The Insurrectionist Idea

Trump is Inciting Violence in Virginia, Elsewhere

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz issued the following statement:

“This morning, the president endangered the lives and safety of officials in Virginia. His call to “Liberate Virginia” is a call to violence — make no mistake about it. These armed demonstrations calling on states to reopen are being organized by local militia groups with little regard for the rule of law or public safety. These mobs are trying to bully and intimidate state governments to reopen prematurely and endanger the lives of their citizens, all to help the president’s re-election effort. This is the insurrectionist idea.

“I have spent much of my career studying and writing about insurrectionism  —  the anti-democratic notion that unfettered access to private arms provide a check on government tyranny. In my 2009 book, Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea, co-author Casey Anderson and I discuss the rise of insurrectionism in the United States — and the dangerous consequences of this ideology throughout world history.

“That is why I am so troubled and concerned about President Trump’s tweets this morning. It is no secret that the president is a fan of armed anti-government extremists. In Charlottesville, he called them “very fine people.” In January, he threw gas on the fire during an already volatile situation in the lead up to a massive gun rally in Richmond. His words have inspired mass shooters and mass bombing attempts. Through all this, he has shown no signs of changing or tamping down such dangerous rhetoric.

“The United States just had our deadliest day of this pandemic with total deaths climbing to over 35,000, and the president is tweeting out calls for violence. There is a void of leadership in this nation at a time when we require it the most. We remain hopeful for a course correction in November.”

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