we have the photo,and we have the casual treatment of this act, of shooting at an item of clothing as if it were a person, a human target.
It is one thing to shoot at an anonymous human silhouette target. It is another thing altogether to personalize that target in some way that makes it represent an actual human being, particularly as in this case where it would be an unarmed human being.
It is at the very least bad taste to treat shooting a sitting President as humorous, given the number of assassinations and assassination attempts in our history. It is insensitive to the man in office, it is vile to do to his wife and children and colleagues, who legitimately fear those who are political extremists that threaten his life. What it is NOT is a reasonable expression of free speech; there is no expounding of ideas here, no wit, no political position, only hatred and violence.
"I don’t think that the shooting of that T-shirt is that big of a deal,” Sgt. Pat Shearer, who took the photo, told ABC 15.
I don't think one of these police officers would find it nearly so acceptable if this was done to one of his uniforms, or to a silhouette with a photo of one of their colleagues on it, or to a sports uniform of one of these kids. I don't think their families would either. No supervisor would tolerate this as a simple expression of dissatisfaction with a work relationship, for example.
No one would find it funny, or just kidding around. Guns are not for kidding around about shooting other people. This IS the state where a year ago Gabby Giffords was shot, where other members of Congress had their offices shot up or otherwise violently vandalized in conjunction with verbal threats made to office staff.
This is another instance of the kind of dubious judgment that calls into question the expertise and intelligence and decision making when done by people in authority and with the power of force entrusted to them. The reality of what they did should be explained to them, if they are too stupid to understand it on their own. I don't really believe they have failed to understand it. Rather they simply believe that such hatefulness is acceptable even admirable. The taking of this photo, and the way it is posed, is a kind of boasting, a macho swaggering attitude towards guns and what guns empower them to do.
And that is NOT acceptable from law enforcement officers, or their buddies. It is especially NOT the correct example to be setting for teenaged males who fall into the worst possible demographic for gun violence.