Among the San Diegans in Washington, D.C., this week as rioters stormed the Capitol was an Escondido business owner whose social media posts are being characterized as “dangerous” by the local president of the Anti-Defamation League.
“This is not the time to run from a fight,” said David Chiddick on a video posted on Instagram. “But this is a time to run to a fight. This is not the time to watch and hope somebody fixes the problem for us. It is a time for us to stand up and fix the problem for ourselves.”
Chittick, who owns Koffe, a boutique coffee shop in Escondido, has defiantly ignored public health orders and kept his business open. He’s also previously posted videos about health orders being a threat to America’s freedoms.
Chiddick’s Instagram video was posted on Wednesday, apparently just before the violence broke out.
Chiddick said he was not among the rioters who stormed the Capitol and called it “very sad.” He declined NBC 7’s request for an interview to learn more about why he was in Washington.
“This is the moment where we can do something about it,” Chiddick said in his video post. “We can stand up and take our country back, take our freedoms back.”
It’s not clear exactly what kind of action Chiddick condones, but for some, his rhetoric is cause for concern.
“That’s dangerous,” said Tammy Gillies, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego. “That’s really dangerous.”
“Words matter, as does the rhetoric that people put out there,” Gillies said. “People talk a lot about First Amendment rights, but the First Amendment does not give you the right to incite. So, you can have free speech but you cannot incite violence, and I think that’s what’s been happening and social media adds to that in a huge way.”
While Chiddick has previously ranted about public health orders, his Escondido coffee shop remains open, often packed with people not socially distanced.
“I think the time that we’re stepping into now is, again, when we get back to how the Founding Fathers wanted America to be, and that’s a nation where the government is always fearing the people,” Chiddick said in a December video post.
Meanwhile, Gillies said she considers the rioters who stormed the Capitol to be “domestic terrorists.” She said the group is largely made up of white supremacists who believe this is their country only.
“These people feel emboldened, empowered,” Gillies said. “They look at it as a victory, and we have to take this very, very seriously.”
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