Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.
Since the start of the pandemic, white men (and women) in the United States have “exercised their second amendment rights.” Meaning they show up in normal public places armed to the teeth. For a while they showed up at state houses where Democratic governors worked. Then they showed up at Black Lives Matter rallies. On the Fourth of July, they showed up in my town just to stand around and look menacing. And that’s really what it comes down to, right? Trying to look menacing.
The tacit message sent by white men (and women) carrying assault rifles in public is don’t mess with me, I’ll take your life. Right now, someone is thinking (and will probably comment) “no, that’s not it, we’re just celebrating the constitution.” That’s utter BS. The only reason someone shows up at a Black Lives Matter rally in my town with an assault rifle is to intimidate the liberal college professors, nonprofit professionals and senior citizens who gather downtown to hold signs and chant slogans.
I saw something appalling in the news today. Steny Hoyer, a congressman, a Democrat from Maryland, walked around the House of Representatives floor with a poster board displaying a photo that Marjorie Taylor Greene posted on Facebook (see above). The post shows three members of the Squad—Democratic U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar—plus Greene in the frame. Greene holds an AR-15. The caption reads the Squad’s Worst Nightmare.
This photo has only one reasonable interpretation. Greene’s message, I just might kill you. This was posted on Facebook before Greene became a congresswoman, so she didn’t know these women. I assume she posted it because she doesn’t like their politics. Why isn’t this illegal?
If you opened Facebook one morning, petting your cat, sipping your coffee, and you saw a post of yourself and someone you don’t know holding a weapon, the caption reading your worst nightmare, the next thing you’d do is call the cops.
Right now, the guy who commented earlier about the constitution is adding on a paragraph about free speech. We all grew up hearing the hackneyed statement: You have the right to free speech, but it’s not legal to shout fire in a crowded theater. What Greene did isn’t free speech, it’s a terroristic threat.
I’m not sure how this happened in America, this pervasive intimidation and threat. Where is the uproar? Why aren’t people rebelling—not the Democrats, but the Republicans? Why have our Republican elected officials accepted this and refuse to punish Greene?
As a nation, we’ve been shocking the world for five years. My blogging friends in Australia and New Zealand and England keep thinking we’ve hit bottom. And every few weeks we prove them wrong. I’m starting to think there’s no bottom, just a never-ending chasm. The United States is in freefall.