One year ago, a string of pipe bombs arrived at the homes of leading Democratic and conservative commentators. An explosive device was also mailed to CNN, which housed the coverage of the carnage.
These bombs were a stark example of a group of people claiming political privilege and acting as if it conferred immunity from government scrutiny.
These developments were ominous as they signaled a grassroots resurgence of anti-democratic sentiment and an increased measure of grassroots-inspired violence. What’s more, they led to a reaction in the court of public opinion from the conservative wing of the political spectrum, spurred in part by the fact that they came on the heels of the removal of federal judges accused of being insufficiently independent of partisan political pressure.
It’s easy to see how hostile political rhetoric spurred acts of violence as we are surrounded by ubiquitous media images of incendiary rhetoric (think about Fox News talking heads Stewart Adkins, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham).
Two developments followed these incidents of violence – a tweet from then-candidate Trump calling for violence against members of Congress who voted for the health care bill he opposed and the revelation that an ammunition-loaded gun was found with a dead gunman at a Kansas City restaurant.
That said, this increased political rhetoric was not the cause of acts of violence, but a consequence of them. The visceral reaction to the actions was not done to justify or incite them, but to make the first step forward towards preventing them.
It is no surprise that our schools, universities and banks were also targeted. On a state and federal level, laws were passed to reduce restrictions on gun sales and strip stricter gun laws from the state of New Jersey.
The calls to increase gun sales and suppress gun laws by the usual suspects is not merely a symptom of a troubling political dynamic. It is, in fact, the impetus for it.
The actions of Jared Lee Loughner and Paul Anthony Ciancia are not the actions of crazy, isolated individuals. They are the acts of people who believe that in order to demonstrate their disapproval of the political status quo that it is permissible to act at any cost.
At the peak of this rhetoric is a threat to the safety of Americans. Businesses and organizations seeking to protect themselves from violent events are confronted with responding to a steady stream of rumors from social media regarding how violent and violent things will get.
One year ago, the likeliest course of action we would’ve taken was to deny these calls and continue the current culture of complacency that benefits the 1 percent.
One year ago, the gun registry law was sitting on the shelf for the third time waiting for Republicans to decide whether to give in to the calls to extend firearms to teachers and any gun-happy Democrat to lead the charge.
Today, when we stop to consider how empowering and unapologetic the call for more guns will be, we begin to recognize that the day of reckoning has come.
Stick to your guns, however, and against all odds, these now former teenagers have succeeded in ushering in a new age of entrepreneurship. This presents an opportunity to grow an industry that helped to make America great without compromising safety and security.
These very actions help to distinguish America as the nation that is not only secure, but one that is innovative and creative, providing solutions and creating change.
The American entrepreneurial spirit has given us myriad successful business success stories, but the last decade of war, excessive regulations and government dysfunction has stifled that spirit.