He also read in court social media posts from Brock, including one posted on the day of the Capitol riot that said: “Patriots on the Capitol. Patriots storming. Men with guns need to shoot their way in.”
Previously, Brock worked at CAE Flight Instructor, but was fired in 2017, due to “threatening and discriminatory speech,” according to a letter submitted in court. The letter said Brock told his co-workers that he hadn’t “killed anyone in a long time.”
Last week, Brock told journalist Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker that he simply “found” the zip ties he had been photographed with and was eagerly trying to find a police officer to give them to, apparently to fulfill his civil duty in keeping the floors of our federal buildings trash-free. Farrow interviewed several of Brock’s friends and family members, who confirmed his radicalization and racism while Brock adamantly insisted his intentions were a picture of innocence.
But as noted by researcher John Scott-Railton, who originally identified Brock to the authorities and was interviewed by Farrow for The New Yorker article, it is the image of Brock himself, dressed in his combat garb as he roamed the Capitol, that is most telling of his actual sentiments.
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.
Brock’s family members paint a picture of a man gradually radicalized through the stochastic terrorism of Donald Trump.
In recent years, Brock had become an increasingly committed supporter of Donald Trump, frequently wearing a Make America Great Again hat. In the days leading up to the siege of the Capitol, Brock had posted to social media about his plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in Trump’s “Save America” rally. Brock’s family members said that he called himself a patriot, and that his expressions of that identity had become increasingly strident. One recalled “weird rage talk, basically, saying he’s willing to get in trouble to defend what he thinks is right, which is Trump being the President, I guess.”
As this crisis unfolds, it is becoming increasingly obvious that a grievous disconnect continues to exist in the attitude of many in law enforcement—and now, apparently, many in our judiciary system—towards the virulent and deadly nature of these terrorists. Whether that’s because of outright sympathy for their cause or it’s simply an involuntary aversion to punishing white-faced terrorism committed while draped in the flag, as long as that disconnect festers and until this problem is finally internalized by all as the dire threat it represents, our efforts to contain it and eradicate it will continue to fall “on deaf ears.”