On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, a herd of idiots, conspiracy maniacs, and revolutionary varlets stormed into the United States Capitol and proceeded to occupy it, like Vandals in Rome, for hours. They drove out actual congresspeople of both parties during the middle of proceedings to certify the votes of the Electoral College, injuring dozens of policemen and policewomen in the process. Vice President Pence fled from the Capitol like a raccoon startled from a trash can on a rainy night. Some nimrod (probably more than one) carried a Confederate flag through the Capitol for the first time in history. It was a sad, drunken, pathetic carnival of destruction and violence.

Images from that night will remain burned in the public consciousness for a very long time. Plainclothes Capitol police pointed handguns through the broken door of the Senate chamber as a horde of modern Visigoths pressed to get inside. A female rioter, shot by police, bled out horribly on the marble floor of our citadel of democracy. 

One image, though, will stand out above all the others: the so-called QAnon Shaman, a shirtless man wearing a fur hat and horns, standing astride the presider’s dais at the center of the Senate floor, looking for all the world like a barbarian exulting in the ruins of a conquered city.

The QAnon Shaman, whose name turns out to be Jake Angeli, has been a ubiquitous presence at Trump rallies and anti-lockdown protests for some time. He is apparently something like a universal mascot for the snowballing QAnon movement, which centers around the quasi-religious belief that the world is run by a global cabal of superrich, Satan-worshiping pedophiles — and that Donald Trump is the only champion who can defeat them. It’s hard to know where to begin with this pulsing ball of grandiosity and paranoia (the only two subjects in which Trump himself ever excelled), so I won’t even attempt it here.

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