For many of us family comes first, but that’s not the case with a number of progressives who have turned in conservative family members who they saw participating in the Jan. 6 rally and storming of the Capitol.
Reports in numerous major media outlets have detailed how many people have turned in parents, siblings and even their ex-husbands over what happened on Jan. 6.
Turning in Your Own Mother and Relatives
One individual called Leslie, whose surname is not given, turned in her own mom after her friends told her that her mom had been showing photos from near the Capitol. Leslie, a progressive 35-year-old decided enough was enough and reported her mom to the FBI,
Leslie sent in her tips to the FBI including screenshots of her texts with her mom, one of over 100,000 tips that the bureau has received since the riots.
Many of the tips have come from family members who say their loved ones have gone too far, getting into QAnon and “far right” ideologies.
“They left me no choice because they are on such a destructive path,” said one Texas woman who turned in her own relatives, adding “I do worry about other people’s safety as well as theirs.”
Hundreds of charges could result from what happened Jan. 6 and result in very serious punishment.
Larry Rendall Brock, a charged U.S. Capitol rioter seen with flexi-cuffs, was ID-ed by ex-wife.
"I just know that when I saw this was happening I was afraid he would be there. […] It is such a good picture of him and I recognize his patch," she told FBI, per court doc w/ pics pic.twitter.com/EkMXJag6Iv
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) January 11, 2021
Ex-Husband Gets Thrown Under Bus
Another woman saw her ex-husband in TV footage of the riots and called FBI to ID him. He was retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Larry Brock, seen with zip-tie cuffs in the middle of the riots. The woman was married to him for 18 years, but she didn’t hesitate to call in to authorities to let them know who he was.
More stories about former friends turning in their friends over threats they heard them making and conspiracy theories is becoming a normal thing to hear about as well. It is certainly blurring the line between free speech and being investigated for your beliefs.
Others haven’t been as eager to turn in family members, such as one individual called Robyn Sweet who believed her dad Douglas Sweet might have been at the Jan. 6 protests. He attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA and believed in QAnon theories and that children were being sacrificed by elites to extract substances from their bloodstream.
Although Sweet is concerned about the conspiracies her father believes in she is confident he wouldn’t have hurt anyone and wouldn’t consider turning him in.
“I have had a lot of people around the world reaching out to me and saying they feel like they’ve lost their parents to this radical Trumpism,” Sweet said.
Douglas Sweet was ultimately arrested for unlawful entry at the Jan. 6 riot, but not because of being turned in.
What’s Going On?
East Germany was created after World War Two and eventually had a vast network of millions of citizen spies. Children turned in their own parents, friends and loved ones, and everyone watched everyone else. People wanted to gain advantages and be a “good citizen” to turn in anyone who was speaking out against the state.
Many of those talking about why they turned in family members who are into QAnon or right-wing conspiracies are saying they were worried about safety. They may want to think about how “safe” their loved one will be in jail.
In addition, even if their motivations are to have an “intervention” and stop their loved one from descending further into violence, they are contributing to a future in which free speech is shut down and people who believe the “wrong” things could be arrested even if they never intended to commit any crime.
This is dangerous territory and it’s not going to help crack down on political extremism.