Trump’s assassination joke isn’t just a threat to Secretary Clinton.
I don’t think Donald Trump sincerely believes that anyone will actually go shoot Hillary Clinton. I don’t think he was explicitly saying Hey someone go shoot her. I think he was trying to make what he thought was a joke, but because he’s such a complete asshole, it wasn’t funny.
But that doesn’t matter, because the threat that he made today isn’t limited to Secretary Clinton. When someone in the position he is in — a celebrity entertainer who is the Republican nominee for president — suggests that not only would it be acceptable for the Second Amendment Crowd to go take care of her, but laughs about it, he is normalizing violent behavior, on a national stage.
Someone who wants to go shoot Secretary Clinton doesn’t need Donald Trump to tell him (because it’s always a man who does this sort of thing) to go do it. But what about the angry alt-right guy who wants to go use his Second Amendment Remedy to take care of another high-profile woman who bothers him? What about the unhinged guy who hates me, or John Scalzi, or Jessica Valenti, or Anita Sarkeesian? What about that guy, who is waiting to hear someone say what the voices in his head are saying? How much did the danger to us and people like us go up today, because Donald Trump normalized and amplified his thinking?
We never know what it’s going to be that sets a dangerous and mentally ill person off. Charles Manson heard The White Album, and in his disturbed mind, that was the call he needed to hear to set his murderous rage into action. John Hinckley was inspired by a movie. David Berkowitz was moved to kill by a barking dog.
My point is that there are mentally unstable people out there who don’t need a lot of encouragement to turn their fantasies into real life tragedies, and Donald Trump may have spoken loudly and clearly to them today. That is truly dangerous, and — like so many things he’s said and done — it further disqualifies him from holding elected office.