Op-Ed

NC Gun Store Owner Targets 'The Squad' in Billboard Ad

No matter how many ways Republicans and Trump supporters attempt to explain it away, Donald Trump’s racist, divisive rhetoric toward Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, the media--and just about anyone who criticizes him--is partly to blame for the uptick in mass shootings in America.

Several of the most recent perpetrators of mass killings have been avowed Trump supporters who have left manifestos quoting the president’s violent rhetoric. 

Through his policies, lack of stability, and, of course, language, Donald Trump is an explicit threat to public safety, and people are getting killed.

Every day he remains a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he puts more of us at risk.

He did so a few weeks ago when he tweeted he hoped Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Amid the fallout from this, Cherokee gun shop in North Carolina decided to advertise on a billboard the four representatives’ portraits with the caption The 4 Horsemen are Idiots, signed the Deplorables.” 

Cherokee Guns’ owner, Doc Wacholz, denies the message is provocative, stating:

“I’m not inciting any violence or being racist. It’s a statement. It’s an opinion.”

He then wasted no time exposing his true colors when he added:

“They’re socialists, from my point of view. I also feel a couple of them, being Muslim, have ties to actual terrorist groups.”

Cherokee Guns has a history of derogatory billboard ads.

In 2017,it advertised “INFIDEL ARMAMENT” in block letters above Arabic script and a rifle. In 2015, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported on a billboard reading “Give me your tired, your poor…Keep your Syrian refugees.” 

If this isn’t inciteful, what is?

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence stated“This is dangerous!!!”

About it, Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted, “How the hell is this not inciting violence?”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted

“#Racist rhetoric from the occupant of the @WhiteHouse has made hate our new normal. We are still vulnerable.”

Yet Wacholz has decided to ramp-up his assault, planning to produce clothing with the billboard’s image.

And, like so many myriad white supremacists and racists, he invoked Trump in a Facebook clarion call:

“Alright my fellow Infidels for Trump…due to OVERWHELMING demand…you may come by the shop (next week) and get your very own FOUR HORSEMEN COMETH STICKER…simple… eat a piece of bacon…tell us you’re voting for Trump in 2020 … then get your limited edition bumper sticker! (While supplies last!) Snowflakes and Liberals are not eligible…sorry...”

We must get this mentally ill president out of office.

But that is not all. Getting rid of Trump is not going to magically make the wound he has ripped open heal overnight. That requires a collective cultural and economic realignment. 

It won’t be easy or quick, but what choice do we have if we are to have any hope of returning to sanity?

Image credit: theoldschoolpatriot.com

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, Straight Forward Poetry, The Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal America, and Liberal Nation Rising.

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