Well, the title pretty much says it all. Did Republican candidate for Congress Brad Staats threaten president Obama on his Facebook page?
You be the judge.
Staats, who is challenging five-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, wrote the following on his campaign’s fan page on September 27:
Many people in Tennessee keep asking me about my opinion on Second Amendment rights. Apparently Tennesseans are part of that crazy crowd that Obama says ‘cling to their religion and guns.’ Well, then I must be part of that crazy crowd. Here is something that I usually have with me. Welcome to Tennessee Mr. Obama, where we appreciate our 2nd Amendment rights and the Constitution that was wisely given to us by our founding fathers.
Included in the post was a photo of Staats’ silver and black Colt 1911.
Was this offensive? Was it a threat to the Commander-in-chief?
Some Facebook followers thought so.
One commenter wrote, “Your vitriol and gun waving is really a sad commentary for a civil society. It translates to bully behavior. Nothing more.”
“You’ve had your fifteen minutes, Brad. It’s too bad you couldn’t have found something more positive to have become infamous for,” said another critic of Staats.
However, when asked by the local media if the post was meant to be a threat to president Obama, Staats was adamant that it was not.
“Good Lord, no,” Staats told The Tennessean in an interview on Monday. “Absolutely not. I’m not one of those that would ever threaten the president. He’s probably got enough of his own stuff to worry about without me.”
Though not a threat, the post was intended to send a message to politicians and those within the Obama administration who support the much criticized U.N. Small Arms Treaty, as Staats subsequently elucidated.
“My post from Friday was regarding the fact that the UN Small Arms Treaty, passed last week will undermine our Second Amendment Rights.”
(It should be noted that the U.N. Arms Treaty did not “pass” last week. Actually, it appears that just the opposite happened; the U.N. General Assembly decided to drop deliberations on the ATT for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if the Tennessean or other media outlets misquoted him or if he was just simply misinformed, but for more on the current status of the ATT, click here.)
“I do want President Obama to know as well as the rest of Congress and everyone else regarding our constitutional rights, don’t tread on America’s constitution,” Staats told WKRN-TV. “I think that your liberties, your life can be defended by the proper instructed use of a handgun.”
Nevertheless, and according to the Tennessean, the Secret Service has been notified of Staats’ post. A spokesman said they would conduct a follow-up if deemed necessary.
All that said, what do you think? Was it was a coded threat to Obama? Was Staats being a bully, as the one commenter suggested? Or is the much ado about nothing?