A dangerous alliance is forming between far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and a California man who achieved notoriety for his violent threats against government officials implementing public health orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Carlos Zapata captured attention of the far-right figures following an August speech at a meeting of the Shasta County, California, board of supervisors where he railed against the county’s COVID-19 public health orders, warning that “it’s not going to be peaceful much longer” and promising that if violence “has to be against our own citizens, it will happen.”
Since giving that speech, Zapata, a military veteran and bar owner, has made at least four appearances on programs in Jones’ Infowars network. While appearing on Infowars show War Room on September 4, Zapata said that when he arrived at the board of supervisors meeting, he had hoped that others in attendance would help him “march in and take over” the proceedings, but instead he gave his speech when nobody joined his plan. During the program, where he wore a hat supporting President Donald Trump, Zapata also threatened violence against local officials who might try to remove his liquor license.
During his latest Infowars appearance, on the October 13 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Zapata repeatedly said that the conditions have been met for people to wage violence against the government.
Jones has, for years, salivated over the prospect of a bloody second American civil war that pits conservatives against the left and “globalists.” In hyping the prospect of partisan violence, Jones has said that he will personally participate in the fighting and in the mass executions of members of the losing side afterward. While Jones has often tried to create plausible deniability against the charge he is threatening or intimidating anyone, typically with the claim that any violence he and others on the right would engage in would be legitimate self-defense, Zapata is more explicit in his comments.
During his October 13 broadcast, Jones prompted Zapata by saying that “total resistance comes next, because it’s better to die on your feet, than die on your knees.” Zapata responded that in recent months the conditions for anti-government violence have been met and that “you don’t vote your way out of socialism. Once it takes root, the only way to eradicate it is to fight with arms” leading to a “violent confrontation” where there will be “blood in the streets.” He went on to encourage supporters “storming the chambers and forcibly removing those people that are oppressing you” and to train with guns, stockpile food, and build bases and compounds.
Calling himself a “violent individual,” Zapata said, “Like I said in my speech, be thankful that we are good and thoughtful citizens, but we’re not going to be much longer. And we’re way past the boiling point, I mean this is way over at this point.” Zapata also said that if local officials tried to shut down his business “there would be hopefully a hundred thousand people there with guns ready to fight them.” Jones then praised Zapata for not backing down, saying, “A bully doesn’t respect you until their head hits the concrete.”
Zapata said that he was recognized in public because of a previous appearance on Infowars and said he was “encouraged.” He also said, “I know there’s a lot of negativity out there, … but let me tell you right now that if we keep speaking our minds, if we keep fighting for this normalcy, and if we keep threatening violence, we’re going to get pretty far, because I hate to say, there has to be a threat of violence.”
During his appearance, Zapata also singled out a Shasta County public health official by name. While discussing how he wants “revenge” against the public health orders, Zapata called the official “a tyrant” and said “I hope people hear her name and keep putting the pressure on her.” While he spoke, the Infowars broadcast displayed a website that showed the pictures and names of other Shasta County public health officials.
At the conclusion of the interview, Jones invited Zapata to return to his show next week and said, “We love you and salute you.”
Zapata’s threats come just days after more than a dozen far-right extremists were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer based on the group’s belief that her actions have been tyrannical.