Photo: @ AshliBitt / Twitter
Ashley Babbitt has made no secret of her far-right political views. Outside her San Diego home, just blocks from the beach, she raised the American flag and Qunun A giant decorated flag s And the acronym for WWG1WGA is, “Where do we go one, we all go.” She affixed her SUV with pro-Trump bumper stickers and the Blue Lives Matter flag. On the door of the local pool services company she ran with her husband, uncle and brother, a poster declared it “a self-governing, mask-free zone, known as America” and added, “If you need to wear a mask outside, I’m not sure we can help you.”
However, people close to Babbitt said they had no idea how devoted she was to Donald Trump and his movement until they saw her with A mob inside the U.S. Capitol. Wearing the Trump flag over her shoulders, Babette reached a toilet room off the floor of the house when she went up through the window and was shot by a Capitol police officer on the other side. Babbitt, 35, died of her wounds. Her family members are now trying to reconcile their own image of the feisty but private woman they knew with the woman who stormed Congress as part of a violent gang that called for the killing of MPs.
“I actually saw her for the first time on a videotape when I was talking on the phone with several hospitals trying to find her,” said Kayla Joyce, 29, who said she was Babbitt’s and her husband Aaron’s girlfriend. “We found out through the news. Through live TV.”
“I thought she was just going to march. Joyce, who has known the couple for about a year, said,“ And I think that was all that was, even it wasn’t. ”“ It was very different from being put in this position. ”Aaron Babbitt did not respond. For comment requests.
Babbitt was one of thousands who flocked to Washington, DC, to support Trump in his ongoing effort to challenge the lost 2020 election results. Speaking on the morning of January 6, Trump called on his supporters to protest against what he falsely claimed was the theft of elections by Congress, pushing them to “fight like hell,” and then head to the Capitol.
“I blame Trump. How could you not?” Joyce said, “I mean, it’s their character, their boss.” “Why would they do it unless their leader asked them to do it?”
She pleaded with Joyce that Babbitt’s picture shown online and in the press was not true of her: “She was not a terrorist. She would not have put herself in harm’s way for any bad reason. If I could get in her head and choose her brain, I would.” Joyce added that Babbitt’s death should not be celebrated by anyone. “It shouldn’t be explained because she had an opinion that she deserved it. It’s just what they say sucks.”
Joyce spent the last days talking to the FBI, making her and Aaron’s social media accounts private, avoiding an endless barrage of reporters at their doorstep. They are waiting for her ashes to return and are planning a small monument. There will be no gravestone. “I don’t want that attention. We don’t want this.” “She didn’t want this,” Joyce said. “We were very local people. We hardly leave our community. “
Due to her small size, Babbitt wasn’t shy about expressing her strong opinions, according to friends and neighbors. Air Force veterans have been prosecuted at barbecues for hours about the state of the country, but they have often broken up into a conspiracy-theorized clamor that people just can’t understand. “I just had a hard time even following what she was saying,” said a neighbor, who asked not to be named for fear of the backlash online.
Joyce said she did not follow Babbitt on Twitter, as Babbitt’s dedication to Trump and conspiracy theories went beyond political debates in the backyard. She tweeted far-right talking points and openly supported QAnon’s conspiracies, including the belief that high-ranking government officials were running an elaborate child abuse episode. Her photos show that she attended a pro-Trump boat rally. call President-elect Joe Biden is “a child rapist” and believes COVID-19 is a hoax. The day before the storming of the Capitol, she tweeted that it would be an unforgettable day, as Qunun’s prophecy predicted. She tweeted on January 5, “Nothing will stop us. They can try and try but the storm is here as it descends on the capital in less than 24 hours … from darkness to light!”
“To be completely honest with you, I knew my granddaughter was in politics, but I didn’t know the depth,” said Anthony Mazziot, Babbitt’s grandfather, who lives a 20-minute drive from her home. “You left me completely ignorant. So I’m a little surprised, to be honest with you. She was the perfect granddaughter. She took care of her grandfather when she could.”
Likewise, her neighbors have to reconcile their memories of Babette and the person they saw on TV. “It is upsetting to understand that she, my neighbor, is being viewed as a patriotic terrorist.” One of them said, “It hurts to think that the passion that she housed for Trump will end up in her death. Another neighbor who requested anonymity said:“ I knew She was passionate, but I thought most people just don’t act on their passion. ”“ This is the next level, being the first person to go through that window. ”
Maziot said he learned that his granddaughter was going to Washington just two days before she left, and Joyce said she and Aaron told Babbet that they didn’t want her to go because they didn’t like the idea of her traveling alone. Finally, all three agreed that they would be comfortable if Babbitt promised to stay in touch with their “capsule” and check-in every 30 minutes.
“We were trying to contact her as soon as this nonsense spread in all the media. We were trying to contact and try to contact, nothing. Her location services are down. We couldn’t find her, and in the end we watched the live video of her,” said Joyce.
Joyce said she and Aaron now also have to face how to save the family pool company, which has already lost clients. It has become increasingly difficult not to blame the deceased. “We are upset with her,” Joyce said. “We didn’t really think this would happen.” However, they are telling their friends, especially those who were with Babbitt in her final hours in Washington, not to make any judgment.
“We tell them,” Joyce said, “Just try to remember that when you’re angry at her, focus on who you are.” “She was so happy that day. That’s all I can think of.”