First Lady Michelle Obama is a polarizing figure, though perhaps not so much as her husband. Nevertheless, she is still the First Lady, and the dignity of that position demands some nominal idea of respect. Moreover, Mrs. Obama is still an American citizen (albeit new to the idea of being proud of that concept), and deserves full protection of the laws, just as any other citizen enjoys them.
As such, we want to offer her detractors a word to the wise: There are many acceptable ways to express your discontent with this administration. Claiming you want to shoot the First Lady is not one of them. Telling the police you want to shoot the First Lady is unequivocally not one of them. And telling the police you want to shoot the First Lady when you yourself are part of the police, and sworn to uphold the law flies is so indescribably stupid, counterproductive and flat-out wrong that it actively harms the concept of patriotic dissent.
So you can imagine our horror when we read this story from the Washington Post:
A D.C. police officer who worked as a motorcycle escort for White House officials and other dignitaries was moved to administrative duty Wednesday after he allegedly was overheard making threatening comments toward Michelle Obama, according to several police officials.[…]
The motorman allegedly made the comments Wednesday morning as several officers from the Special Operations Division discussed threats against the Obamas. It was not immediately clear where the alleged conversation took place or exactly how many officers took part in the conversation.
During that conversation, the officials said, the officer allegedly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use. It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was allegedly shown.
An officer overheard the alleged threat and reported it to a police lieutenant at the Division, who immediately notified superiors, the officials said.
What on earth was going through this police officer’s head if this story is true is something we would rather not speculate on, as we worry it would compromise the sanity of our readers. Fortunately, the Secret Service has ascertained that there was no threat to the First Lady. If true, this appears to be an instance of a very foolish person making a truly tasteless joke that was far too easy to mistake for a genuine intent to do harm. The officer in question has been demoted to desk duty, but not fired, and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of DC is currently conducting an investigation. Hopefully, the officer involved will be found to be have either had his comments misrepresented, or will face serious disciplinary action.