The Ford truck was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn when the round United States Marine Corp (USMC) sticker on the rear window of the truck caught my attention.
I was preoccupied with the health concerns of a good friend I had visited, and was driving home when my consciousness was jarred by the words on the red, white and black bumper sticker stuck to the tailgate of the truck, “Pistol Whip a Liberal It's your civic duty.”
The events of last week caused me to reflect on the words printed on the bumper sticker, and more importantly on my reaction to the sticker at the time. I was shocked! In this political climate the bumper sticker is the functional equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. In my opinion the words on the bumper sticker fails to meet the basic standards of protected political speech. I showed the photo of the sticker to a conservative friend who awkwardly made light of it but noted that it's not his sentiment.
This brings me to this point or question: If I were on the streets of Plantation, FL and saw the MAGA bomber's van, what would I have done? What would you have done? Now-a-days we say “If you see something, say something”. I said nothing when I saw the incitation to violence. No, instead I dismissed the inflammatory bumper sticker as “free speech” and set aside my emotional reaction as an overreaction.
It's now commonplace for TV pundits to say “... but this is not who we are”. Well maybe this is exactly who many of us are. In a 72 hour period last week we witnessed or participated in two notable hate crimes and a Trump inspired domestic terrorism incident:
Monday, October 22, 2018 - “The manhunt began Monday afternoon, when a pipe bomb was found inside a package delivered to billionaire activist George Soros, and ended ... with Sayoc’s arrest outside an auto supply store in Plantation, Fla. Sayoc, who lives in nearby Aventura, was arrested near his vehicle: a white van festooned with political declarations echoing Trump rhetoric.”
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 “A gunman ... killed two [black] people at a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Ky., ... [he] tried to enter a predominantly black church minutes before the attack, the police said on Thursday.”
Saturday, October 27, 2018 - “A man armed with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle stormed the Tree of Life synagogue ... and shot worshipers during Shabbat services, killing 11 and wounding six in the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of the United States.”
“If you see something, say something” On September 9, 2018 at 9:10am I said nothing but was sufficiently horrified to take the photo above. Words matter! After all, we drop 5K pound bombs on "single individuals" because their words "inspire" others to act. Words matter!