There is No Bottom

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.

29 thoughts on “There is No Bottom

  1. I have the same worries. Although I have hope we’ll survive hitting the bottom because history teaches that the politics of hate eventually implodes and eats its own. I just don’t know where that bottom is or what it will look like.

    Bullies bully because, in their core, they’re cowardly and afraid. I don’t have the time or energy to go into whether their fears are rational or even remotely justified (they almost never are) but I know this: words and actions borne of fear never end well. Some have discovered this after being arrested for their insurrectionist actions on Jan 6th. That’s a start.

    Bullies keep bullying when they perceive that it’s working and so long as if feeds their meager egos. For too long no one has pushed back; instead, hate groups have been encouraged by the past admin and their enablers, many of whom have been honing their obstructionist skills since the Obama administration (see, for example, Mitch McConnell, a master bully). So here we are. It’s a daunting task, but I hope our current admin going forward takes the scourge of hate groups/domestic terrorists seriously. So far they seem to be. If they don’t, or fail in their efforts, we’re doomed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comments about bullies are spot-on. I don’t want to point fingers, but this new way of ‘communicating’ seems to be a one party problem. It’s unfathomable to me how so many conservative people can stay silent about this behavior and appear to condone it. I’m simply flabbergasted by America right now.

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      • You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. Who was behind all the destruction during the summer? Who wants to spend our tax money on illegals? Who wants to send our tax money overseas? What party is so full of hate they have created lies to spend even more of our tax money on bs trials that lead to no convictions? Who?

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    • Your display of hate and racism shines bright. Why try to create a bigger divide? Why are you trying to suppress the voices of certain Americans? Your lack of awareness is highlighted in your ignorant statements.

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      • I take your comment on racism to heart. If I want to be a “writer” (which I hope I am), I should be able to make my case without making generalized statements about an ethnic group. This is a trap I’ll work to avoid in the future. Thank you for making that point.

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  2. The Republican Party seems to have become a Cult. There are a few who’ve resisted, like Cheney, and the Cult wanted to punish her.
    Did you see that Canada has labeled the “Proud Boys” a terrorist organization? We need to do the same.

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    • Your display of hate and racism shines bright. Why try to create a bigger divide? Why are you trying to suppress the voices of certain Americans? Your lack of awareness is highlighted in your ignorant statements.

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  3. It is very disturbing. The bullies have found a platform with a very solid base in a leader that could give two shits about them, or anything besides himself really. I was hopeful things would change but you have been right all along – things aren’t going to change until things get much worse first. It is crazy these are things we are seeing, these are the people that a lot of people are supporting, and these are the reasons. It is all so very upsetting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bullying is correct, and manipulating those who can’t or are reluctant to think into believing the “big lies”. I agree its terrifying and has been and I do hope enough people awaken from their trance for things to change in a healthy direction. Guns have never made sense to me as “safe”.

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    • The other day, some guy wrote a letter to the editor of my newspaper. He felt it was wrong to ban felons from owning weapons, because the felons need to protect themselves when the immigrants come. I can’t call this a trance. It’s willful and hateful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, Jeff. I think there are two (and probably more, but I try not to give too much of my energy/time/focus to this) subsets in here. The individuals such as your letter writer who are leading/stoking/manipulating the group, and the followers, who, for whatever reason, are attracted to the group and need to belong. The followers are easily manipulated, the leaders, masters of manipulation.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Last year, a (maskless) man walked around Lancaster Central Market with a gun. I think it was an assault rifle. the thing about it is – if you are unhinged enough to walk around a crowded market carrying a weapon. You might be unhinged enough to start shooting.

    I am absolutely with you on every point you make. Assault rifles in a public space are madness and the Facebook post you show is execrable.

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    • I remember about 18 months ago, after the walmart shooting, a guy walked into a walmart with one of those guns. He was arrested. Why, because there’s no reason to walk into walmart with a gun unless your planning to use it. Sometime soon, one of these situations where everyone shows up with a gun is going to turn into a massacre. It’s impossible that it doesn’t happen.

