, included deleted ones, and some hero downloaded everything and is handing it over to the Internet Archive:

    I'm normally against facial recognition, but in this case, if you've done nothing wrong ...

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