Around noon today, the Secret Service arrested a man they believe fired at the White House with a shotgun last Friday. A round was found in a White House window.
Less than two hours after today's arrest, Lauren Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at the University of Texas, embarrassed herself and her university with one tweet:
“Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012.”
Pierce told ABC News that the comment was a “joke” and that the “whole [shooting incident]was stupid.” Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would “only make the situation worse.”
Joking about assassinating the president is not funny – it's extremely dangerous. But there was no joke implied by Pierce.
We live in a culture of right-wing violence. They have overwhelmed the Secret Service with an unprecedented number of death threats against the president. The number of right-wing militia groups has skyrocketed by 250 percent since President Obama took office.
“Insofar as she's a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn't be said, but she's made a positive statement in a way, ” said Cassie Wright, the group's vice president.
“I don't really see anything wrong with it,” Wright added. “It's just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?”
Wright, you're wrong, but you're not the only one.
The right-wing message is “you're with us or you deserve to die.” This is obvious in the rhetoric of any Republican or right-wing commentator: those that oppose their agenda are threats to the sovereignty of the United States.
For a notable segment of the right-wing population, this makes threats against the president justified and giggle-inducing.
Pierce implied that President Obama's life is only worth sparing because it would hurt the Republican cause if he were assassinated.
We all know, on a deeply human level, what's so wrong there.