With days upon days of rioting throughout the United States, people are getting sick of it. Especially since looters are committing physical acts of violence in pretty much every place they go. It’s been difficult to keep up with what all has been going on, but the overview is simple. Rioters are looting private businesses and destroying people’s homes.
It’s just that simple.
But in Santa Rosa, Florida, one commission candidate has a stern warning for potential looters in his community.
One week after the death of George Floyd sparked protests around the country, a candidate for the Santa Rosa County Commission released a video saying looters aren’t welcome in the county and delivered the message: “if you loot, we’ll shoot.”
James Calkins, who is running for the District 3 commission seat, posted the 25-second video to his campaign Facebook account on Monday afternoon. In it, he wears a “Make America Great Again” hat while holding a shotgun as he addresses “thugs” and “antifa” and denounces riots and looting on behalf of Santa Rosa County.
“This message goes to the looters, to the thugs, to antifa, y’all aren’t welcome in Santa Rosa County. We believe in our Second Amendment right and we believe that if you loot, we’ll shoot,” Calkins says in the video before he cocks the shotgun.
On Tuesday, he explained his motivation behind the video, which had been shared more than 275 times in less than 24 hours.
“One thing I believe in is property rights and protecting property rights. That is one of the foundations of our country,” said Calkins, a Republican, in a phone interview. “I believe in property rights and our Second Amendment rights. We fought real hard to make Santa Rosa County a Second Amendment sanctuary.”Referring specifically to the “If you loot, we’ll shoot” phrase, Calkins said he doesn’t support Santa Rosa County gun owners shooting people unless a “stand your ground” situation arises.
“I don’t support shooting somebody else and taking the law into your own hands,” Calkins said. “Basically, if somebody is proactively threatening or trying to harm somebody, that’s what our Second Amendment is for, for defending our lives and our property, basically.”
Calkins is getting some flak for his comment, unsurprisingly. One commission argued that leaders should be trying to bring people together at a time like this, not issuing threats.
However, one thing has been very clear in all this mess and that’s how the rioters don’t want to be brought together with the rest of us. They’re much more content to burn, loot, and destroy. In a case like that, fine words aren’t likely to sway much of anyone.
Instead, warnings that violence will be met with violence are more likely to have a much greater impact. It’s no coincidence that as word circulates that people are buying guns, the violence begins to subside. Calkins said what needed to be said, even if it’s not popular.
Sure, eloquent words might sound good. They might even make you popular with certain crowds, but if George Floyd’s brother begging people to stop rioting over his brother’s death didn’t stop the rioting, just what is some politician going to say to make people stop?
Well, warning them they’ll get a face of buckshot if they try and get froggy might just be the only thing that would make that happen.