Infamy: Inside the mind of Capitol rioters

If accusations against Gracyn Courtright are accurate, they open a horrifying window into the minds of some of those who participated in the breach of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. Courtright, 23, of Hurricane, allegedly carried a sign that read “Members Only” as she joined the mob that was nearing the Senate chambers that day.

She is facing criminal charges. Included in an affidavit filed by the FBI, is a screenshot provided by a witness who messaged Courtright via social media to ask whether the person in a video of the event was really her. According to that screenshot, Courtright not only admitted she was part of the mob that breached the Capitol, but claimed she was not embarrassed about it, and that she was making “history.”

When the witness who provided the screenshot accused her of treason, Courtright reportedly said she did not know what treason was. Worse, she later wrote “Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO,” before deleting her Instagram account.

Courtright is a senior at the University of Kentucky, according to the affidavit. Imagine, being a senior in college and not knowing (or pretending not to know) what treason is. Further, imagine feeling no compunction about committing such an act because “either way I end up more known.”

It is essential we understand Courtright’s alleged thought process (or lack thereof) is not unique. Far more of those involved appear to have been poorly informed glory seekers than they would care to admit. Men and women of all ages approached the events of Jan. 6 more like dumb kids at a pop music festival than the patriots they pretended they were emulating.

It is a shame we cannot deny Courtright even the infamy she allegedly craved. But she must stand as exhibit A in understanding the kinds of minds that were manipulated toward destruction and violence that day.


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