In D.C.’s reeking swamp, Thoughtcrime is a capital offense
By Marjorie Haun
We in the West have come to understand that government long ago abandoned its mission to protect our liberties, and instead regards us—especially the rugged individualists who live boldly and independently on the American range–as adversaries to be silenced and neutralized. The Hages, the Hammonds, the Bundys, LaVoy Finicum, scores of Western ranching families, their friends and associates, have known the iron fist of government, and the dear price of defiance. Following in their agonized footsteps is Couy Griffin; a New Mexico cowboy and county commissioner targeted and tormented by the FBI for the crime of praying on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Inspired to Fight
Couy’s story began in 1973 when he was born into a family that produced livestock and lumber in New Mexico’s southern badlands. He says, “I’m from a ranching family. All my family are involved in the livestock industry in one way or another.” Running both a cattle ranch and a sawmill in the West puts one in constant proximity to the federal government, and Couy’s experiences with ill-conceived policies would inspire his later venture into politics. “Our sawmill got shut down about 25-30 years ago because of the Mexican spotted owl. Being resilient like most people who live out West, after we lost the sawmill, my dad started outfitting elk hunters and focused more on our cattle operation,” Couy recalls. Their grazing allotment in Catron County is especially problematic. He explains, “But now this thing with the Mexican gray wolves is decimating our livestock herds. One of the biggest motivators I had moving into politics was to fight this. The Endangered Species Act is wrecking our way of life in the West.”
Not unlike many ranching kids, Couy took to the rodeo while in high school. He relates, “I competed in rodeos when I was young. I had a bull riding scholarship and went to the National Finals when I was in college.” Couy’s athleticism and showmanship were unusually keen and after college he was recruited by Disney Paris to perform in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. “I moved to Paris in 1998 and did trick riding and roping and drove the stagecoach for the Wild West Show,” he declares.
Living in France during the events of September 11, 2001 crystalized Couy’s sense of mission. “God molds and shapes us through different experiences. I believe that then, I was being prepared for the time we’re in now. France is a socialist nation and I had first-hand experience with that. I was in Paris when 9/11 happened. I watched the second plane hit the tower while sitting in my hotel room,” he relates. “The longer I lived in France and experienced its socialism and lack of faith, the prouder I was to be an American.”
It was from there that Couy felt a calling from the Lord to minister in the way only a cowboy showman can; traveling the world on horseback while preaching the Word of God. Beginning in 2006, Couy fulfilled four ministry excursions to Jerusalem. “As I sought for what I should do, I felt the Lord lay on my heart that I should ride a horse from the Golden Gate of San Francisco to the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. I didn’t know how in the world it was going to happen or how God was going to perform this through me,” he recounts. “Later that year, I saddled my horse in San Francisco and started on horseback to Jerusalem. First, I rode from San Francisco to New York City. It took five and a half months.” It’s hard to imagine anything more gratifying than flying across the ocean and riding your horse Western-style through the streets of Old Jerusalem, but Providence would soon lead Couy to the highest institutions of power.
Having run successfully for a commissioner seat in Otero County, which is situated just eighty miles north of the Mexico border, Couy was charged with protecting the interests of his constituents. Illegal immigration and its associated crime, drugs, human trafficking and social chaos weighed heavily on his mind. He explains how this drew him to President Trump: “I appreciated his efforts towards border security. With me being a commissioner in a county close to the border, it was really impacting us.” Couy continues, “Trump wasn’t trying to get the wall built for himself, he was trying to get it built for us. I wanted to offer him my visible support during that difficult political time.”
With a knack for riding horses in unusual places, in February of 2019, Couy set about gathering a group of seven riders that he would call Cowboys for Trump, or C4T, to ride 170 miles from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C. in a show of support for the President. Upon their arrival in the Capitol City, Couy received a phone call. “At the end of that trip, the President called me on the phone and we talked for about 20 minutes.” He goes on, “I told him about the condition of our national forests here in New Mexico, and the threat of catastrophic wildfires in many of our mountain communities. After talking to him, I had more confidence in who he was as the President, and more importantly as a person.”
