It always bugs me when people criticize protests or boycotts and even, on a much smaller scale, something like hashtags by asking what they hope to accomplish? As if a peaceful rally is a failure if it doesn’t end racism or poverty or whatever the cause at hand may be, when really the goal is usually just to give people a voice and maybe raise a little awareness of a situation.
But in this case, with this specific planned protest, I have to admit that the words I yelled at my computer screen were first, “WHAT?” and second, “WHY?”
Why would a group of guns rights activists (stop it, I’m trying not to scoff at using that word) think it was a worthwhile or possibly even good idea to stage a mock mass shooting on the University of Texas at Austin campus? What could they possibly hope to accomplish? A spokesman for the two groups involved (Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com) described the planned event:
“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons.
Okay, first of all, what is the point of this? Are you raising awareness of shootings? Trying to convince your school not to repeal their open carry restrictions? Hoping to inspire students everywhere to grab their cardboard guns and take down a threat? Well, that’s idiotic and potentially dangerous in the future.
But secondly, and more important than the stupid fairy tale of people rising up to defeat danger, is the fact that not everyone on that very large campus will be aware of this protest. And if these people are playing gunshot sounds through freaking bullhorns, that’s gonna scare and potentially traumatize a whole bunch of people. Add to that the groups have said they don’t plan on or care about obtaining permits or approval for this event. They’re just going to muster up that can-do spirit and do whatever the hell they feel like, megaphone assault rifle sound effects be damned.
By its last update Wednesday night, UT officials have said that if the groups go forward as planned this weekend, the protest will be considered criminal trespassing. So the groups are now planning to move off-campus, using the university only as a “backdrop.” Because sure, what could possibly go wrong when you stage a fake shooting out on the street in a gun friendly state? Best case, they’ll scare a bunch of people. Worst case scenario? Well, these people are idiots, but I really hope they don’t get the kind of real-life hero reaction their fantasy demonstrates.
This has been your official Worst Idea of the Day. (Yesterday’s was obviously Trump trying to ban Muslims from the US, so congratulations boys, you’re in really awful company.)