Fans of democracy rightfully cheered the conviction of Enrique Tarrio and all others who tried to take down our nation in Donald Trump’s name. But their imprisonments aren’t the end of the danger. Instead, it could be the beginning of a more radical, militant, and fervid fascist movement in America.
We’ve seen it happen in organizations like Al-Qaeda – they grow their ranks abroad and here by enticing fellow inmates, further warping their minds in an echo chamber of grievances. Or they use their notoriety to gain more adherents, grow their ranks, and sow more terror.
That could very well happen to Aiden Bilyard, a North Carolina man who was 18 when he stormed the capital, or Bruno Joseph Cua, who was also 18 and will be sentenced next week.
These young, impressionable people could easily be drawn further into a movement that wants to use them as an example. That’s what we see happening to Kyle Rittenhouse: he shot a pro-democracy protester and has been embraced as a hero by the right. (Example: Idaho Republicans recently auctioned off “Trigger Time” with the gun-loving youngster.)
No doubt insurrectionists and conspirators like Torres are still communicating with their friends outside and making new ones inside and becoming an entirely new threat in the process: a more concentrated form of fascism.
So, how do we prevent the further militarization of MAGA convicts? By ensuring that they’re rehabilitated in prison, not further radicalized.
One way is by supporting prison programs that actively counter racist, sexist, and, frankly, anti-American attitudes. MAGA-aligned inmates must be exposed to new ways of thought and accurate history of the United States. They must be reformed rather than left to congeal together and stew into something even more violent.
If not, we face a future with a more zealous fascist movement than even Donald Trump can imagine – true terror.