CNN is throwing another pity party for a member of the MAGA mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6. This one's in honor of Jessica Watkins from Woodstock, Ohio.

In her Ohio hometown, she's known as an Army veteran who runs a bar and set up a small self-styled militia her boyfriend says she created to help neighbors if tornadoes hit.

To the FBI, she's a militant leader who traveled to Washington, DC, and stormed the US Capitol, encouraging others to do the same.

When domestic terrorism's involved, it only matters how the FBI defines you. Watkins is now detained at the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio. She's charged with conspiracy, conspiracy to impede an officer, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

FBI agents reportedly recovered in her home what "appears to be directions for making explosives, authored by 'the Jolly Roger.'" That's also the name of Watkins's bar, because she must've assumed no one would ever connected the dots.


Watkins's boyfriend, Montana Siniff, claims she "hates explosives" and adds that “there is no moral or lawful way to really make use of explosives as a regular citizen." However, Watkins reportedly formed and commands a group called the Ohio State Regular Militia, and she's accused of working with Donovan Ray Crowl, also from Ohio, and Thomas Edward Caldwell, an Oath Keepers leader from Virginia, during the January 6 siege.

The Oath Keepers are a right-wing anti-government group. The three showed up in military gear for the “Save America" rally, although Watkins tried to play clueless and innocent. She claimed she didn't commit a crime when she broke into the Capitol because she didn't destroy property or actively injure police officers.

While she and one other man in her unit roamed hallways around the U.S. Senate (she said the two others are elderly and stayed outside), they made active efforts to stop any property destruction.

"It still staggers my imagination that it went down the way it did," she said. "I don't want to call it a false flag, but it was some people hijacking what started off as a peaceful movement."

This is a very stupid lie. Investigators have evidence that Watkins extensively plotted their part in the attack. After breaching the Capitol, she described the scene inside as "the most beautiful thing I ever saw." Congress members were afraid for their lives. The federal complaint against her also highlights her damning words on (of course) Parler:

"Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even," she wrote.

Another post from Watkins used as evidence by the FBI said: "We never smashed anything, stole anything, burned anything, and truthfully we were very respectful with Capitol Hill PD until they attacked us. Then we stood our ground and drew the line."

I'm just a Black guy, but I don't think you can “stand your ground" against law enforcement. That's how you wind up buried underneath the ground. Well, unless, you're a white domestic terrorist, I guess.

Watkins served in the Army under a different name from April 2001 to December 2003. She was deployed in Afghanistan for several months in 2002. A disproportionate number of people charged in the Capitol siege are former military and law enforcement. Right-wing militias such as the Oath Keepers actively recruit veterans. It's a concerning state of affairs.

"She's not a violent person," Siniff told CNN. "She can be very spirited, but she is a very good person at heart and she just really wants to try to help people."

Maybe Siniff's only been romantically involved with women in militias, in which case he should consider expanding the search parameters on his dating app, but Watkins seems like a violent person. Siniff claims that Watkins went to the “Save America" rally specifically to "help protect some Trump VIP members." Let's hope the FBI looks into that.

Before turning herself in, Watkins gave an interview a couple weeks ago where she admitted that Donald Trump's rally speech "got some people fired up." She also claims she was somehow assisting law enforcement when she joined a seditious mob.

"I didn't destroy anything. I didn't wreck anything. If they want to charge me, that's fine, but you're welcome."

A shocking sense of entitlement is perhaps the most common and infuriating theme among the MAGA mob.

[CNN / Ohio Capital Journal]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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