Imagine if a gun shop started selling an accessory for an AR-15 rifle that offered to change the names of the three settings on the firing mechanism from (safety)-(single shot)-(full-auto) to F@CK-DONALD-TRUMP.
Quite a few people would hit the ceiling. Somewhere, there would be blood in the street. Most likely, the store would face a riot reminiscent of what happened Jan. 6 when right-wing, authoritarian zealots stormed the U.S. Capitol in a fury of treasonous gall now seen as the most serious threat to our democracy in generations.
So now let’s turn to a surprising story this week in The State newspaper. Seems like the Einsteins at gun shops operated by Palmetto State Armory are offering a gun accessory for AR-15s with three settings that slam President Joe Biden, not Trump, just like in the imaginary example above.
Protests? Riots? Nope. Reactions are giggles or intellectual disappointment or cries that a business has far overstepped the bounds of decency. But no violence.
In other words, many South Carolinians just shake their heads and think, “Well, that’s the way it is here.”
Unacceptable. It shouldn’t be this way. We shouldn’t blithely accept such obscene criticism of Biden, much less any president or elected leader. All Americans must take this kind of seditious nonsense more seriously. So shame on Palmetto State Armory for this latest incendiary entry into the marketplace. It’s vile, wrong and highly inappropriate. It further fans the flames splitting our country. It’s harming our system of governance and, if you want to get right down to it, it supports our enemies. If you want to let the Russians and Chinese control the world, just keep it up.
That’s why we suggest all South Carolinians — gun owners and those who don’t own guns — should boycott the business, which is preying on people’s political opinions to do what it really wants to do — sell more guns and make more millions a year by arming South Carolina. Don’t Palmetto State Armory’s customers realize they’re being used by the company’s clever marketers? Are they so blind as not to realize they’re being manipulated?
We support responsible gun ownership. But anyone who crawls out from under a rock just to sell something that says F@CK! JOE! BIDEN! is the lowest of the low. It’s not funny. It’s not something children should be subjected to. It’s certainly not something that would make a grandmama proud.
It’s virtually impossible to talk with any of the leaders at Palmetto State Armory. We reached out to someone who reportedly is a co-owner. Got crickets. We tried to send a message through its lobbying firm, Nelson Mullins, which has received $100,000 in the last year to represent the company on federal gun issues. Again, nothing.
So here’s what the company and those like it should know: If you continue to push anti-American memes and messages like the filth on the gun accessory, you are seeding a downward spiral that debases the principles of freedom offered in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. By defiling the public debate with vile language and products, you promote dangerous insurrection.
Our elected officials must cry out against this politically divisive behavior. Unfortunately, some of them are more interested in dividing America than helping Americans. Just look at how U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina has been wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” mask. The phrase is a politically abusive meme among right-wingers that is nothing more than more coded ridicule of Biden. (The gun accessory is stamped with this code: “Letsgo-15 multi Brandon 00000”.)
Stop fomenting division. Start making America work by pulling out the partisan earplugs, listening and compromising. That’s the real American way.
Andy Brack is publisher of the Charleston City Paper. We bet you’ll have a comment. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.