The Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia, played a leading role in instigating the January 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol, and for at least one former member, the reality of the violence of that day is finally sinking in.
Graydon Young, a former Oath Keeper who joined thousands of others in storming Congress to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, broke down in tears in court apologizing for his actions.
Young joined the Oath Keepers after being inundated with misinformation on the legitimacy of the 2020 elections and testified that leaders of the fringe group encouraged members to travel to Washington, D.C. and “Stop the Steal.” Within fewer than two months, Young went from a voracious consumer of conspiracy theory videos to an active participant in what he saw at the time as a “Bastille-type moment in history.”
It's a good thing that Young and others have come forward and denounced the violence they participated in on January 6, but it may not be enough.
Today, the rampant spread of misinformation on social media makes it easier than ever for people to fall into the trap of conspiracy theories. That, combined with a concerningly high number of Americans who say they are willing to condone violence to achieve some political ends, is a reminder of why it’s so important for Americans and our political leaders to do everything we can to bring America back together.