Guest Columnist/ Freesia McKee
Near the Green Library, Turning Point recently taped up a poster that featured pictures of an AR-15 and other weapons under the words, “I’m Pro Choice. Pick Your Gun.”
Turning Point is an alt-right, ultra-right group with student chapters across the nation. At FIU, they distribute the “Socialism Sucks” and “This Laptop Was Brought to You by Capitalism” stickers.
When I see Panthers sporting such stickers, I wonder how many know of Turning Point’s ties to white nationalism. Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk, is supported by neo-Nazis, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
This poster also represents a kind of rhetorical violence: on-campus promotion of the weapons that would be used to kill us.
After Parkland, FIU’s administration sent a message about the Behavioral Intervention Team, which intervenes with students who could potentially cause harm.
Turning Point promotes on-campus murder tools used in school shootings, and this gives me cause for concern. They’ve endorsed the AR-15, a weapon used by two groups: soldiers at war and self-appointed mass murderers.
FIU’s administration must decide how to deal with a group that supports the use of murder tools. When does free speech turn into a message that encourages violence to be planned and carried out? Do posters like this put us at a greater risk of harm?
If there was a student planning to shoot up a school, I believe he’d join a group like Turning Point. Their message celebrates the weapons he’d already be stockpiling..
I wanted to ask the Turning Point students if, after Parkland, they feel waves of fear during class. I thought about the anguish of violence in Florida and gun culture’s impact writ large.
I thought about my own experiences with gun violence. I wanted to ask the Turning Point students if they know what it’s like to watch a teenager die.
If they know what it’s like to watch CPR fail.
If they know the voice of a man witnessing his brother die. “My brother, my brother, my brother.” These are the echoes of shots in an alley. I cry again and again as I write this.
I wanted to ask these questions, but the students couldn’t explain why promoting gun culture on a college campus is anything other than celebration of an edgy, abstract principle. Instead, they talked about the Second Amendment, and they asked me if I consider myself to be an American.
Letters to the Editor are not written by Panther Press Staff. They are submitted by readers of Panther Press. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.