Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) said he’d be more than willing to shoot any armed demonstrators in Louisiana in a Facebook post Tuesday that was accompanied by a picture of Black men with guns.
“One way ticket fellas,” he wrote on his campaign account. “Have your affairs in order. Me?... I wouldn’t even spill my beer. I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand.”
“We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right. If you show up like this, if We recognize threat ... you won’t walk away,” added Higgins, a former police officer.
Facebook confirmed to The Acadiana Advocate that it took Higgins’ post down for violating the company’s “violence and incitement” policies.
Higgins’ also put up a picture of an eagle and wrote that he did not remove the post: “No, I did not remove my post. America is being manipulated into a new era of government control. Your liberty is threatened from within.”
Higgins’ initial post came in advance of a Black Lives Matter protest scheduled for Tuesday night. The event was peaceful, according to the Advocate, and was basically a barbecue. A small group with guns known as the Louisiana Cajun Militia did show up. They appeared to be all, or mostly, white.
“That’s their right to protest as long as they keep it peaceful,” said Michael “Sauce” McComas, who said he was the leader of the group. “We’re just not gonna let them go around burning flags and intimidating.”
It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Higgins chose a picture of armed Black vigilantes. It was taken from coverage of a Black militia that showed up in Louisville, Kentucky, to protest the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.
If Higgins was truly concerned about vigilantes of all colors at protests, as he said, it would have been far easier to find a picture of white militia members.
White vigilantes have been a constant, and often threatening, presence at racial justice protests this summer. White vigilantes and far-right actors have shown up at Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. at least 497 times this year, according to data collected by Alexander Reid Ross at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right.
Their presence has not only been accepted by police, it’s been embraced.
Before 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly killed two protesters and injured one other in Kenosha, Wisconsin, video showed police thanking him and the other heavily armed white men he was with for the work they were doing.
“We appreciate you guys, we really do,” a cop told the group before tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water.
Higgins’ office did not return a request for additional comment for this piece.
In 2017, Higgins faced widespread condemnation after creating a video of himself touring the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible. ... It’s hard to walk away from the gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment ― unwavering commitment ― to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world,” he said in the video.
He eventually apologized and took it down.