Monday, November 9, 2020

In a Small Town in Arkansas

 NBC News:

An Arkansas police chief has resigned after he posted messages on a right-wing social media site that appeared to urge people to assault "Marxist" Democrats over the presidential election, the mayor said.

Kevin Elliot, the mayor of Marshall, a city of roughly 1,200 people about 100 miles north of Little Rock, said in a statement Saturday that he "condemned" the comments by Police Chief Lang Holland.

"The Marshall community does not in any way support or condone bullying or threats of violence to anyone of any political persuasion," he said. "We are a welcoming community that is humbly working to build a bright future for ALL our citizens."

Elliot said that after he consulted with lawyers about Holland's posts, which appeared on the site Parler, he met with Holland, who resigned effective immediately.

The posts were no longer visible Sunday, but NBC affiliate KARK of Little Rock published screenshots of some of them.

"When this over and Trump is president for 4 more years," one said, "do not forget what these Marxist bastards have tried to do. When you see one in public get in their face do not give them any peace. Throw water on them at restaurants. Push them off sidewalks. Never let them forget they are traitors and have no right to live in this Republic after what they have done." . . .

Other screenshots posted by the group appeared to show Holland calling the FBI and the CIA "Marxist" organizations working to overthrow the United States.

"Hang all these Marxist Democrats now," the message said.
Both the 2016 and 2020 elections have just been disasters for America, in the sense that they raised emotions to this fever pitch. Let's hope that four years of Biden lowers the temperature, and that the next election features two boring candidates nobody much cares about.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"Let's hope that four years of Biden lowers the temperature, and that the next election features two boring candidates nobody much cares about."

The problem isn't the politicians in the race - the problem is the people voting, and the forces that work to manipulate said people.

Trump didn't somehow cause police chief Lang Holland to openly advocate murdering his political opponents. Holland did that himself.

Sane, reasonable people don't advocate for hanging dissenters. Holland clearly is disturbed - either he is deeply delusional, and genuinely believes the absurd claims he uses to justify his call for violence; or he is wholly disingenuous and knowingly using false justifications an excuse for violence he already wanted to see enacted.

It can, of course, be argueed that Trump's own actions and words had some measure of influence on shaping Holland's thoughts and behaviors - or if not Trump, then at least the right-wing media and their concerted campaigns of disinformation.

But we also have to hold Holland himself accountable for his own misdeeds. It's not as if he is an innocent child who was led astray by nefarious forces. He's a grown man who has lived his entire life in this country, a police chief who should understand far better than most how the rule of law works and how intolerable death threats and incitements to violence are.

He is guilty of either not knowing or not caring that the reasons he offers for people to break the law and murder people over their political views, and both possibilities are inexcusable. We can't blame that wholly on Trump, or even on the right wing media. They may be partially culpable, but Holland himself is to blame.