How a Gun Control Petition Went from the Tumblr Dashboard to Washington DC
I created the petition “Immediately address the issue of control through the introduction of legislation in Congress” as a knee-jerk reaction in mid-December of last year. It was a way of gaining control over a situation I had no control over. After the awful extent of the Sandy Hook shootings became clear, I felt disoriented. The mind tends to turn toward blame, but the murder of twenty children and six school officials was, and will always be, a hard thing to wrap my head around.
I knew that if there ever were a tipping point for effective gun control, this would be it. So, I wrote a petition. My primary goal was to appeal to both sides of the debate. Writing an incendiary, partisan petition benefits no one. The vast majority of gun owners are people who have the Constitutional right to own one, several, or many guns, and singling these people out was wrong. Simply put, the petition was intended to start a realistic dialogue about guns and their role in the United States. We have a gun problem, plain and simple.
At least 27 people, including 18 children, were reported dead following an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The principal of Sandy Hook Elementary was among the dead, police confirmed. The gunman, wearing a bulletproof vest, opened fire at around 9:30am ET. The Associated Press cited a law enforcement official’s report that the shooter was a man in his 20s with ties to the school. The gun used in the attack was a .223 caliber rifle, according to the report.
Police confirmed the shooter was dead and inside the building. They added that the scene is secure and there are multiple fatalities.
President Barack Obama expressed his sympathies to Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and is likely to address the situation later on Friday.
While some of the characters from the 2008 presidential election season have drifted back into the shadows, Joe Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as Joe the Plumber, is still grasping on to his 15 minutes of fame. Now the plumber-turned-politician has made waves with a new YouTube video that states the Holocaust might not have happened had Germany had more lax gun laws.
Wurzelbacher gained recognition in October 2008 when he had an encounter with then Sen. Barack Obama. The two met on a campaign stop in Ohio and Wurzelbacher challenged the candidate on his tax policies. Obama’s response included the phrase “spread the wealth around.” Republicans quickly jumped on the moment, and Wurzelbacher started to campaign for Sen. John McCain.
Now, almost four years later, Wurzelbacher is running his own campaign for Washington office, this time against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. Since beginning his campaign in October 2011, the plumber has used social media like any other contemporary candidate, especially YouTube. But it’s only been this week that any of the candidate’s videos have gained much attention.
The video “I Love America – Joe on the 2nd Amendment” tries to link gun control laws in Armenia and Germany in the early 20th century to genocides in each country, most notably the Holocaust. During the video, Wurzelbacher fires a gun at fruits and vegetables, and at the end he turns to the camera and says “I love America.”
The bizarre video has been met with resistance on YouTube: As of Wednesday night, it had 380 dislikes to its 85 likes. However it is also Wurzelbacher’s most popular video, with almost 24,000 views in the two days since it was posted.
But while media outlets were just noting the unusual video for the first time, this week’s clip was not the first time Wurzelbacher has taken to social media with some unusual content – at least when you consider he is running a Congressional campaign. Below are some of Joe the Plumber’s greatest hits. (cont.)
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Tumblr curated by Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso), Aja Romano (@ajaromano) Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn), and Logan Youree (@loganwtf).