Thursday, January 28, 2021


He seems nice:
SACRAMENTO — A suspected far-right extremist and radicalized supporter of former President Trump facing federal explosives charges may have been targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Bay Area headquarters of social media giants Twitter and Facebook, according to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers, 43, of Napa County, with possessing five homemade pipe bombs that investigators found when they searched his home and auto repair business Jan. 15. They also confiscated additional bomb-making material along with 49 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

According to an FBI affidavit, Rogers made multiple threats in text messages to attack Democratic targets and ensure that Trump stayed in office.

In the texts, Rogers stated, “Let’s see what happens then we act” and later added, “I’m thinking sac office first target” and “Then maybe bird and face offices.”
The FBI assumes that these are references to Governor Newsom's Sacramento office and to the offices of Twitter ("bird") and Facebook ("face").

On Jan. 10, four days after the Capitol attack, Rogers texted a friend: “We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick” and “I think we can attack either easily.” The other unidentified individual wrote back, “Let’s go after Soros,” referencing George Soros.

Rogers said that would require a “road trip,” whereas, “We can attack Twitter and democrats easy right now burn they’re (sic) shit down.”

On Jan. 11, Rogers texted the same person: “I want to blow up a democrat building bad ... The democrats need to pay.”

He again referenced the presidential election.

“I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will,” Rogers texted.

At Rogers’ business, British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley, investigators said they found a large gun safe, along with suspicious literature, including “The Anarchist Cookbook,” a U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, “Homemade C-4: A Recipe for Survival,” the U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare, and a U.S. Army Guerrilla Warfare Handbook.
According to the criminal complaint, several of the firearms seized from Rogers’ home and business were capable of fully automatic firing, including “what appears to be a kit-built replica MG-42 belt-fed machine gun” which a firearms expert is currently examining.

“I know from my own research and discussions with other agents and officers that the MG-42 was a machine gun produced in Germany during World War II for use by Nazi troops,” FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor said in an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.
And, for good measure:
Authorities say Rogers was also in possession of a 'White Privilege Card,' which referenced Trump numerous times.

The card says 'Trumps Everything' and the number of '0045' repeated four times like a credit card number, a nod to Trump being the 45th president.

It lists the cardholder as being a member since birth and until death.

We can blame Trump for this, but it looks as if Rogers was heading in this direction for a while.
Years of gun collecting — and an embrace of right-wing political views — preceded the arrest of Ian Benjamin Rogers last week, according to the mother of the 44-year-old auto repair shop owner....

In a telephone interview Monday, Elaine Bihn Kley described an accumulation of guns and ammunition by her son that concerned her, as well as an increasing alliance to President Trump and commentators of similar right-wing views.

“He had the ammunition for years; he used to have it in the house when I cleaned,” said Kley, who described the Sonoma native, who was arrested Friday morning, as a devoted Fox News Channel watcher with pictures of Trump and President Ronald Reagan in his home.
Rogers is a middle-aged divorced man who owns a business repairing high-end British cars. If his mother said he had this ammo when he lived with her, that must have a while ago.
“He thought there would be a time when he wouldn’t be able to get ammunition. He was listening to people who were pro-gun, so he was stockpiling it thinking someone was going to break into his house, break into his business, that there was going to be a civil war in the U.S.” ...

“Went to my local gun shop today in Napa, they sold 10 Glock 19s in 24 hours,” read a Dec. 12, 2015 posting on Roger’s Facebook account. “Pretty scary times, people are scared and everyone feels our Government is not going to protect them. Crazy times, if you want a handgun better buy one quick all California approved guns are almost gone”
December 2015? Trump was campaigning for president at the time, but there wasn't a Trump cult then. Why did Rogers think there was a desperate need to buy guns at that moment? A few tightened gun laws were set to take effect in California on January 1, 2016, but nothing that would justify stockpiling.

But, of course, the NRA and much of the firearms community is forever warning of the impending disarmament of gun-loving Americans. Gun paranoia -- which goes back decades -- was a gateway drug for many paranoid Trumpers.

Jess Raphael, Rogers’ attorney, said ... Rogers was a gun collector, ... but not in a militia, only participating in a “prepper group” that focused on preparing for end-of-the-world type scenarios.
I think we've largely overlooked the doomsday-prepper movement as an incubator for the kind of paranoia that's fueling Trumpism and QAnon. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, life goes on in America much the way it did a year or two ago. The prepper minset prepares its adherents for the notion that everything we know about normal life will probably be upended relatively soon. That worldview isn't good for your mental health. If you think normal life will end soon, you're primed to believe that there's no reason to continue adhering to normal constraints on your own behavior. And every new development in the world that you find worrisome -- the election of a president you don't like, for instance -- can look like a sign of the Last Days.

Ian Rogers is a product of the Trump movement, but he's also a product of a generalized right-wing paranoia that existed in America long before Trump ran. We ignored it for too long, and we're paying the price now.

No comments: