Proud Boys at Capitol Riot
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It’s not a crime to dress up in camo and play soldier-boy, even when you’re not. It just makes you look stupid

By LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV

PUBLISHED JUNE 11, 2022 8:00AM (EDT)

The Proud Boys outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)The Proud Boys outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The hearings of the House Jan. 6 committee that began on Thursday night presented plenty of evidence of plain old-fashioned wrongdoing, infantile fantasizing by people old enough to know better, and hundreds of instances of people committing overt criminally indictable offenses at the behest of a president of the United States. But the evidence showed something else, too: an entire political party that has lost the capacity to be embarrassed.

There is so much evidence of behavior and attitudes that are embarrassing that you hardly know where to begin: with the whiny look on Jared Kushner’s face and his whiny tone of voice as he described the White House counsel’s threats to resign as “whiny”? The aw-shucks shrug of the shoulders given by former Attorney General William Barr, who was the highest law enforcement official in the land, as he explained — if that is even the word — resigning his office because he had finally had enough of what he called  “bullshit”? Committee vice-chair Liz Cheney’s lengthy recitation of all the phone calls Donald Trump didn’t make and orders he refused to issue while a violent attempt was made to overthrow the government of which he was in charge?

See what I mean?

To me, however, the most embarrassing thing of all is the fact that nine veterans of service in the United States military have been indicted for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government for their roles in the violent assault on the Capitol. Not only that, but they dressed up and play-acted their parts as veterans. Some of them, specifically the Oath Keepers, wore military-style camo outfits complete with bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets, and used a military-style “stack” formation to lead the breach of the Capitol building. Others, the Proud Boys, gave orders to their membership not to wear military-style gear and remain incognito: “come as a patriot” and “do not wear colors!” (referring to their yellow and black Proud Boy uniforms) and “be decentralized and use good judgement” because “we are trying to avoid getting into any shit.

Reading the indictment of five Proud Boys — four of them veterans — that was handed down by a Washington grand jury last Monday is like reading a script for a remake of “Rambo.” Using an encrypted social media chat app, the Proud Boys talked about their “Ministry of Self Defense” or MOSD, their “Leaders Group,” their “Operations Council” and their “Marketing Council.” They even formed a “MOSD Prospect Group” to recruit new members for their paramilitary operations at the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Note: All that excited capitalization is from the texts cited verbatim in the indictment.)

The Proud Boys established something called the “Boots on the Ground Group,” and exchanged text messages asking, “Are we going to do a commander’s briefing before 10 a.m.?” 

“Standby,” came the response in primo-mil-speak.

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