AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
A Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania man drew his firearm in self-defense after a stranger threatened to assault him and knocked his “Make America Great Again” hat off his head at a local mall. The incident sparked rumors of an active shooter at the mall, according to The Citizens Voice, but police say the man was within his rights to draw his gun.
Wilkes-Barre Twp. police were quick to post on social media that there was no active shooter and the Trump supporter, who holds a concealed carry permit, appeared justified in pulling his gun in self defense.
Chief Will Clark on Tuesday indicated the Trump supporter was the victim and police are still looking for the person who attempted to assault him.
“The individual was wearing a hat in support of Donald Trump,” Clark said. “Apparently, the man told him to take the hat off. He refused. The individual threatened to assault him. The actor then took a swipe at the hat to knock it off his head. At that point, the victim backed up and drew his weapon and pointed it at the ground. The guy took off.”
Clark did say the mall has a “no-guns” policy, and that if mall officials knew he had a gun but refused to leave, he could have faced trespassing charges. As it stands, the armed citizen isn’t facing any charges, but police are still looking for his attacker.
The police chief says both men appear to be strangers to one another, and that this looks like a politically-motivated attack.
I’m glad that no one was seriously hurt in this incident, and that the concealed carry holder acted lawfully. Still, this never should have happened to begin with.
How many times have you been in a public place and have seen someone wearing something that bothers you? What do you typically do? Probably you roll your eyes, or if you’re with someone, you make a snarky comment about. What we don’t generally do is decide to pick a fight with someone because they don’t support our political ideology. I’ve never yelled at a person with a Bernie bumper sticker, for instance.
Unfortunately, there are some weirdos out there who believe that being exposed to ideas they disagree with is cause for them to get aggressive and even violent. It’s not something that’s exclusive to one political ideology or another, though it does seem like we see these stories of Trump supporters being attacked far more than we see stories of people being threatened for wearing Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden campaign swag.
Be vigilant out there, and be responsible as well. And if, for some reason, you’re one of those loons who would slap the hat off of someone’s head because you don’t agree with the writing on the ball cap, here’s some advice. Take a deep breath, slowly count to five, and then go get a life. We live in a country with freedom of speech and the right of self-defense, and committing an act of violence against someone for their political views isn’t likely end up like you think it will.