The reaction from conservatives to the shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week has been nothing short of disturbing. 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, hoping to act out some kind of militia power fantasy amidst the ongoing protests against police brutality, drove illegally across state lines with his AR-15 rifle. Ultimately, he was caught on video shooting two people dead. If Rittenhouse had simply stayed home, if he hadn’t been so hellbent on showing off his gun and engaging in Blue Lives Matter fetishization, two people would still be alive.
Republicans, rather than recognizing these deaths for the needless tragedies they are, are working around the clock to justify the shootings. They’re claiming Rittenhouse killed the men in self-defense, completely ignoring the fact that it was illegal for him to be there with his rifle in the first place. Trump himself has defended the boy and his White House continues to do the same.
Far worse than those responding with a kneejerk defense of Rittenhouse are those glorifying his actions. There is a nonzero portion of the GOP who think it’s actively good that two protestors are dead. These are the same people who openly fantasize about having a chance to use their guns on liberal protestors during some kind of second Civil War. There is a bloodlust simmering in the Republican Party that should concern every sane American.
To see how deeply embedded this problem is, one need only look at the recent remarks made by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) on Facebook. On Tuesday, he made a post about shooting protestors and included a photograph of armed Black men, presumably his imagined targets. Facebook told HuffPost that they eventually deleted the post for violating the website’s rules against “violence and incitement.”
“One way ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order,” wrote Higgins. “Me?… I wouldn’t even spill my beer. I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand. Because some of We, like me… We are SWAT. Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat,” he wrote, going on to claim that he doesn’t care what color the protestors are or if they’re right or left-wing. “If you show up like this, if We recognize threat … you won’t walk away,” he added.
“This is where your journey will end. Fast. How Fast? 1,450 FPS fast,” he concluded. FPS stands for “feet per second” and is used to describe bullet velocity.
The post is a perfect example of the deranged tough-guy rhetoric that has become so popular amongst predominately white male conservatives. The idea of inflicting physical harm on those who disagree with them politically seems to turn them on on some primal level, a clear as an indication as any that these people are psychologically unwell.
Here’s Clay Higgins threatening to shoot on sight a Black militia rumored to be coming to LFT. And here’s the militia that showed up. Higgins appears to have deleted the post. pic.twitter.com/yfzg7iZJh4
— Christiaan Mader (@xnmader) September 2, 2020
This is not the first time Higgins, a former cop, has stirred outrage. In 2017 he posted a video of himself at Auschwitz ranting about how important it is that the United States military be “invincible” to protect it from the “evils of the world.” The use of a concentration camp as a prop to make a political point prompted widespread backlash and Higgins eventually apologized but between that incident and this latest one, it’s abundantly clear that this man belongs nowhere near the halls of Congress. Hopefully, his constituents start to realize that.
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