ORCUTT, Calif. - Doug Dougherty says he didn't expect violence when he traveled to the U.S. Capitol last week, "We were not expecting that at all."
He may not have expected the backlash after returning to Orcutt either.
President Elizabeth Schneider of the Santa Maria Democratic Club has one of the more measured reactions, “Well, that’s his right to peacefully protest. But apparently that wasn’t the intent of the gathering. Apparently there was an intent to do harm, to do damage,” says Schneider.
Last week, Dougherty told us he tried to stop some of what happened, “We tried to keep people from going into the Capitol. It’s just wrong you know. It’s not what America is about. We are against that. We stand against that."
But some of his social media posts before the Washington trip led critics to believe his intentions were not as peaceful.
We checked in with professor Brady Teufel at Cal Poly who studies people’s behavior on social media.
"It’s also believed to be a safe haven for any types of speech, however vitriolic, and people seem to take it as a sanctuary in a manner that allows them to spout off in whatever manner they please," says Teufel.
Teufel believes the power of social media platforms is beyond most people’s control.
"I think the lesson to be learned here is your social media is part of your outward persona now. It’s searchable. It’s open, especially when you’re talking about Twitter. So don’t put things on there that you wouldn’t say to people in real life," says Teufel.
Dougherty took down his social media account after receiving dozens of threats and insults.
He shared those details with FBI agents who came to speak with him about what he saw while at the Capitol.
In a written statement he said, "There is a push to turn my prayers for the nation into a larger narrative they have nothing to do with. My prayers are between me and God. Offering further opinion on anything else would shift the focus again on me, giving those rightfully upset over the days events a target. My life has been threatened as has my job and safety of those I love."
Dougherty is CEO of the OASIS Senior Center in Orcutt.
He met with the Board of Directors on Thursday where his DC trip was addressed.
The board is waiting until next week before giving any updates.
"My hope is people will learn, recognize and start to move away from these extremes, and be a little bit more open-minded about the information that they are consuming," said Teufel.
"I hope we can come together and start healing this country. We can’t continue down this path or our democracy is really in jeopardy," said Schneider.