This was a classic leg of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, the Horrible, Disuniting Ride That Never Ends.
On Facebook, one of my dear, hate-addled friends posted that President Trump had “ordered” the military to fire on any of the invasion-minded “caravan”—you know, these charming people,
—laughing, dancing, singing, playing tambourines and telling fortunes!—who threw rocks when they confront U.S. soldiers at the border. This statement, which seemed incredible to me but because it’s Donald Trump and he could literally say anything from “Give Peace a Chance!” to “I am the Lizard King!” at any moment for any reason, including his own amusement, I couldn’t be sure. All of my friend’s friends were sure, though, and the liked, sad-faced and angry-faced the post to death.
Of course, a President ordering the military to shoot unarmed civilians would be monstrous, as well as illegal. It would also be historically ignorant, as doing so would require cultural amnesia of the major national events that most closely mirror such a scenario, both with “massacre” attached: Kent State, and that little incident in Boston that where it was British soldiers doing the shooting.
That’s not what the President said, though. What he said was this:
“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle.”