Pat Garofalo is no fan of Antifa.
That's to be expected. Garofalo is a seven-term Republican legislator in the Minnesota House, representing the Farmington area. As a House veteran, Garofalo leads House GOP policy on "job growth and energy affordability" matters, where he's been an outspoken proponent of new and improved oil pipelines, among other conservative ideas.
Antifa, if you've somehow missed it, is the loosely organized -- but seemingly growing in influence -- leftist group that shows up itching for a fight whenever a right-wing protest is held. It was Antifa that led the counter-protest a month ago in Charlottesville, Virginia.
So, yeah. Garofalo and Antifa are generally going to mix as well as North Dakota crude oil and unfluoridated water.
Despite that, usually the boundaries of civil discourse prohibit the speaker from advocating for his political opposite to be imprisoned and sexually assaulted -- particularly when it's the elected official shouting at the rabble in the street, rather than the other way around. Perhaps those days are gone.
On Sunday, Antifa protesters in Portland rallied against members of "Patriot Prayer," a traveling pro-Trump conservative group which staged a demonstration in the city that day. Some Antifa members also clashed with Portland police, who informed the public via Twitter that participants were "throwing irritant smoke and projectiles at police."
A few hours after that report, Garofalo -- now approaching his 13th year in the Leigslature -- crafted a response to this information.
There seems to be only one way of reading this: Garofalo wants the Antifa protesters throwing stuff to be raped in jail, specifically by a man from a mountainous and historically underdeveloped region of the American southeast.
Other people on Twitter latched on to this pretty quickly. You can see the many responses Garofalo's tweet inspired here. Garofalo, in turn, responded to one of them, seeking to deny the obvious.
Except I never said that. But the F in DFL has never stood for Facts. So you just go ahead and keep making stuff up.— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) September 11, 2017
Got it. So, if the guy in Garofalo's initial tweet was not going to rape -- or in some other way brutalize -- these people who are locked up "without bail"... what is it we should imagine "Bubba" doing? Converting his fellow inmates to conservative Christianity? Educating his new left-wing friends about the need to respect the authority of the rule of law in a lecture imbued with the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and Edmund Burke? Teaching them how to coal mine?
This isn't the first time Garofalo's quick Twitter trigger has inspired controversy. In 2014, Garofalo joked that if the National Basketball Association folded, it would have limited impact on people's lives, with the "possible exception of [an] increase in streetcrime."
Garofalo first defended that tweet, then later "sincerely apologized" for it in a lengthy statement, which included this line: "In the last 24 hours, I've had the opportunity to re-learn one of life's lessons: whenever any of us are offering opinions, it is best to refer to people as individuals as opposed to groups."
It's been about 36 hours since Garofalo's anti-Antifa tweet. Has that been enough time to learn or "re-learn" any lessons? Maybe about how not all people who hate fascists are criminals? How not all guys from coal country are named "Bubba," and sexual deviants?
How, in America, we sentence people to incarceration, not physical violation?
Or simply: When to logout of Twitter, put your phone down, and just be quiet?