Following his initial conversation with the President, Couy took his cowboy ministry back to the streets of America on Red; a big, unflappable sorrel. With his truck, trailer, horse and an occasional photographer as companions, Couy crowned his pastoral mission with blazing shows of patriotism in cities across the country. Red was his door into many hearts. He says, “There’s been a lot of people I’ve met on the streets, and that’s the first time they’ve ever touched a horse. It’s something they will never forget.”
Still serving as a commissioner for Otero County, Couy would again find himself in Washington, D.C. in September of 2019. “I was in D.C. at a Western states affiliate. There were probably 300 county commissioners there for the meeting. I addressed the Department of Ag and reminded them that the President had promised to fix the forest issues in my county. I told them that if we had a bad forest fire I would come back to D.C. and kick one of their doors down!” Couy exclaims. “It wasn’t five minutes later that a man in a suit walked in the room and told me, ‘The President of the United States wants to see you in the Oval Office.’” He goes on, “I sat down with the President at the Resolute Desk. We had a great conversation. But the thing that really struck me about that day was when the President directed a guy to take me out to the South Lawn where he was walking out to the presidential helicopter. When he was walking across the lawn, I could tell he was thinking about something, then his head jerked up and he looked at me and pointed my way.” Couy conjectures, “When the President pointed at me on that South Lawn, he told me a lot of things with just the expression on his face; ‘don’t quit, don’t be threatened and don’t back down. Just continue to hold the line.’”
It’s reasonable to conclude that Couy’s highly conspicuous support for the President marked him for elimination by what Donald Trump refers to as “the D.C. swamp”; a cabal of career bureaucrats, globalists and radicals with hooks deep in all levels of national and local government. But with confidence in the American system, Couy continued to campaign for Trump, God and country until election night of 2020. He recalls, “When the election results came in, I was shocked. I didn’t feel like, and I still don’t feel like there is a President Joe Biden. I thought it was a fraudulent election, and I genuinely felt like it was going to be uncovered in time.”
Unabashed and resolute in his faith, Couy joined hundreds of thousands of incredulous Americans in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, 2021, to protest the certification of electors by the House of Representatives. “I felt it was my duty as a citizen to stand on my Constitutional right to protest what I believe to be a fraudulent election. I stood in the freezing weather on the South Lawn and listened to President Trump give a speech like many he had given before,” Couy recounts. “The group I was with and myself were getting ready to go back to the car when a friend of mine named Gary Chapman, a Christian recording artist, texted me and encouraged me to go pray with people on the steps of the Capitol. So, I moseyed down to the Capitol with that very intent.” Little did Couy know what lay in store, whether by design or happenstance, on the grounds of the United States Capitol. He maintains, “I had no intention of fighting with anybody or doing anything even remotely violent. I prayed with thousands of people and it was a great honor to be part of that.” Couy reflects, “And I thought to myself that God has allowed me to be a part of some pretty amazing events. Riding horseback through the Old City of Jerusalem; sitting down in the Oval Office with the President; those were amazing experiences but they all pale in comparison to the experience I had on January 6th. That was the most remarkable day of my life. I stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other Americans who were flying their flags and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing the National Anthem and celebrating our nation.”
He never entered the Capitol, and although Couy was vaguely aware of “foolish” conduct by some who were there, after a time, he left. “I didn’t fight with security guards, I didn’t push through any barricades, I didn’t do one thing that day that convicts my conscience at all.”
Taken into Custody
Doubting and in disbelief at the events following the 2020 elections, Couy planned another trip to Washington, D.C. so he could witness the inauguration of Joe Biden with his own eyes. He explains, “These days I don’t believe anything the media tells or shows us. I just wanted to be there to see it. I felt like I had that right.” Three days before the inauguration, Couy arrived in D.C. He reveals, “As I was giving an interview to a media company, I was surrounded by FBI agents and taken into custody. I was interrogated. I felt like all I was going to have to do was talk to them a little while and they would let me go. They wanted to see my phone.” With lingering faith in the system, he relented. “I have ten years of my life on my phone, but I can stand behind it all, so I let them see it. I gave them my phone and then they hauled me off to a jail somewhere in Washington, D.C.”
