With a so-called “#ClenchedFistofTruth,” the NRA’s rhetoric is turning increasingly violent, parroting President Donald Trump’s “enemy of the people” narrative, frequently attacking the media, and attacking people of color in particular. Sadly, this rhetoric, aimed at driving fear and inciting violence, is made that much more dangerous as a result of our country’s laws that make firearms all too easy to access.
Yesterday, news broke that the FBI arrested a California man for allegedly threatening to shoot journalists at the Boston Globe, calling them the “enemy of the people.” According to reports, the FBI seized 20 guns, both long guns and handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition during a court-authorized search. In one of a dozen threatening phone calls to the newsroom, per the FBI’s criminal complaint, he said:
“YOU’RE THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE and we’re going to kill every f—ing one of you. Hey, why don’t you call the F, why don’t you call Mueller, maybe he can help you out buddy. Still there fa—t? Alright, why, you going to trace my call? What are you going to do motherf—–? You ain’t going to do s—. I’m going to shoot you in the f—ing head later today, at 4 o’clock. Goodbye.”
These alarming comments come just two months after an Annapolis, Maryland man shot and killed five employees of The Capital newspaper. Prior to the June 28 shooting, the gunman had allegedly sent threatening letters and messages about attacking the office and its staff.
In January, a Michigan man was arrested after he called CNN several times, threatening to kill employees at the network’s Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, according to a federal affidavit. And just a few weeks ago, someone called the New York Times, saying “You’re the problem. You are the enemy of the people. And although the pen might be mightier than the sword, the pen is not mightier than the AK-47.”
Despite the fact that hate crimes are on the rise and nearly 100 Americans are shot and killed in this country and hundreds more are shot and wounded every single day, the NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, has characterized the national media as “one of America’s greatest threats.” NRATV’s Grant Stinchfield has said that journalists “are enemies of the people because they’re trying to tear this nation up.”
The real enemy of the people isn’t the media– it’s our nation’s weak gun laws that make it easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other people with dangerous histories to get their hands on guns. The shooting at The Capital in Annapolis proved that when hateful people take advantage of weak guns laws, the consequences can be deadly.