Since the terrifying events of last Wednesday, in which a whipped-up crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, trying (and, luckily, failing) to overturn the 2020 election, people have been looking for humor — anything to bring some levity to what could have gone even worse. There’s been the “Chewbacca bikini” guy, and the claim that he wishes his prison food was organic. There’s been the Goodfellas-inspired supercut of perpetrators being rounded up by the feds. And there was this: one of the five people who died was a Trumpist who tased himself in the balls. Alas, that last one is, as the outgoing president would put it, fake news.
Snopes, the internet’s beloved team of tireless investigators, went to work on the claim, which had spread around social media late last week. It involved one Kevin Greeson, a 55-year-old Alabama man who died of a fatal heart attack during the skirmish. Soon some, notably comedian Kyle Hess, were spreading word about what really happened: “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”
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
— karl hess (@karlhess) January 7, 2021
But that, Snopes reports, is just a fantasy. They spoke to Kristi Greeson, Kevin’s widow, who said there was no stealing of paintings and no fatal tasering. In fact, it had more to do with the fact the had high blood pressure and had put himself in a highly stressful situation:
Greeson said that her husband attended the Capitol riot but never entered the building. Kevin had told his wife that he was in a safe area, but then he described seeing people pushing a barrier at a nearby location.
“He just stopped talking, and I could hear all the people. That’s when he had the heart attack,” Greeson told Snopes over the phone. “He died instantly.”
Greeson’s account of her late husband’s whereabouts on that day are corroborated by a report in The New York Times. Greeson told the paper that she “didn’t want him to go. I didn’t feel like it was safe.”