Rope. Tree. Journalist.

Let me share this with you:

This t-shirt, spotted at a Trump rally in Minnesota says, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”

This scares the hell out of me. It should scare you, too. This is the dialogue that we have in this country, now. Thanks to one candidate who has a disdain for everything other to him. Black, brown, Muslim, woman, journalist, Pagan? Ever say something he didn’t like? You’re an enemy.

But I’m not worried about being unliked. Lots of people don’t like each other for irrational reasons and somehow they float through the world with minimal impact. But this photo shows the impact, the viral spread, in the true sense of contagion that has happened with such bald hate.

People have been hurt because of this man. People will continue to be hurt for years to come because of his message.

So far, in 2016, 36 journalists have been killed doing their work. Half of them were killed outside of a war zone. I would argue that journalism is truly the Fourth Estate, a safeguard outside of the government. It exists to check the powers not only of the government, but of businesses as well.

Calling for the lynching of journalists in a democracy has consequences. Journalists will be hurt and a chilling effect on how we’re able to cover important national and local news will happen.

For those who support this mentality, I ask this question: if your first, best, and only response to your perception of being slighted is violence, do you think your position might be weak?

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