Whales have been known to beach themselves as a reaction to stress. Such a sad ending to these massive mammals.
Less sad, at least to me, is the recent beaching by supporters of the twice-impeached, top secret document hoarder, and soon-to-be indicted former President Donald J. Trump. May they find in the afterlife the peace that had so eluded them in their short lives of anger and bile.
Since the legally sanctioned and professionally executed search warrant by the FBI to Trump’s palatial Mar-a-Lago playground on August 8, we have been privy to a host of mammals willing to lay down their lives at the altar of the former president and his well-oiled bellicose bully bullhorns.
They are but the tip of the sword as Republican Congress members and right-wing media mouthpieces egg them on with such inflammatory rhetoric as “Defund the FBI!” Expect more whale sacrifices in the near term. Business Insider reported that, “the FBI has had an ‘unprecedented’ number of threats against bureau property since the Mar-a-Lago raid.”
Three days after the FBI carted off 21 boxes of highly classified documents from Florida, Ricky Shiffer, a 42-year-old Navy veteran, January 6 alumnus, dedicated MAGA supporter, and a “Stop the Steal” groupie, decided that he had to do something to help his billionaire mentor out of his latest jam.
That something was to attempt to shoot his way into a Cincinnati FBI field office with an AR-15. Curiously, he also possessed a nail gun.
GI Joe Wannabes
Consider this: the FBI is the most elite domestic police force in the United States. They are better equipped and trained than any local yokel who just bought his first AR-15 at his neighborhood Guns”R”Us store or the usual cosplaying, GI Joe wannabes one often sees lurking about at MAGA rallies.
Did Shiffer, an Iraqi War veteran, think this through? I would ask him that question, but he is dead, shot by Ohio State troopers after a six-hour standoff on a two-lane country road. Suicide by cops. Mission, not accomplished.
During the standoff, Shiffer posted the following on his Truth Social account: “Well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the FBI, and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops.”
Seventy-two hours later, 29-year-old Richard A. York III, from Delaware, thought it was a splendid idea to drive his car into one of the barriers of the US Capitol at 4 am. The crash set his car aflame. York fired a few random shots into the DC skies and then turned the gun on himself.
Reading about York’s past reveals a troubled soul with a decade of various criminal charges. His case is not as clear-cut a political act as Shiffer’s, but note that he did not crash his car into a local Jiffy Lube or a Home Depot. Was he radicalized online? Was the FBI “raid” a tipping point? We’ll never know.
Backing the Blue?
Around the same time Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the FBI’s Mar-A-Lago search warrant, began receiving disturbing antisemitic threats. His address, phone number, and family members’ names were posted on right-wing sites. Here is one example from 4chan: “That is a k—. And a pedophile … He should be tried for treason and executed.”
Because of the threats, Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens, the synagogue that Reinhart attends and where he is a board member, canceled its Friday Shabbat service. Just another day in the land of the free.
In the same week, a couple of dozen armed protestors (see above reference to cosplay, GI Joe wannabes) mustered outside the field office of the FBI in Phoenix waving American and Confederate flags, and holding signs that said “honor your oath” and “Abolish FBI.”
Nothing came of the protest. Perhaps Shiffer’s quixotic attempt tempered their actions. Or perhaps they simply got too hot. (What bothers me is that observing Americans milling around with assault weapons seems, well, normal these days.)
No doubt the armed marchers were spurred to action by one of their Republican congressmen, the always quotable Paul Gosar, who said. “We’re going to dismantle and eliminate the FBI.” He was not alone in his threats.
Take another Arizona Republican congressman, Andy Biggs, who said the search warrant in Florida was carried out by “rogue individuals violating their oath of office by not upholding the law.”
So much for Republicans “backing the blue” and standing up for law and order.
Trump the Victim
Will the former president honor his fallen supporters in much the same way he martyred Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot dead illegally breaching the US Capitol during the January 6 attempted coup? On her birthday, Trump posted the following, “To Ashli’s family and friends, please know that her memory will live on in our hearts for all time.”
To date, the former president has yet to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the Capitol police, specifically the 140 injured officers and the five who died during the riot and in the aftermath as they defended our democracy on January 6. In Trump’s mind, doing the right thing only counts if it benefits him.
After 30 years of legal troubles — 3,500 legal cases to date and counting — Trump is still playing the victim. The Deep State is out to get him. It’s one whale of a tale.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.