Authorities release image of pipe bombs and suspected bomber

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information on this person, the suspect believed to have planted two pipe bombs on Wednesday:

The FBI page states there were placed Wendesday. The first at 1 pm at the RNC and the second 15 minutes later at the DNC. Bother bombs were similar in design. Earlier there had been reports that an office at the U.S. Capitol was evacuated because of a pipe bomb but it seems the FBI is saying there were only two found. The NY Times has more on the bombs themselves:

The two bombs appeared to be similar, the official said. They were relatively unsophisticated and incorporated a mechanical timer, a battery, steel wool and an unknown powder as their explosive fill, the official said. One of the devices was found with a cell phone, which could have been incorporated to detonate the bomb.

Here’s a photo the Times obtained of one of the bombs.

The DC bomb squad disabled both bombs. That’s all the information we have at this point. No one is saying how destructive the bombs could have been if they’d gone off or when they were scheduled to go off.

And that brings me to an ongoing debate about just how seriously we should take the people involved in this insurrection. Buzzfeed published a story yesterday arguing that many of the people storming the Capitol were basically looking for social media trophies:

The siege was no doubt terrifying to watch, and doubly so especially for the legislators and staff trapped in the building by raging QAnon followers and Trump dead-enders. Rioters wore shirts glorifying the Holocaust; some shouted what sounded like racial epithets and paraded Confederate flags. Guns were drawn. A woman was shot to death by police. It was a tense, perilous, violent assault on democracy.

But it was also quickly apparent that this was a very dumb coup. A coup with no plot, no end to achieve, no plan but to pose. Thousands invaded the highest centers of power, and the first thing they did was take selfies and videos. They were making content as spoils to take back to the digital empires where they dwell, where that content is currency…

In other words, it was a coup for the ‘gram. It was all for trophies, or stories to tell. Far-right social media personalities like Baked Alaska (a former BuzzFeed employee whose real name is Tim Gionet) and Nick Fuentes made a show out of the siege, streaming themselves inside Pelosi’s office on DLive. The man who put his feet up on Pelosi’s desk? He soon was posing for photos with a personalized envelope he had stolen and regaling his friends with how he had “scratched his balls” in her office.

The author points to this photo as exhibit A for his thesis:

There certainly is an element of content creation to a lot of this. Some of the people who went inside just wanted to say they did it. Elon Musk posted a tweet suggesting the photo above was a butterfly effect result of the creation of Facebook:

Of course even if that’s true, it doesn’t excuse the lawbreaking and the negligence which ended in one police officer being killed, dozens more injured and a woman being shot dead.

And even if the photo of the Viking guy is exhibit A for this being for the lulz, the photo of the pipe bomb above is proof that not everyone was in it for a laugh. Over at Slate, author Dan Kois admits a lot of these people were clowns but argues it wasn’t just a clown show:

It’s easy to think of the siege of the U.S. Capitol as a clown show with accidentally deadly consequences. A bunch of cosplaying self-styled patriots show up, overwhelm the incomprehensibly unprepared Capitol Police, and then throw a frat party in the rotunda. The miscreants smear shit on the walls and steal laptops and smoke weed in conference rooms

But there were other rioters inside the Capitol, if you look at the images. And once you see them, it’s impossible to look away. The zip-tie guys.

Call the zip ties by their correct name: The guys were carrying flex cuffs, the plastic double restraints often used by police in mass arrest situations. They walked through the Senate chamber with a sense of purpose. They were not dressed in silly costumes but kitted out in full paramilitary regalia: helmets, armor, camo, holsters with sidearms. At least one had a semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails.

He’s referring to this image:

Maybe some of these people weren’t serious about an insurrection but are we sure that zip-tie guy had no end in mind? And what about the guy who left the bombs at the RNC and DNC ? I’m glad we didn’t find out in either case what these folks intended, but we came pretty close.

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