About a week before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Jackson Reffitt heard his father talk about doing "something big." Worried about what that meant, he called the FBI. He found out in a family group chat a week later that his dad, Guy Reffitt, had indeed participated in the riot.
In text messages obtained by Teen Vogue, Jackson’s younger sister wrote, “dad, please be safe !! you know you are risking not only your business but ur life too.”
“I have no intentions on throwing it away. I love ALL of you with ALL of my heart and soul. This is for our country and for ALL OF YOU and your kids. God Bless us one and all….” her father wrote back.
Guy Reffitt is now facing charges along with 710 other people who stormed the Capitol that day.
“He used to be one of the best dads ever,” Jackson told Teen Vogue. “He made me the man I am today. He taught me to be honest, not to steal, all that cliché stuff. I believe he brought me up to do what I did.”
Now that his father is in jail, Jackson is worried he'll become more radicalized and questions whether calling the FBI was the right thing to do. Calling the FBI had strained his relationship with other members of his family as well. His own mother calls him "the Gestapo."
The director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, says that people who study extremism are seeing something new.
“As we see rising radicalization and mobilization to violence among older adults — including rising conspiracy beliefs, anti-government extremist beliefs, and white supremacist extremism — we are facing a really unprecedented set of circumstances in families," she said.
Read more at Teen Vogue.