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GOP lawmaker openly threatens to run over protesters with his car

America is still reeling from the terror attack in Charlottesville, where one woman died and many others were injured when a man rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in the midst of a Nazi-fueled white supremacist riot. It was a horrifying spectacle, one by which the vast majority of observers were thoroughly and […]

By Dan Desai Martin - September 16, 2017
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Protesters march down a highway in downtown St. Louis, after a judge found a white former police officer not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man
Protesters march down a highway in downtown St. Louis, after a judge found a white former police officer not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man

America is still reeling from the terror attack in Charlottesville, where one woman died and many others were injured when a man rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in the midst of a Nazi-fueled white supremacist riot.

It was a horrifying spectacle, one by which the vast majority of observers were thoroughly and rightly shocked and appalled.

But apparently, one Republican lawmaker had the exact opposite reaction — approval and a publicly proclaimed intention to repeat it if he ever deemed necessary.

After a white police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, was acquitted of murder in the death of a black driver — a case in which the officer said during a car chase that he was “going to kill this mother****er” and then fired at the driver five times through his car window — citizens took to the streets to protest the outcome.

Seeing those protesters in the streets prompted Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Aaron Bernstine to take to Twitter to declare that if he ever faced such a scene, he would attack the citizens with his car:

This type of rhetoric is abhorrent, but sadly part of a pattern within his party.

But even before Charlottesville, some in the GOP were plotting ways to legalize vehicular terrorism, so long as the victim was a protester. Republicans in North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, and North Dakota introduced legislation to make it harder for protesters to sue drivers if they were hit.

Bernstine added to the odiousness of such proposals by openly advocating for violence as a solution to protesters with whom he disagrees.

And when called out for his despicable rhetoric, Bernstine doubled down on his position, using racially-coded language:

On September 11th, Bernstine posted this on Facebook: “16 years ago, our country was attacked by cowards who attempted to destroy this great country. America will always prevail against evil. — AB”

Yet a mere five days later, he actively promoted violence against his fellow Americans.

Between the shooting of members of Congress on a softball field and the death of an innocent protester in Charlottesville, one would think that Republicans would tone down their violent rhetoric.

Or at least have the courage to denounce it when fellow Republicans speak in favor of violent terrorism.

To remain silent, especially in the wake of Charlottesville, is an abdication of both political and moral responsibility.


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