We may make fun of those who still cling, in the face of reality, to the idea that Trump won the election but was defrauded because of widespread cheating. But we have to realize that there will always be a few who decide that protesting is not enough and that they have a duty to take violent action based on that belief. The heavily armed man who went to ‘rescue’ children from the basement of a Washington DC pizza shop because he believe in the wild story that it was the location of a pedophile ring is a good example.
Now we have the case of an ex-police offfice who became convinced that an AC repairman was the head of a massive vote fraud operation and had in his possession over 750,000 fraudulent mail-in ballots. So he decided to stop him.
A former Houston police captain convinced of a vast conspiracy to steal the election allegedly ran a man off the road and held him at gunpoint, believing there were thousands of illegal ballots in the back of the man’s box truck.
In fact, Mark Anthony Aguirre’s alleged victim was an ordinary air conditioner repairman, prosecutors say. There was nothing fishy in the back of his truck, nor in the repairman’s home in a nearby mobile home community in Houston, which Aguirre said he and others had surveilled for four days straight, police said.
But there seems to be more to this story than a deluded person acting on his own.
But it gets stranger: The day after the ex-cop allegedly held the terrified repairman at gunpoint, convinced of a massive election conspiracy that did not exist, he received a wire transfer for $211,400, according to prosecutors. The money came from a conservative group that’s pumped up election fraud conspiracy theories, and which is led by prominent right-wing activists in Texas.
Police knew about Aguirre’s alleged actions within minutes. In fact, according to a police officer’s affidavit, he had called them three days before the incident, urging them to conduct a traffic stop for his voter fraud investigation. When police refused, Aguirre said he would conduct his own “citizen’s arrest,” according to the affidavit.
Officers were on the scene in time to see that “citizen’s arrest” for themselves, according to the affidavit: The first cop on the scene found Aguirre with his knee on the repairman’s back. Police interviewed the repairman and Aguirre, and even searched the repairman’s home, with his permission, to investigate Aguirre’s claims of a voter fraud conspiracy.
After initially claiming to be working with others, Aguirre changed his story and refused to name them, police said in the affidavit. He refused to say who moved the repairman’s box truck after he’d run into it — though the repairman told police he’d heard Aguirre order another unnamed suspect to search his box truck and then move it away from the scene.
The conservative group that allegedly funded Aguirre’s private investigative work this year, the Liberty Center for God and Country, wired Aguirre $266,400 between September and October, according to grand jury records described by police.
If Trump and his allies keep feeding this monster of delusion, we should not be surprised if a few of his supporters decide that they should be the ‘patriots’ and ‘heroes’ who save the republic and resort to this kind of dangerous activity.