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A lawyer for accused Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio says his client had “Foxitis” due to binging on Fox News after losing his job during the pandemic. The riot led to five deaths as former President Donald Trump supporters attempted to disrupt the certification of President Biden’s 2020 Electoral College victory. In 2015, Ethan Couch, a teen who killed four people and paralyzed one after driving drunk, avoided prison due to another fictitious condition called Affluenza. Will “Foxitis” rise to the level of Affluenza?
The judicial system allowed Couch to avoid jail time because he was lucky enough to catch the rich kid’s disease otherwise known as affluenza. This fabricated disease allowed the teen to receive a slap on the wrist while issuing a slap to the face for the victims’ families. The judge did society a disservice, not to mention the families of these victims who are still suffering. Not only did 16-year-old Couch take the lives of four individuals, but he stole the alcohol that influenced the crime.
Many Capitol riot defendants have blamed Trump for their actions, with little legal success. Some judges have also expressed concern about right-wing media outlets continuing to stoke anger amongst Trump supporters. It is no secret that Fox News and other right-wing media have faced backlash and criticism following the riot due at least, in part, to their airing of conspiracy theories from Trump and his allies.
Antonio is charged with five federal crimes related to the riot, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and destruction of government property. He is alleged to have shouted threatening statements at police, poured water on an officer being dragged down the Capitol steps, and have gotten hold of a riot shield and gas mask, according to court documents. According to court filings, Antonio then briefly entered the Capitol through a shattered window and tossed around broken furniture.
The fact that Couch’s wealth was powerful enough to alter the consequences of his actions that fateful night confirms that he is not the only partaker who is sick. The criminal justice system has a severe case of Affluenza that flares up whenever it becomes convenient. Will the recent claim of “Foxitis” rise to the level of Affluenza?
During the January 6 riot, as captured by an open-source video posted to YouTube, Antonio was provided a bullhorn from someone in the crowd. After asking people near him to sit down so that others in the crowd could see him, he proceeded to address the crowd standing on the Lower West Terrace. The ‘Foxitis’ victim was captured saying:
Patriots! Everybody listen up! We’ve made it this far. We’ve spoken to them. These are the guards right now. We’ve spoken to them. We are holding the line. Listen, they say they will not mace us, tase us, or beat us. We are holding the line. We are not moving until we get our way. This is a peaceful protest now. This is a peaceful protest now and always has been. Remember this is our Capitol; this is our house, these are our steps. If we have to sit here all night, we will. Do not bum-rush us, we are trying to work with them.
Later that day, Antonio gave an interview to VDARE, an American far-right website promoting opposition to immigration to the United States, where he described some of the actions he took. The reporter asked Antonio, “So you actually penetrated the Capitol Building?” and he replied:
Yes, yes, we penetrated the Capitol Building. There was three officers that were trying to work with us, when I had the megaphone. The other officers told them to shut up, mow us down, and they all sprayed us. They lifted up my gas mask and sprayed me in the face, beating us in the head with batons. So, we knew we couldn’t get through the doors. So, we broke the window, got into the room, at that point…it was all over my hair, my face, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see, so I, we had to come up with a plan.
We barricaded the door, broke everything, so we have something to use against ‘em. While we were in there, trying to come up with a plan, I was useless, I was useless so, I left. What ended up happening, a man’s father called him from the outside and said the media is calling us anarchists. And what that means is, is they now have access to use deadly force against us. We lost lives in there. Two confirmed lives have been lost. Patriots, we took the Capitol and we’re not stopping. I will be back tonight. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe, but we’re not backing down. We’ve got the outside. We will take it back. But, Patriots, I’m telling you right now, be safe. Watch your six. They have been granted access to use deadly force.
On February 4, 2021, FBI agents interviewed Antonio in the presence of his attorney. He confirmed that he went to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, because then-President Trump told him to do so. Antonio’s attorney, Joseph Hurley, claims his client became hooked with what he labeled “Foxitus” or “Foxmania” and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him.
Ethan Couch was freed due to affluenza. This occurs when a person becomes too wealthy to understand the consequences of their actions. The teen was so rich he could have proven beneficial in the long run. In this case, Antonio was allegedly brainwashed by Fox News. Will he avoid consequences due to ‘Foxitis?”
Affluenza is not a mental disorder, and to date, it has not been confirmed by a mental health professional or organization. Rather, the inclusion of affluenza in the teen’s case comes across as a fabricated diagnosis created to serve a specific purpose. Will ‘Foxitis” do the same and rise to the level of Affluenza and influence the current Justice System crisis?
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
CNN: Anthony Antonio Statement of Facts
The Hill: Lawyer for accused Capitol rioter says client had ‘Foxitis’
Liberty Voice: What Is Affluenza?
Top Image Courtesy of Ninian Reid’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
All Other Images Courtesy of Blink O’fanaye’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License