Couy was charged with misdemeanor “trespassing into an authorized zone,” and thrust into conditions unfit for the vilest criminal. He goes into detail: “The first jail they took me in; I wouldn’t even put an animal in that place. I have never seen so many bugs in a building before in my life. The bed in my cell was moving with bugs. It was the most disgusting, inhumane place I’ve ever seen in my life. I spent the first 24 hours in there.” The FBI then moved him to the D.C. Department of Corrections. Harboring doubts about the Covid test, Couy soon learned the pain of non-compliance. “As they were processing me, they wanted me to take a covid test and I told them that I wasn’t sick. I explained that I was an elected official and that I had my own opinion about the test and that I didn’t want to take one. They didn’t know what to do with me. I think I was the first one who ever refused to take a test, so, they threw me in a cell in 24 hour-a-day solitary confinement for nine days,” he recounts.
Under United States’ penal code, solitary confinement is as close to outright torture as you can get. Couy says, “It’s one thing to consider solitary confinement but it’s quite another thing to be in solitary confinement. It is the most mentally traumatic place a person can be. When you’re locked in a cell with no human interaction and you don’t know what your future is going to be, it’s a very, very, very difficult thing to endure.” He may have endured longer, but in complete isolation with no access to a phone, it was concern for his family that broke his defiance. “I had a standoff with them over the test, so, on day nine I finally took it and on day ten, I was able to call my lawyer. But they still held me for eleven more days. I was incarcerated for a total of three weeks.”
With his rights all but stripped away, Couy was given a Bible before being ordered to solitary confinement. If the government thought it could defeat his will through incarceration, the Bible was a tactical error. “I only thank God that they gave me a Bible, because I stayed immersed in the scriptures and prayer. And if the government thought they were going to weaken me by putting me in solitary confinement, they should have never given me that Bible, because the only thing it did while I was in there was make me spiritually stronger,” Couy claims. A true shepherd is always most concerned about his flock, and a nearby inmate stirred his compassion. “I was locked up in a cell next to Jacob Chansley, the guy dressed in the buffalo head that they dubbed the ‘QAnon Shaman.’ When I was in there, I was very concerned about him. He was very fragile.” Couy continues, “We’re all different in some way and he’s very different. I feel like he’s one of the biggest victims of January 6th because as we speak, he’s still in solitary confinement in Washington, D.C., and he did absolutely nothing violent on that day.”
The Death of Due Process
The events of January 6th have been intentionally misrepresented by countless politicians and most of the media. Couy lays out the facts: “There was not one firearm confiscated on that day. Three of the five people who passed away died of natural causes including Brian Sicknick, who the media falsely claimed was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. One was from a drug overdose, and the only one that died as a result of violent and willful intent was Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force veteran who was shot to death by a D.C. Capitol police officer.”
At the time of this writing, Couy has not received his due process. Since his arrest in January 2021, he’s been in legal limbo, with a tentative hearing scheduled for September 20. It appears, however, that the government’s case is so flimsy that many January 6th defendants are being pressed to strike plea deals. Couy explains: “The reason the government doesn’t want to go to trial is because if they do, we can petition them for exculpatory evidence which will include all the videos from that day, and the videos are going to change the narrative from an ‘armed insurrection’ to the biggest political setup in history.”
Couy today is a free man, and though his future is laden with uncertainty, he’s beaten an attempted recall campaign by his political adversaries, and is already making plans for new inroads. “Some folks were pushing me to run for governor of New Mexico, but I don’t want to invest all that time, money and effort to run for election just to have the election stolen from me. The elections in New Mexico are very fraudulent.” He goes on, “Who’s going to bet on a hand if you know the guy opposing you is a card cheat and has an ace stuck up his sleeve?” There is, however, one way to give the governor a run for her money without a direct head-to-head. Couy explains, “I might go back to the small county where I’m from and run for Sheriff. If the Governor thinks I’ve been a burr under her blanket as a county commissioner, just wait ‘til they put a badge on me.”
Politics and campaigns aside, Couy’s faith is what sustains him, and what makes his enemies fear him. Exemplifying the indominable spirit that defines the rural West, Couy will not be cowed by slander or brutality.
One scripture above all gives him hope that the America he loves will be restored. He quotes 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Couy continues, “I honestly do believe that the only hope that we have lies in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s why we must pray, every one of us individually and collectively as a nation. What we have to do is turn back to God and God will heal our nation.”