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  6. If rights aren’t exercised, they will die, just like a muscle. The 2nd amendment ensures the first.
    Groups like the boogaloo bois, helped keep people from causing destruction, escorted citizens in the area to their vehicles after work,
    And helped people that were victims of violence perpetrated by people who may or may not have been part of any protests, and from police who perpetrated violence on citizens. Guns are not the problem. The media ,like you is a large part of the problem. Stop fear mongering.

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    • You’re absolutely right. Guns aren’t the problem. The people who wield those guns with the intention of intimidating others are the problem. If you see nothing wrong with dozens of people standing on top of their vehicals in the town’s center square, guns up and ready to shoot while a group of people hold a rally to celebrate diversity, then you and I will never understand each other.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “What Greene did isn’t free speech, it’s a terroristic threat.” Yes, that image, its apparently unabashed public use by congress people including Greene herself, and what it could obviously incite, is certainly appalling. Dangerous idiocracy. When white women of America proudly image themselves looking like MIB fashion plates, pointing terminator guns in the general direction of their minority-group sisters, who are already under threat? WTF. Had not seen it till now. I mostly stay away from news and mainstream social media these days.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ah well, glad to be a friendly one. I hear you… those days cause me massive anxiety. Kudos for your bravery. One thing I keep telling my kids to remember, which I often forget to remind myself: when we stand up for something worthwhile (or even just ourselves), we’ll often get little feedback or more-than-usual negative feedback. I see this by observing others (and my own sometimes-cowardly/over-tired reaction, or lack of apparent reaction, to others’ bravery for a good cause). It can take a while for the results to take effect. Keep fighting the good fight Jeff… but first be sure to get any necessary rest. As I’m sure you know. :)) xoxo

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      • Yes, I do that when I just don’t think I can afford the time or energy to respond as in depth or meaningfully as I’d like to. I’ve also tried just not responding, but it feels so disconnected and it doesn’t usually end up working for me. Here is the page of full instructions on how to do that:
        https://wordpress.com/support/comments/
        You can either make it a default setting that you undo per post if you want to, or you can leave the default as comments enabled and then turn off comments per post. I think it’s ideal to allow people to express their responses, but I have issue with the fact that I (not the commenter) controls comments on WP (i.e. they can’t edit or delete themselves if they’d like to), for one thing… also I wish I were the type of blogger that could just allow comments and also comfortably allow myself not to respond to them if I didn’t feel I could do so without burning myself out… but so far I’m not. :)) #blogginggoals ;))

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think it’s rude not to respond. Some comments don’t start a conversation so I think those are fine to just like and move on. I recently followed a blogger who talks in her about page and even in a recent post how much she wants to engage with other bloggers. But when I comment she doesn’t respond. I think my problem is I think I’m actually looking for friendship in a place where others aren’t. Like trying to make a new friend in a bar.

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  8. Hi Jeff. Sorry I’ve been absent recently. 2021 seems to have gathered momentum very quickly!

    I’m reading this after your subsequent piece. It’s very good indeed, though I’m not willing to join the other site to say so there (well, not at this point). That’s because of exactly what you are talking about. There is NO argument in favour of firearms in public. None. The function of a gun is to shoot a piece of metal at high velocity. If you are carrying such a weapon in public, there are only two explanations: you are trying to scare people or you intend to harm them. That’s it!

    Anyway, I just want to support your voice (from Australia!) and also commend the writing itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t fret. I’ve had 100 stories posted on that site and I’ve gotten a total of 1 comment. “Shares” on social media is the metric to obsess over on that site. I’m ever so thankful I can’t see the page views. We’re still very much in isolation over here, plus it’s cold and snowy. I feel like I don’t have enough stuff to do these days.

      Liked by 1 person

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