Saturday, May 27, 2017

Newsweek -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott Makes Joke About Shooting Reporters

"Today, after signing a bill that lowers the fee licensing a handgun in the state, Texas Governor Greg Abbott went to a gun range to show off his prowess with firearms. Then, as he displayed his target sheet and handgun, he joked in plain view of several reporters and photographers, 'I'm gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters.'

"Not funny. Two days ago, Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte beat up “Guardian” reporter Ben Jacobs at a public event in Bozeman, Montana. Gianforte was elected yesterday.
Under Trump, hatred of the mainstream press has become dogma among some sectors of the Republican Party and the public.

"Let me emphasize once more that violence and intimidation directed at America’s free and independent press is a threat to our democracy. Even if it’s supposed to be a joke.

“ 'Reporters Without Borders,' an organization that grades countries on the protections they afford to freedom of the press, now ranks the United States 43rd in the world, just below the small African nation of Burkina Faso," -- Robert Reich

Trump’s hateful rhetoric and behavior resulted in violent incidents of hate targeted at Muslims, Latinos and African Americans. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump cracked a joke about assassinating Hillary Clinton. This too could have ended up very badly as did Sarah Palin’s political action committee’s infamous 'crosshairs' map targeting legislators who voted for Obama's health care bill.

Sarah Palin put crosshairs on a graphic over the district of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

On January 8, 2011, Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green.

Leadership requires the best behavior and best examples at all times. There is a high probability that words and actions, even jokes,  by those in power will result in significantly serious consequences because some people will take them very seriously.

Gov. Abbott admires his practice target 
after signing Senate Bill 16, which reduces
the first-time fee for a license to carry handguns, 
on May 26, 2017. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune
Texas Governor Greg Abbott Makes Joke About Shooting Reporters

By Alexander Nazaryan