Here is why Guy Reffitt deserves a ‘thank you’ - GulfToday

Here is why Guy Reffitt deserves a ‘thank you’

Guy-Reffitt-750

Video footage of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 shows defendant Guy Reffitt wearing a tactical-style vest. Courtesy: FBI

Benedict Cosgrove, The Independent

This week, a jury in Washington, DC, found a 49-year-old father of three, Guy Reffitt, guilty of five charges related to the January 6 insurrection: two counts of civil disorder; one count each of obstruction of an official proceeding (i.e. the certification of Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 election); one count of “entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm”; and one count of obstruction of justice.

That Reffitt never set foot in the Capitol had little bearing on the case. After all, the prosecution had more than enough evidence to convict without physically placing him in the building with the lectern thieves, hallway defecators, cop-bashers, and other pro-Trump rioters who engaged in their own offbeat brand of political discourse that day.

In fact, Reffitt made the prosecutors’ and the jury’s jobs pretty easy. He bragged to fellow members of the Texas Three Percenters, a militia group, that “the fuel is set” and “we will strike the match … on the 6th.” He drove more than a thousand miles from his Texas home, transporting a rifle and a semi-automatic handgun to Washington. During the insurrection he carried flexi-cuffs and wore body armor and a helmet with a camera mounted on top — a camera that recorded him vowing to take the Capitol “before the day is over,” and later bragging that while he didn’t make it into the Capitol, he certainly “started the fire.”

Most pointedly, he led a pack of rioters that repeatedly charged police officers on the west side of the Capitol building. He urged on the rioters as they battled toward their goal: breaking into the Capitol building, the Senate Chamber, and specific senators’ offices. Reffitt was, as a prosecutor noted, the “tip of this mob’s spear.”


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For good measure, after the riot, Guy Reffitt also threatened his own children if they reported him to authorities. His message, according to his 19-year-old son, who gave emotionally wrenching testimony at his father’s trial, was simple: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and traitors get shot.”

Taking all of his felonies and various other perfectly legal (but sort of gross) idiosyncrasies into consideration — the eagerness to engage in violence, the overt threats, the embrace of harebrained conspiracy theories, the ammosexual obsession with guns, the macho posturing — there’s only one reasonable response to the whole sordid debacle: A heartfelt “thank you” to Guy Reffitt.

Thank you, Guy, for having enough faith in your cause to take your case to trial — the first trial of any January 6 defendant. Of course, you lost spectacularly in court and will likely spend years in prison when you’re sentenced for your crimes. But you showed the country and the world what can happen to otherwise decent folks when they willfully tumble down the fringe-right rabbit hole of stupid, toxic, anti-American lies and fall for stupid, toxic, anti-American politicians, lawyers, media outlets, and pillow salesmen. Thank you.

Thank you for modelling proper behaviour for your fellow MAGA diehards. By going to trial, you have (we can only hope) set the stage for many more insurrectionists to face juries of their peers, with (we can only hope) similar results. In the words of your wife, Nicole Reffitt, when she sent a message to the hundreds of others around the country who have been arrested but have not yet gone to trial for their own actions at the Capitol riot: “Do not take a plea. They want us to take a plea. The reason that we have all guilty verdicts is they are making a point out of Guy, and that is to intimidate the other members of the 1/6ers.”

Hear her, fellow insurrectionists! Do not take pleas. Go to trial. Make your case. And if, like Guy, you are found guilty and face years or even decades behind bars, at least you stood up and were counted. And that’s something. Right?

Finally: Thank you, Guy, for helping a torturously divided America take a few tentative steps toward healing. You had your day in court. The jury spoke. Justice was served. Yes, there are still men and women out there so warped by anger and twisted by grievance that they’ll see you as a victim, or a martyr, rather than a seditionist or a felon. But many, many more Americans will view your trial as a small, welcome sign that maybe, just maybe, justice can still prevail in a country as polarised as ours.

It’s clear, Guy, that you believed that what you were doing before, on, and after January 6 was right. But it’s also clear, and has always been clear, that acting on a strongly held belief is not the same as doing the right thing. Thank you for that powerful, and timely, reminder.

 

 

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