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What Today Means for Some QAnon Adherents - Arcelia Martin

RENEE RODEN, HOST: The U.S. Capitol police announced yesterday that they were aware of possible plans of far-right groups to attack the capitol, today, March 4th. The attack may have been inspired by the online group QAnon--some members believe this is the day former President Trump will be inaugurated for a second term. Arcelia Martin reports.

ARCELIA MARTIN, BYLINE: QAnon followers believed Trump wouldn't leave office on January 20th. They thought he'd declare martial law and prevent Joe Biden from being sworn in as the forty sixth president of the United States. [I Joe Robinette Biden Jr. solemnly swear.] When that didn't happen, QAnon followers came up with a new date for Trump's inauguration, March 4th. This day is based on the original Inauguration Day for U.S. presidents. In their view, the last legitimate president was sworn in March 4th, 1869, that would be Ulysses Grant, number 18. So far, though, no attacks materialized, supporters were also expected at sites like Trump Tower in Manhattan earlier today outside the building on Fifth Avenue.

There were no signs of demonstrators, just a security guard who came out from the gold plated glass doors as I walked closer to the short metal barricade.

MARTIN: How’s it going?

I asked him if he knew of any demonstrations happening today.

GUARD: Not that I know of, no.

MARTIN: Kathleen Stansberry is a professor at Elon University who studies Internet communities. She says predictions by the group start with cryptic messages from the anonymous Q, which are then interpreted into specifics such as the March 4th inauguration.

STANSBERRY: If things don't happen as expected, then it's not necessarily the anonymous source. It's not necessarily Q that is wrong. It's that it was misinterpreted.

MARTIN: Stansberry says that within the group, the broader themes of the predictions are more important than the specifics.

STANSBERRY: Are you trusting that March 4th is the day? Probably not. You're trusting that Q exists and that there are powerful people working to take down other powerful people.

MARTIN: At its core, QAnon is a community. And the social aspects hold the group together even when the predictions don't pan out.

STANSBERRY: It's not just maybe the difficulty of saying, well, I was wrong about this. It's also leaving groups that maybe they talk to frequently through discussion boards. It's it's giving up a sense that, you know, something that others don't. It's changing a purpose. You feel like you're fighting for something important. And all of those are big things to to lose.

MARTIN: Arcelia Martin, Columbia Radio News.

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