Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running for Georgia governor. He plans to support small businesses and provide opportunities for the rural areas of the state. He supports a cap on government spending, and he stands firmly against undocumented immigrants. Most of all, he’s a defender of the second amendment – and woefully proud of it.
In a now-viral ad, Kemp is shown aiming a gun at Jake, a teen who is “interested in one of [Kemp’s] daughters.” While polishing his gun, Kemp ensures that Jake is aware that in order to date her, Jake must have “respect and a healthy appreciation for the second amendment.” Around them, several guns are scattered across the room.
This advertisement comes only months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that took the lives of 17 individuals – 14 of whom were only teens. In the wake of a tragedy, Kemp, a man who is aiming to determine the lives of millions, chooses to ignore the devastation and destruction. He jokes about shooting teens as if the idea of bodies littered across school hallways, screams filling classrooms, and children fearfully hiding in closets for hours is somehow humorous and will win him votes. The fear, the heartbreak, and the trauma involved in senseless tragedies is blatantly ignored as Kemp flippantly mirrors the actions that have claimed too many young lives.
Kemp’s actions are not only insensitive but also paradoxical. As a supporter of gun rights, he asserts that guns are necessary instruments of defense, not unprovoked harm. However, by threatening a teen with the barrel of a gun, he acts as if gun violence can be condoned and justified by the most minor of reasons.
Kemp’s response to the controversy? “I’m a conservative! Get over it!”
Brian Kemp’s advertisement is nothing short of facetious and inappropriate, even if it’s meant to be good-natured and humorous. So many lives have been forever changed by gun violence and can’t simply “get over it.” Blood has been spilled and tears have been shed over deaths that could have been easily prevented and saved. The nation is in desperate need of reform, and as a politician, Kemp must accept the challenges to work towards progress – not trivialize death and tragedy.
Photo: Alexander Andrews via Unsplash