Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

No, a Capitol rioter didn't die after tasering himself in the balls

Illustration for article titled No, a Capitol rioter didn't die after tasering himself in the balls
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

It’s been nearly a week since a crowd of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol Building with flex cuffs and visions of bloodshed, but it still feels as if we have more questions than answers. Why was law enforcement so lax? How much of the insurrection was planned in advance? Did a guy really die of a heart attack after accidentally tasing himself in the balls? It’s important when dealing such a disquieting and volatile event that we value facts over hearsay and conspiracy, which is why it is our duty to inform you that, no, nobody tased themselves in the balls while trying to overthrow the government.

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Both Snopes and KnowYourMeme independently fact-checked the rumor after a number of tweets about it began circulating. According to KnowYourMeme, the rumor’s origin can be traced to Twitter user @ggooooddddoogg, who wrote on January 7, “i don’t think it’s funny at all that a maga guy accidentally tased himself in his own balls until he died while trying to steal a painting of thomas p. “tip” o neill from a hallway.”

Illustration for article titled No, a Capitol rioter didn't die after tasering himself in the balls
Screenshot: Twitter

But it was a subsequent tweet from comedian Karl Hess that accelerated its spread. It reads: “apparently a guy accidentally tasered himself in the balls and then died of a heart attack while trying to steal a painting yesterday and if we can’t all come together over how hilarious that is we may be beyond hope.” As of this writing, it has over 20,000 retweets.

Illustration for article titled No, a Capitol rioter didn't die after tasering himself in the balls
Screenshot: Twitter

The wife of the subject of the rumor spoke to Snopes and explained that the man in question never even entered the Capitol and wasn’t carrying a taser. A piece about him in the New York Times corroborates her account.

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In other news, it has been confirmed that one of the three other insurrectionists who died on January 6 was trampled to death while carrying a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.