I think it’s entirely appropriate that on the same day thirty-one years ago that the Chinese government ordered its military to open fire on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, that Donald Trump should militarize the U.S. Government response to the demonstrations about George Floyd. After all, as Nick Kristof reminds us in yesterday’s op-ed, this is the same guy who believed that the soldiers shooting at unarmed protestors were demonstrating the government’s ‘strength.’
It’s gotten to the point that taking the asshole Trump seriously for anything he says is a fool’s errand at best. It’s not that he doesn’t know the difference between fiction and fact; it’s that he got away with saying anything he wanted to say in New York because he was just another piece of local news. Back before he ran for President, if he told a local reporter that he was willing to buy the Brooklyn Bridge, nobody would care. But if you’re the President and you say you want to buy Greenland, it’s international news.
I don’t think Trump has the faintest idea about what it would mean to order the U.S. Army to come out and try to quell the demonstrations that are still erupting in response to the murder of George Floyd. He says it because he wants everyone to believe that a ‘tough guy’ is really in charge. But there’s a second thing going on here as well.
Remember when a guy named Fred Guttenberg confronted Brett Kavanaugh during the latter’s confirmation hearing to challenge him about guns? Fred is the father of his beloved daughter Jaime, who was gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in 2018, and he has been appearing at various public events to talk and agitate about gun violence since that time. Back in February he got thrown out of the House chamber during Trump’s State of the Union address; frankly, everyone should have walked out.
Now Fred has decided that enough with theatrical protests, it’s time to get real. And with the help of both Brady and Everytown, he has filed a complaint against Smith & Wesson for falsely advertising their assault-style guns. The complaint alleges that S&W markets their AR-15 in a way that “attracts, encourages and facilitates” mass shooters and should include a statement in its marketing materials warning consumers about the extreme lethality of the gun.
It would be an important step forward for Gun-control Nation if the other side would get real and admit that maybe, just maybe, some of these so-called ‘sporting guns’ aren’t being sold for sporting purposes at all. There isn’t a single gun maker who produces an AR-style rifle whose advertising shows anything other than some camo-clad military ‘warrior’ sitting somewhere and just waiting to nail a terrorist coming over the hill. You think the guy pictured in the header to this story is waiting for Bambi to come out from a tree?
The cops started becoming more military-minded in terms of weapons when they formed SWAT teams in response to the urban riots that occurred in some inner-city ghettos beginning in 1965. The big gugga-mugga between the cops and civilians took place at the Los Angeles Black Panther Headquarters in 1969 when more than 200 cops, including a newly-formed SWAT team, exchanged thousands of rounds of both semi-auto and automatic fire, but nobody was killed. Leave it to Hollywood, because a rather stupid show called S.W.A.T ran for one season on television in 1975-76.
But let’s remember that we have a President who, to all intents and purposes, spends the greater part of his day watching TV shows, while the exceedingly dumb son-in-law pretends to be running the Executive Branch. And if you want to run a political campaign that will somehow gain you enough votes to win a 2nd term, you look around for some kind of narrative which becomes the symbol for whom you really are. Which is exactly why what Fred Guttenberg is saying about how the gun industry markets the AR-15 is completely and totally true.
Right on Fred, right on.