Rioters Followed a Long Conspiratorial Road to the Capitol

Rioters Followed a Long Conspiratorial Road to the Capitol

“We were aware of Brendan Hunt back in 2013 when he was attacking Sandy Hook families,” said Lenny Pozner, whose son was killed at the school, and who founded the HONR Network, an organization of volunteers who seek the removal of harmful online content. “I’m not surprised that he became more radical.”

“Once people buy into the concept that the government is an evil organization trying at every turn to harm them, it is easy for people to essentially radicalize themselves and find others who agree,” he added.

Mr. Hunt has been assigned a public defender, who declined to comment on Tuesday.

Sandy Hook was the first American mass shooting to ignite viral, fantastical claims that it was a phony event staged by the Obama administration as a pretext for confiscating Americans’ firearms. Since then virtually every high-profile mass shooting has generated similar theories.

Ms. Greene, elected to Congress in November, has for years circulated bogus theories, including around mass shootings. On Tuesday, CNN reported that in 2018 and 2019, Ms. Greene indicated support on her Facebook page for commenters recommending violence against Democratic leaders. In January 2019, CNN reported, Ms. Greene “liked a comment that said ‘a bullet to the head would be quicker’ to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” In response, Ms. Greene posted a statement on Twitter attributing the inflammatory content to “teams of people” who “manage my pages.”

During her 2020 campaign, Politico mined her social media accounts, finding Islamophobic conspiracy theories and the false claim that George Soros, a wealthy Democratic donor, is a Nazi. After calling the 2020 presidential vote a “fraudulent, stolen election,” Ms. Greene voted on Jan. 6 with 146 other Republicans against certifying the Electoral College count that officially declared Mr. Biden the winner. The day before the Capitol riot, she referred to the Stop the Steal protests as “our 1776 moment.”

In 2018 she wrote on Facebook, “The people in power stop the truth and control and stall investigations, then provide cover for the real enemies of our nation.”

When a follower from Jamestown, N.Y., posted false claims about the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and said Sandy Hook was “staged,” Ms. Greene responded, “This is all true.” The post was surfaced last week by Media Matters for America, a liberal group that monitors conservative news and media posts.

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