On Friday, June 29, Idaho Republicans gathered for their state convention. Just outside the event, several students from nearby Idaho State University were protesting with signs calling for stricter gun regulations.
Idaho Republican State Representative Priscilla Giddings posed for a photo with the young protesters and posted the image on her official Facebook page. Her caption, however, is turning some heads for its strangely mocking, borderline ominous tone.
Giddings captioned her photo with the message:
Idaho State University students peacefully protesting our Republican convention. Do you think I should show these girls the empty 30mm shell I have in the truck?
That bit about showing the girls a 30mm shell casing is what raised eyebrows.
Giddings's message was likely in response to several of the students' posters, including one which read:
2nd Amendment says we have the right to bear arms, not to bear artillery.
The post faced immediate backlash on social media, even attracting denouncement from some famous figures like Chelsea Clinton.
This is monstrous. https://t.co/spMcxNzYAe— Chelsea Clinton (@Chelsea Clinton) 1530298127.0
Some read the message as a flat-out threat.
Please call Idaho Rep. Priscilla Giddings at 208-332-1033 and tell her not to incite violence, especially not agai… https://t.co/VMSCk3zlBv— Melissa MO (@Melissa MO) 1530300579.0
Rep Priscilla Giddings now threatening schoolchildren because they are for gun sense. These people are evil. https://t.co/N1juBgZxey— إسراء (@إسراء) 1530294956.0
Wow..Representative Priscilla Giddings..you’re an adult, right? I’m sure a lot of people are now aware of other emp… https://t.co/SfyJgYaYxN— KTVB Brian Holmes (@KTVB Brian Holmes) 1530302096.0
@annehelen She acknowledges they are peaceful, takes a picture with them, and then threatens them on the internet?! 🤯— Jacqueline WayneGuite (@Jacqueline WayneGuite) 1530294964.0
But even giving Giddings the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her message's vaguely threatening tone, it still struck some readers the wrong way.
Some didn't know quite how to interpret the Idaho Republican representative's Facebook message.
@ChelseaClinton I really didn’t know how to process this I kept reading it thinking it couldn’t be what I thought i… https://t.co/jlJpPGiO4N— Diamond Jackson (@Diamond Jackson) 1530299358.0
No matter how you feel about it though, Giddings' post will have no major consequences on her political career. She is up for reelection, but unopposed in her district.
Idaho state Rep. Priscilla Giddings uploaded a photo with four college students who were protesting for gun safety… https://t.co/0HG1WD1U4J— Andrea González-Ramírez (@Andrea González-Ramírez) 1530298580.0
@karms_24 @annehelen @BitchMedia Alas she will run unopposed. https://t.co/dT42Z6eQb2— Quatrain Gleam (@Quatrain Gleam) 1530298495.0
That is, of course, unless someone starts a write-in campaign. Anyone in Idaho District 7A interested?
@QuatrainGleam @karms_24 @annehelen @BitchMedia Someone should run a write-in campaign— Patti Mulligan 🔬✊🏽 (@Patti Mulligan 🔬✊🏽) 1530299215.0
Regardless, students protesting in a public space shouldn't be mocked by politicians and should DEFINITELY never feel threatened.
@chefcd1st @ChelseaClinton This is absolutely horrific!! And you know if it happened the other way around, Rs would… https://t.co/hQWD8dDsbO— Frankie (@Frankie) 1530322399.0
Many are calling for Giddings to do the right thing: apologize and resign.
@ChelseaClinton Rep. Priscilla Giddings R-Idaho7A #Shame https://t.co/oBfZwGX74i— ModerateMom #ProtectRoe #StopTheBans (@ModerateMom #ProtectRoe #StopTheBans) 1530298732.0