Harvard logs behavior of 417 Capitol rioters — while survey shows 18 million Americans willing to kill over politics
Photo: AFP

A new Harvard Institute of Politics survey collected comments from 417 of the Jan. 6 attackers, and an overwhelming number of said they were there because former President Donald Trump told them to be.

According to the data, which was published by NBC News, 'about the same number of defendants in the study claimed they were at the Capitol to 'peacefully protest' (7 percent) as those who claimed they were there because of a 'general interest in violence' (6.2 percent)."

The House Select Committee has been connecting the dots between those who broke into the building and terrorized Congress, their staff and law enforcement; and the former president. In their previous public hearing they spoke to a former militia public spokesperson and an Jan. 6 attacker who indicated he got sucked into social media conspiracy theories around the 2020 election. Both men made it clear that militia groups were organizing around and coordinating with Trump's team in the lead-up to the attack.

"The [Harvard] report includes specific social media posts from rioters in the days before Jan. 6 that pinpoint Trump as a primary cause of mayhem. The Harvard study also notes the most-shared links among the more than 400 Capitol rioters included in the analysis," said NBC. "The second-most-shared link by defendants was a Dec. 22, 2021, Facebook video posted by then-President Trump, in which he makes baseless accusations of voter fraud for over 14 minutes."

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The news comes as a study from a team of medical and public health scientists at the University of California, Davis interviewed 9,000 Americans asking them about their willingness to commit political violence.

The study, Views of American Democracy and Society and Support for Political Violence, revealed that there are millions of Americans willing to use violence to get what they want in politics.

"Among 6,768 respondents who considered violence to be at least sometimes justified to achieve 1 or more specific political objectives, 12.2 percent were willing to commit political violence themselves 'to threaten or intimidate a person,' 10.4 percent 'to injure a person,' and 7.1 percent 'to kill a person,'" said the report. "Among all respondents, 18.5 percent thought it at least somewhat likely that within the next few years, in a situation where they believed political violence was justified, 'I will be armed with a gun,' and 4.0 percent thought it at least somewhat likely that 'I will shoot someone with a gun.'"

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The Guardian pointed out that the 7.1 percent of Americans willing to kill a person amounts to about 18 million Americans.

The poll also revealed that more than 40 percent agreed that "having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy" and that "in America, native-born white people are being replaced by immigrants." Half said that they expect a civil war in the U.S. in the next few years.