The Currency Of Death Threats In Gun Control Crowd

By now, you’ve probably heard of Dr. Joseph Sakran. He’s the trauma surgeon who posted a photo on Twitter of a supposed death threat. The image, in a now-deleted tweet, was a cartoonish hand holding a cartoonish gun and the caption reading, “The End Is Near…”


Sakran swarmed to Twitter, though, and posted the photo.

He then spoke with the Baltimore Sun about what happened.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, he said he believed the paper was placed on his car, parked near his parents’ home in Northern Virginia, sometime on or before Jan. 20 — which was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the same day as a gun rights rally in Richmond, the state’s capital.

Virginia Capitol Police tasked with staffing officers for the rally said they were not aware of any threats against gun control activists. Sakran declined to say what agency — if any — is investigating the incident.

Sakran, 42, said he recalls grabbing what he thought was a flier off his windshield on the morning of Jan. 21 as he made his way into work at the U.S. Capitol, where he is serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy fellow. Sakran took a sabbatical from his position as director of emergency general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital to take the fellowship.

He said he took no notice of what was on the paper that morning, distracted by thoughts about his new job. But days later, as he was cleaning out his car, he took a closer look and realized what it was with a jolt, he said.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” he said. “A lot of emotions went through me, to be honest with you, having been a survivor — and also for my family.”


The problem, of course, is that his tweet featured the flier on the windshield of his car, a house door clearly visible in the reflection. It was taken inside of a house garage, not outside his parents’ home. Not unless he’s alleging someone went there–an illogical place to look for someone, really–and then snuck into their garage to put a piece of 1998-era clip art on his windshield.

Sakran says he removed the tweet after being advised to do so by the police. The problem, folks who’ve checked with law enforcement say that no report has been made.

The good folks at The Truth About Guns have plenty of screenshots for your amusement, of course.

So, he likely made the sign himself–it’s not rocket science-level photoshopping here–and then placed it on his own car, then called attention to it.

Note, for example, that he claims it was placed there around the day of the Lobby Day protest when 22,000 gun rights supporters were in town, but he didn’t even look at a strange piece of paper on his windshield? Advertising fliers are often left on car windshields, sure, but not in residential areas. They hit retail spaces for that kind of thing and so most anyone would at least look at what was left.

But not the good doctor. He ignores it until days later? I’m not buying it.

Of course, this raises the question of just why would a respected physician feel the need to manufacture such a thing. Why risk so much on such a ridiculous effort?


The answer is simple. You see, for the politically active, death threats are almost currency. The more you get, the more important you not only feel but the more important your fellow travelers feel you are. The other side doesn’t go after nobodies, now do they?

The problem is, Sakran just isn’t important enough for anyone to care about him. So, he has to raise his profile. He manufactures a death threat so he can claim to be a victim. He can raise his profile, become a champion for the cause. He can then portray the image of a brave activist fighting the forces of evil or whatever because he refused to buckle under the threats from gun rights proponents.

I’ve told people not to send death threats to folks before, and I’ll reiterate it yet again here. However, there’s no counter to the false threats except to call it out when we see it.

Just like with Dr. Sakran.


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