Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications
UMD Extremist Expert Dispels Myth of the ‘Ordinary American’ at Riot
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Defenders of people accused of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol have argued that they were “everyday” or “ordinary” people who were just engaged in a legitimate protest or were caught up in the moment.
But Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), explains in a new essay in The Washington Post that promoting this narrative not only overlooks how well-orchestrated much of the violence at the Capitol was, but it also normalizes the event.
Over the past several months, my team has been collecting data on the backgrounds of the Capitol defendants in an attempt to verify these claims of their normalness. After poring through thousands of pages of court documents and scouring their social media pages, I have reached a different conclusion: They are not normal. They are not “everyday,” “ordinary” or “mainstream.” They are part of a supercontagion.
Read the full essay in The Washington Post.
Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.
Faculty, staff and students receive the daily Maryland Today e-newsletter. To be added to the subscription list, sign up here:Subscribe