Business Insider: Tom Porter
Before she was fatally shot in the chaos that engulfed the Capitol on Wednesday, Ashli Babbitt wrote a cryptic social-media post.
"They can try and try and try, but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours....dark to light!" said a Twitter post written under Babbitt's name, a post counter-extremism researchers believe is genuine.
"The Storm" is a resonant phrase at the heart of QAnon, the sprawling online conspiracy movement that baselessly claims that President Donald Trump is working to dismantle a network of elite child-abusers who run world affairs.
Adherents of the movement were on the front line in Wednesday's violence. As seen in the photos below, a man wearing a top emblazoned with a Q symbol and slogan was among those confronting police officers in the Capitol.
A QAnon influencer known as the "Q Shaman" played a prominent role in the unrest, and was pictured in his trademark horned helmet seated in the Senate chamber after rioters broke in.
January 6 had been billed by some in the movement as step toward the day they, like Babbitt, had long awaited.
They see The Storm as a day of violent retribution, when Trump's enemies in the Democratic Party and those they as regard traitors in the Republican Party will face mass executions.
Posts like this weeks ahead of the protest sought to heighten expectation for what the day would bring.
Trump's holding onto power on Wednesday was seen by the movement as a step toward that, a QAnon expert named Alex Bradley Newhouse told Insider.
Newhouse is a lead researcher of the online far right at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, California.
QAnon supporters, he said, think events will lead "to the apocalyptic conclusion, The Storm, which theoretically involves mass arrests, military tribunals, and executions throughout the world."
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