Social media posts by San Diegans, including a woman who was shot and killed by police after storming the U.S. Capitol building, offer troubling insight into their motivation.
“Those that were trying to break the windows were trying to breach the building to overthrow a tyrannical government, they weren’t trying to vandalize the building,” said Justin Haskins in a 16-minute video posted on his Instagram page.
Haskins is the former El Cajon resident, who has since moved to Arizona, that founded the controversial group Defend East County in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Haskins called the group of rioters who stormed the Capitol "patriots."
“At what point do you stop waving your dumbass flags and yelling your stupid chants and start taking your country back, just like the patriots of 1776,” Haskins said. “Freedoms are being stripped, our democracy is being stolen and patriots are standing up.”
Ashli Babbitt, the Ocean Beach woman shot and killed by Capitol police while attacking the Capitol, posted a video on Twitter, apparently directed toward democratic leadership.
“We have thousands of people on the other side of the border, you people can’t get to work, our economy is going to take an absolute tank because you guys refuse to choose America, America over your stupid political party,” shouted Babbitt as she drove in her car.
She ended her post with a sobering comment.
“You can consider yourself put on notice. Me and the American people, I am so tired of this. I am woke man. This is absolutely unbelievable. Get your s--- together. Thank you,” Babbitt said.
John Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska, is the author of ‘Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs About How Government Should Work.’ The book studies political orientations and behavior.
He says at the core of the rioters beliefs are a perceived attack on the security of the country.
“They, for the most part, see the government as a foreign entity. The government has been too open to immigration. It gives foreign aid to countries that shouldn’t be getting it. ‘We need to be focusing on the United States,’” Hibbing said.
Hibbing can’t predict what will happen next, but doesn’t think we’ve heard the last from protesters, since social media allows their voices to flourish. He also believes challenges are ahead for Republican leadership.
“I think the fact that they’ve had a leader who speaks their language is going to make it very difficult for them to accept future Republican nominees who aren’t clearly from that slice of the party,” Hibbing said.