The last thing Rhode Island needs is more gun control. After all, it’s already gun-controlled to a degree that Illinois looks at them and says, “Isn’t that a tad harsh?”
Yet gun control advocates in the state are going to push for more gun control. It is the way of their people, after all.
Much as we may dislike it, though, there are some lines we should agree shouldn’t be crossed. That includes reported death threats.
Constrained by COVID from packing the State House in person, as they have in the past, with hundreds of gun-owners in matching yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirts, gun-rights advocates are firing off emails and online posts.
Many are the electronic equivalent of form letters urging defeat of the bills up for hearing on Friday.
The NRA set the stage with this mid-February post: “In Providence, anti-gun politicians have begun stacking the hopper with bills designed to strip Rhode Islanders of their constitutional rights.”
Many of the emails reflect that view.
But many others that state Rep. Justine Caldwell has received, as the lead sponsor of bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and co-sponsor of a bill to ban guns from school grounds, have crossed the line from advocacy to threat.
For example, one online post threatened to come to the lawmaker’s East Greenwich home and “show me what an assault weapon can really do.”
OK, I’m pretty sure Caldwell and I would disagree on whether the sky was blue or not, but telling her anything like that is out of line.
I’m going to operate under the assumption that these emails are legitimate and not hoaxes or false flags because, well, I’ve seen some of our side get pretty stupid with their mouth when they’re good and worked up.
That said, this doesn’t represent the majority of gun owners, either in Rhode Island or elsewhere.
Meanwhile, all this does is motivate Caldwell to push harder. So, whoever sent that? Good job, jackwagon. You’ve now taken a motivated lawmaker and given her reasons to become even more motivated.
The thing about death threats is that they never really work. Absolutely no one sees an email like that and thinks, “Oh, holy crap. These people have opened my eyes. I’ll now change everything about my politics because of these well-reasoned and argued emails threatening me and my family.”
So knock it the hell off. You’re not helping anyone.
Now, it’s also possible that these don’t represent a threat to Caldwell because it’s someone trying to make gun owners look deranged. There may be some anti-gunner sitting there right now, snickering about how he or she has managed to get everyone so worked up and made our side look bad. That’s a very real possibility, to be sure.
But it would be irresponsible of me not to condemn these kinds of antics. It does no one any good to just assume they’re false flags.
If it’s you, stop it. You’re committing a crime, being a jackass, and making us all look bad.