How a liberal lawyer in Georgia made an excessive proper flip

The trigger appeared to be gun control. Mr. Calhoun hadn’t always been obsessed with guns, friends said. But in the fall of 2019, some Democratic politicians spoke of ambitious new gun restrictions, and it seemed like a switch was being thrown. Mr Calhoun said that himself too.

“I was a Democrat for 30 years,” he wrote in a recent social media post. The new gun control proposals have changed that, he said. “I was called a white supremacist and a racist for defending 2A,” he continued, using an abbreviation for the second amendment. Given all he’d done as a “justice” advocate, he said, “It hurt my feelings a little. Then I became a Trump supporter. “

His conversion was total. In autumn 2020 he reported on an impending “internal communist problem” and the “seditious BLM anti-fascist crime wave”. He wrote of Joe Biden: “Hang up the bastard.”

Old friends were baffled and some got nervous. “I’m going to fling enough hot lead to pile you up like Cordwood,” Mr Calhoun wrote on Twitter in October. Then, a few days later, “If Trump stands by and calls, millions of heavily armed, disgruntled patriots will come to Washington.”

After the election, Mr. Calhoun held a small gun rights rally in town, and the violent posts continued, with discussions about civil war, pike heads, and demonstrating “what the bottom of the river looks like” to Democratic Congressman Ilhan Omar . In December, a reporter for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail found that Mr Calhoun had bought a Confederate flag before a Trump rally. “This is about independence and freedom,” Calhoun told the reporter, describing Trumpism and southern secession as similarly justified struggles against tyranny.

On January 6, Mr. Calhoun’s posts revealed that he had found his way into the US Capitol with the mob. “The first of us to come upstairs stepped into Nancy Pelosi’s office door,” he wrote in a post. “Mad Nancy would probably have been torn to bits, but she was nowhere to be seen.”

A week later, federal agents arrested him at his sister’s home in Macon, Georgia, where an FBI agent said he had stored two AR-15-style assault rifles, two shotguns, a pistol, brass knuckles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.