I don’t know why it is that most of the mainstream media omits this important detail about the attack on 75 year old Martin Gugino. Before his unprovoked summary assault and grievous resulting injury by “peace officers,” this harmless, elderly resident of Buffalo, New York, is seen in the video clearly attempting to return one of their helmets that he found.
This touching errand of honest citizenship is rewarded with errant, criminal thuggery. I’m tempted to revise that. Most criminal thugs I’ve known or heard about would refrain from such gratuitous brutality. In any case, Mr. Gugino’s crime was Good Samaritanism — while not blue — punishable by villainous glee intent on doing him unceremonious criminal Injury.
Another thing you may or may not know is there are two videos of the incident. The one from the other side and across the street is further away but has better audio. The mellon-like thwack of Mr. Gugino’s head smacking the pavement is particularly disturbing. It will take many weeks for me to unhear it. It’s my new audial symbol for casual viciousness — until a more horrific one will do.
If you’re the kind of person who saw the film and whose immediate response isn’t an almost achingly visceral need to help Mr. Gugino and care for his wounds, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know you. For me 2020 is the year certain battle lines are drawn and that’s one of them. And the same goes for anyone who isn’t desperate to help George Floyd after watching his disturbingly casual murder, too. You can all go to hell, that part Dante set aside for people who did nothing during times of great moral crisis.
But I require a brand new category of infamy for the man who saw the same film I did and decided that Martin Gugino is actually a terrorist. Mere hell is too good for him. That the man in question has sworn to uphold the rights of all American citizens, to preserve, protect and defend those rights — rights enshrined in a sacred document called the Constitution — while pretending to uphold the office of the presidency of the United States, ought to inspire a special kind of disdain in us all.
Donald Trump blew it again and he knows he blew it. It’s that pesky old compassion thingy that he keeps coming up against. He’s never quite figured out how to fake that. He’s never quite gotten the hang of it. The good news for Trump is very soon the assault on Mr. Gugino will be forgotten, just as the murder of George Floyd will be forgotten. People are very good at forgetting. For instance, people seem to have forgotten that Donald Trump once raped a child, let alone that he still keeps thousands of them locked up in cages because they are brown.
Meanwhile, as everyone’s attention is still on it, people are talking about Donald Trump gaslighting a victim he’s sworn to protect. All because instead of being outraged at the summary assault on one of his citizens, Trump tweeted this:
Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?
While pasting that above ugly nonsense into this article, I received notification of a tweet Donald Trump just sent out, a little reminder of why he does what he does in the first place. He just tweeted this: “LAW & ORDER!” You see, “law and order” was Richard Nixon’s dog whistle for anti-black racism, recycled by Trump for exactly the same reason. It is tone deafness of a degree that beggars belief in this year of 2020.
Let’s face it, Martin Gugino’s crime, in the eyes of both the police and Donald Trump, was that he was a civilian out in the midst of a protest about the casual murder of a black man by police. His crime was not being blue in the midst of a black protest, which made him black by association. At least, that’s what people whose brains consist predominantly of a spinal cord attached to a medulla oblongata think.
So in summoning a conspiracy theory against Mr. Gugino (who is still in the hospital in critical condition as I write this), Donald Trump has further victimized him. No doubt Martin Gugino will now receive death threats, if he hasn’t already. That is the inevitable fate of anyone who is on the receiving end of one of Donald Trump’s hate tweets.
In point of fact, Donald Trump is a terrorist, and, no, I’m not using the word as hyperbole. I mean it as sincerely and applicably as if I were referring to Al Qaeida or Hezbollah or the NRA. Trump is a promoter of terror and mayhem and murder for political manipulation. He makes it his business to keep Americans in check with his Twitter account by generous applications of invective against any dissenters.
The chilling effect of Trump’s tweets is highly efficacious. Many Americans (particularly Senate Republicans) are terrified of his tweets. But then, what good is being a terrorist if you don’t inspire actual terror in the first place?
This is the first time in history that an American president has been a terrorist. It is one of the many infamous firsts that Trump exclusively owns. Let’s get rid of him in November so that justice may atone for Trump’s crimes against George Floyd, Martin Gugino and the hundreds of thousands of victims that lay dead or injured or outraged by this evil, rapacious terrorist called Trump. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.