Manuel Alvarez, a member of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors in Virginia, thinks jokes about shooting protesters are funny.
At least, that’s his excuse for a hastily deleted tweet about shooting protesters.
The Washington Post captured a screenshot of Alvarez’s tweet before it was deleted, in which he fantasized about shooting dozens of pro-marijuana legalization protesters demonstrating at a Republican state senator’s office.
“With one reload I can take 34 of them, but my guess is that one will be sufficient,” Alvarez tweeted, responding to a tweet about the protest by pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec.
“It was a joke; nothing more than that,” Alvarez told the Post. “Everybody here knows me, knows who I am, and that I’m not that way. I shouldn’t have done it.”
“I would never [shoot protesters],” he continued. “It’s not in my character. It’s not in my nature.”
Despite its intent, the tweet was criticized by many of Alvarez’s followers for its threatening tone. Indeed, violence against protesters has been condoned by President Trump when he was stumping for votes on the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, repeatedly telling his supporters to “knock the crap out of” and “rough up” protesters who interrupted his speeches. He even once suggested he would personally pay the legal fees of any of his supporters who got arrested for assaulting protesters at his campaign rallies, though he never paid any such fees.
Earlier this week, an unknown driver drove their truck into a crowd of protesters demonstrating for a higher minimum wage — a tactic used by ISIS in various terror attacks around the world as well as by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, Virginia — and injured nine people. Local media reports that even though the driver is cooperating with police, they have not yet been arrested as of this writing.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.