Donald said at a rally: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick— [boos from audience] If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.
Donald’s point about Hillary was unambiguous.
What he was doing, as explained by feminist law professor and reproductive rights activist David S. Cohen, was engaging in “stochastic terrorism,” which is “an obscure and non-legal term” meaning to use “language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable,'” a sort of incitement well-known among those familiar with anti-choice violence.
Writes Cohen: “Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog-whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.”
The sort of diffused threats that are a feature of stochastic terrorism are, unfortunately, extremely familiar to me. As a feminist progressive woman with a public profile, these are the kinds of “not really threats – wink!” I get all the time: Hoping someone else will rape and/or kill me.
Or “warning” me that someone might – if I insist on keeping up my work. Being on the receiving end of those words for more than a decade: I know what Donald meant.
It is chillingly familiar.
His words don’t exist in a vacuum, but as part of a culture of toxic masculinity in which women are routinely threatened in precisely this way.
So, yes, this is personal to me: Donald’s words, first and foremost, and the pushback against those of us who are rightly alarmed by them, because we identify them for exactly what they are; the pushback against those of us who refuse to minimize or dismiss his words as a “joke.”
This was an invitation to anyone who might be listening and inclined to take action.
I live against a backdrop of these sorts of threats, many of which are sent to me publicly, so that they may be seen by someone inclined to take action. I don’t appreciate, to put it politely, being gaslighted and told that I didn’t hear what I heard.
I’m an unwilling expert.
Thus, I have no patience for the aggressive indecency of not receiving and treating Donald’s words with the gravity they deserve.
This man openly incited violence against a woman, who also happens to be a presidential candidate – which makes his exhortation possibly criminal, too.
I am, of course, concerned for Hillary. Additionally: This, like every iteration of gross misogyny and threats directed at her publicly, isn’t just about Hillary, but about how we treat women culturally.
As I’ve said many times, I’m not just interested in seeing Hillary treated fairly; I am also deeply motivated by the long-term objective of making public service safe for women, especially women who don’t share her privileges.
This is politically important. It is also presently personal. And it is critical to our future: I care about Hillary’s safety, and my own safety, and about what we are communicating to every little girl watching this unfold, contemplating her own future.
And yet the media coverage has been expectedly and typically equivocal, with false equivalencies being drawn between Donald’s statements and the father of the Pulse gunman attending a Hillary rally, totally unbeknownst to the campaign:
And an intolerable aversion to straightforwardly identifying Donald’s comments for the violent incitement they are:
There is nothing ambiguous or humorous about what Donald Trump just said. He put out the equivalent of a verbal hit on Hillary. Anything less than mass outrage should be unacceptable.