On April 30th of this year, what some would call protesters and some would call domestic terrorists temporarily took over the capitol in an armed demonstration that made national headlines. The right wing groups and individuals attending the rally had the support of President Trump who encouraged them to “liberate Michigan” and suggested the Governor “make a deal” with the armed invaders.
This Thursday, they plan to do it again, only “bigger and badder.” On Facebook, some users who are part of both private and public groups, have made not so veiled threats against Governor Whitmer, if she does not cave to their demands. Like Matthew Woodruff demonstrates below:
These other users seem to agree, with two advocating Whitmer to be lynched and hung.
After one user gets personal and suggests that it’s all a conspiracy to make Trump look bad, user Dink Winkerman reminds us of why they come armed when he declares that they should storm the capitol/ He also submits that if they don’t “these politicians will continue to destroy everything they touch.” This angry commenter finished by saying that “physically” stopping them was the only way to stop their “evil” — escalating things to a Biblical level of hatred.
MetroTimes.com reports even more blatant messages in private groups on Facebook.
“We need a good old fashioned lynch mob to storm the Capitol, drag her tyrannical ass out onto the street and string her up as our forefathers would have,” John Campbell Sr. wrote in a group called “People of Michigan vs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” which had nearly 9,000 members as of Monday morning.
Steve Doxsie had the same idea: “Drag that tyrant governor out to the front lawn. Fit her for a noose.”
“Either President Trump sends in the troops or there is going to be a midnight lynching in Lansing soon,” Michael Smith chimed in.
Others suggested she be shot, beaten, or beheaded.
“Plain and simple she needs to eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the democrats that they are next,” James Greena, of Fennville, wrote.
Chris Rozman said, “She needs her ass beat. Most of these politicians need a good ass whooping. Just. Punch there lights out.”
When someone suggested the guillotine, Thomas Michael Lamphere responded, “Good ol’ fashioned bullets work better, but I like the enthusiasm.”
While this all is going on, a Republican-controlled commission that has the power to regulate whether or not firearms can be allowed in the building (they currently are allowed under Michigan law) decided to delay the ruling until they can have a “fact-finding panel” study the matter more and reach out and talk to legislators and some police. NBC News reports:
The Michigan Capitol Commission voted on Monday to create a special panel to study whether it has the power to ban firearms in the state Capitol, postponing any decision and leading Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to say she was “very disappointed.”
The commission tasked a group, made up of some of the commission’s six members, with obtaining independent legal analysis and getting input from both legislators and the governor. Gary Randall, the commission’s chairman and clerk of the Michigan House, pledged that the committee would move expeditiously.
At her Monday press conference, Whitmer said she was “very disappointed that the Capitol commission did not take action today to keep legislators safe.”
Of course, Whitmer would have a personal interest in not getting assassinated or lynched, but the Republican vice-chairman of the commission argued that Whitmer’s and other folks who don’t want to die have motivations which might just be “political.” John Truscott suggested that the commission should rely solely on legal analysis “rather than relying on people with political motivations.”
So now wanting to live is a “political motivation.”
Who knows what will happen at Thursday’s rally. If there is death or even violence, those who opposed this ban might be looked at as having blood on their hands. If the Governor is assassinated or harmed, Facebook might also have some blood on their hands as some critics, including the Governor, have made note of their leniency with some of the groups promoting this violent rhetoric.
Whitmer responded with a letter to Facebook.
“As a lawyer who respects the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression, I realize there is only so much purview media platforms have for the content posted by their users,” Whitmer wrote. “However, better enforcement of Facebook’s own community standards — where ‘attacks’ are defined as, ‘violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation’ — this election cycle is needed now more than ever. Mine is not a singular ask.”
MetroTimes explains what many of these groups are about:
The private Facebook groups are a hub for far-fetched conspiracy theories and disinformation, reinforcing people’s fears and anger. For some, the state’s stay-at-home order is an unconstitutional plot by liberals to strip residents of their freedoms and steal the election from President Trump. Some insist the coronavirus is a hoax, and others believe it’s a manmade disease designed to enrich billionaires and force vaccines on the masses.