On Monday, a gun-crazed man in his late 20s, a felon who nonetheless regularly carried firearms, opened fire at a shopping mall in Boise. For good reason, most people were paying close attention to that — to the two people who tragically died and to the four others who were wounded.
But only 20 miles away and a few hours later, something else was happening. We should pay close attention to it, too.
While police were still clearing stores at Boise Towne Square, some attendees at a rally held by Turning Points USA in Nampa were discussing terrorism.
Not the threat of it or what to do about it.
But when it should begin.
The main speaker was Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of Turning Points. Kirk’s hucksterism is obvious. He is a traveling salesman at heart.
Watch his event, and you will be treated with ads to buy hats, T-shirts, hoodies and various other swag. He yucked with the crowd about Boise State University football and made sure everyone knew that he knew who Kellen Moore is.
As if to say: Here I am, a guy who fights for freedom and The Blue. A guy like any one of you. The kind of guy you’d want to buy a hat from, right? You can pick one up in the back for the low price of $25.
According to the nonprofit organization’s tax filings, Kirk was paid about $330,000 last year. Turning Points reported earning about $10.3 million from fundraising events, more than a quarter of its total revenue for 2020.
But the lies Kirk is peddling to sell hats, lies like the claim that the 2020 election was stolen, are sometimes believed by the gullible, or by people who feel empowered by the lie to do things they want to do for other reasons.
One such man rose to ask a question.
The man, claiming the state had fallen into tyranny, asked Kirk: “When do we get to use the guns?” — to applause and cheers from many in the audience.
When more people end up dead because of the lies people like @charliekirk11 are spreading, they need to be held accountable. Republicans are legitimately asking “When do we get to start killing people?” It doesn’t matter if they denounce violence. Their lies are inspiring it. pic.twitter.com/6snVbR1OWg
— Sayre Peterson (@sayre26) October 26, 2021
Then, to remove any doubt that this aspiring Brownshirt wasn’t being metaphorical or facetious but was, in fact, asking when to start murdering political opponents, he continued: “That’s not a joke. I’m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where is the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”
Kirk did not respond with a simple message like: “Terrorism is wrong. You shouldn’t do it.” Instead, he cast political violence as a tactical blunder. It would play into the hand of the same hidden media-deepstate-Democrat forces trying to institute tyranny by installing Joe Biden as president, he claimed.
Kirk did not even rule out the man eventually having the opportunity he seeks to murder the political opposition. It’s just that other avenues — states pushing against supposed federal overreach, for example — haven’t yet been exhausted, he said, leaving open the possibility that a day would come when terrorism was the proper response.
The Boise Towne Square shooter was a felon who claimed to be dedicated to the project of repealing laws banning felons from carrying firearms. And it seems he regularly carried guns and maintained YouTube channels showing him carrying and shooting firearms, in addition to spouting racism, despite his felony conviction.
Idaho State Police even stopped him, ran his name, saw his criminal record and referred him to the Ada County prosecutor for illegally carrying a gun. In the prosecutors’ assessment, Idaho’s existing laws were insufficient to charge him or take his guns away. We saw the consequences Monday.
The man who spoke at the Turning Points rally almost certainly has guns, too. He has announced the purpose to which he plans to put them and asked for a time to start.
Let’s hope police disarm this man before he decides the time has come. If they do not have the legal power to do so, even after he has announced that he is willing to murder for political reasons, the laws need to be changed.