House members replace U.S. flag lapel pins with those depicting an assault rifle

Second Amendment


SAN ANTONIO — Tuesday is the last day and fifth anniversary of National Gun Violence Survivors Week, a remembrance of those who’ve died violently in ordinary places while going about their ordinary lives in what amounts to domestic terrorism.

They were at school, at church, work, or a movie theater. They were shopping, having a burger or dancing.

Often, they were killed by assault-style weapons designed for the battlefield.

Feb. 1-7 remembers the senselessness of their deaths and recognizes those who survived, who muster the courage to tell their stories and compel leaders to act to protect other innocent lives by restricting the proliferation of such weapons.

National Gun Violence Survivors Week also remembers the other survivors — the families and other loved ones who continue to grieve the dead.

It’s a week that acknowledges a uniquely U.S. story.

“The first week in February marks the approximate time that gun deaths in the United States surpass the number of gun deaths experienced by peer countries in an entire calendar year,” according to the national survivors week website.

On ExpressNews.com:

To truly ‘stand with Uvalde,’ we must fight for accountability and gun safety

We’re a nation in which mass shootings are commonplace, an epidemic with a known antidote that Congress and Republican state legislatures refuse to administer.

It was also the week U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, a MAGA Republican from Georgia, chose to amplify his support of the Second Amendment with a sick, twisted taunt wrapped in a lapel pin in the shape of an assault rifle.

It was indecent, offensive and deliberate provocation.

I’m sure Clyde thinks it’s a clever campaign, either unaware or knowingly celebrating guns and gun idolatry.

His pins salute the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association and the 21st century Republican Party.

It’s what passes for political representation.

This wasn’t new messaging from Clyde, who owns a successful gun shop. He compared insurrectionists to tourists. But on Jan. 6, he appeared in a photo looking terrified.

To be clear, Clyde has worn the assault rifle pin before but last week others in Congress wore them, too.

Had such an accessory or image appeared in a workplace, it would warrant questioning by an employer and seen as a threat by others.

It would get a student expelled from school and referred to counseling. In almost any other space, the image would compel authorities to act.

But not in Congress.

Clyde is a cretin. He voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who protected the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and wouldn’t shake hands with one of the officers.

He intended his pins to “trigger the libs,” a twisted way to get a response from those with which he disagrees and shows no respect.

It’s a kind of trolling that has become common on social media.

“I hear that this little pin that I’ve been giving out on the House floor has been triggering some of my Democratic colleagues,” Clyde said in a video.

A column in The Philadelphia Inquirer set it straight, calling it “a mini-celebration of a killing machine that serves no civilian purpose beyond mowing down large numbers of innocent people in the shortest possible time.”

It’s offensive in so many ways, most cruelly in the guns he celebrates.

In an NPR story last year, medical experts described the damage AR-15-styled weapons do. While handguns pierce a target, “weapons such as the AR-15s used in many mass shootings, can liquefy organs because of their much higher projectile speeds.”

They cause “cavitation, meaning that as the projectile passes through tissue, it creates a large cavity.”

More from Elaine Ayala:

Enough already — it’s time to ban assault rifles

Clyde hasn’t been alone.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, a Republican from Florida, passed out dummy grenades with the GOP’s elephant logo. He serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.

“In that spirit,” Mills wrote to his Republican colleagues, “it is my pleasure to give you a 40mm grenade, made for a MK19 grenade launcher. These are manufactured in the Sunshine State and first developed in the Vietnam War.”

A piece in New York Magazine best analyzed what’s at the heart of antics like these. The lapel pin wasn’t just a taunt, or a joke, it said.

“It’s a message to the rest of America that guns are the wearers’ ultimate weapon of choice against democracy, if it comes to that.”

eayala@express-news.net



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