by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“My sister was 35 and served 14 years — to me that’s the majority of your conscious adult life. If you feel like you gave the majority of your life to your country and you’re not being listened to, that is a hard pill to swallow. That’s why she was upset,” said Roger Witthoeft, the brother of Ashli Babbitt, in an interview with The New York Times.
Babbitt served four tours of duty in her 14 years of military service. Having survived deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Babbitt died in the U.S. Capitol. She’d stormed the building with a riotous mob, seeking to fight back against an election the rioters firmly believe was stolen from Donald Trump. She was shot by a Capitol Police officer. Her final, bloody moments were broadcast and immortalized on social media.
Not one participant should be excused for his or her part in the riot. Babbitt, however, must be understood.
The struggling small business owner left a social media footprint that speaks volumes. Her recent retweets were filled with supportive messages for Lin Wood, the pro-Trump lawyer who’s spent recent weeks advancing fringe conspiracy theories about the election results. She expressed belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory. …
… I have no idea whether Babbitt was a decent person. I know there’s no moral defense of her decision to storm the capitol. I also know her death is a tragedy.
Further, Babbitt’s Twitter makes clear what her brother told the Times. She was upset. She also clearly believed conspiratorial stories about how the election was stolen. Of all the tweets she left behind for us to read, one is the most important.
It’s a New Year’s Eve retweet of another user’s post that reads, “People I trust in DC … 1) President Trump – the end.”