Carl Segerstrom, High Country News - Rebellion roots of the attack on the US Capitol

Carl Segerstrom, High Country News
Rebellion roots of the attack on the US Capitol


Remember the old “man-cave” or barroom plaque – “Even a fish would stay out of trouble if he kept his mouth shut?”

I guess the 21st Century version would be – “Hey big mouth, don’t flap your lips on social media, and for God’s sake don’t take a video-selfie while you are participating in a riot.”

Good advice, but, a little too late to save Couy Griffin, the Mega-Stetson of Cowboys for Trump. Griffin was “no hat, no cattle” when he was arrested by federal agents in Washington, DC recently for allegedly helping to incite the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and then joining the mob himself.

The chief evidence against Griffin, cited in an affidavit from the FBI, comes from videos he or some associate cowboys posted on Facebook, “in which,” the FBI says, “he stated that he climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and . . . had a first row seat.” A “front row seat” for the riot.

Which is not what Griffin called it in an even more revealing blurt to his Facebook friends. “You want to say that that was a mob? You want to say that was violence?” he asks of the crowd on January 6. “No sir. No Ma’am,” he says. That, he predicts is still to come. “We could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally yesterday. You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.”

When he was arrested, Griffin was back in Washington, he had told his fellow-members of the Otero County, NM, Commission, on a mission. “I’m gonna be there on Jan. 20,” he told the commissioners, to “take a stand for our country and for our freedoms.” 

As to his earlier prediction that blood might flow, he was going to DC, he said, not with bandages but “a .357 Henry Big Boy file lever action” and “a .357 single action revolver, the Colt Ruger Vaquero” with him. This, in itself, seems a public signal of brand-name intent to violate Washington D.C.’s strict weapons laws.

But for all that high-caliber bluster, Couy Griffin’s biggest legal fight before his boastful video connections to the attack on the seat of American government has been to keep Cowboys for Trump’s list of financial supporters secret.

Some Cowboys for Trump events do suggest big-budget backing … horse-treks to Mount Rushmore and through Maryland to Washington, for example, “to highlight border security” – showing, I guess that both horseback riding and border securing can be a pain in the ass.

Griffin defended his membership list by comparing it to membership in the Alabama branch of the NAACP back in the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, then whining “If our donors and supporters are unmasked and their names are known, then New Mexico is notorious for political hits,” Griffin told the AP. “Their names would be slandered, and they would be attacked for supporting a conservative political movement in New Mexico.” As if New Mexico had a liberal Ku Klux Klan. Given the legal ramifications, it is likely that Griffin may be in federal prison before he’s forced to disclose where C4T, as the Cowboys brand themselves, get their grubstake.

Cowboys for Trump is a manifestation of a regional movement across the rural West that calls itself The Sagebrush Rebellion. 

Our guest today Carl Segerstrom, assistant editor at High Country News says the Western branches of the Trump Tree of Sedition may pose the biggest problem for new president Joe Biden.



Carl Segerstrom is an assistant editor at High Country News, covering Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies from Spokane, Washington.




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