A Republican official has apologized for calling for "another Kent State" massacre in response to recent university protests.
Dan Adamini, the secretary of the Marquette County Republican Party in Michigan, tweeted that he was "sorry" for a pair of social media posts in which he referenced the infamous fatal 1970 shooting of four unarmed college students by National Guardsmen during an anti-Vietnam War protest, and suggested that a similar incident might be the "only solution" to modern-day protests at the University of California, Berkeley, and elsewhere.
"Violent protesters who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State, perhaps," Mr. Adamini wrote in a tweet last Thursday. "One bullet stops a lot of thuggery." In a similar Facebook post, he added, "They do it because they know there are no consequences yet."
The posts, which have since been deleted, received widespread backlash, and were quickly condemned by Kent State University and the Michigan Democratic Party.
"To call for 'another Kent State' and declare that 'one bullet stops a lot of thuggery' is to clearly and openly advocate for the murder of unarmed college students, simply because they don’t share his beliefs or point of view," said Michigan Democratic Party chair Brandon Dillon in a statement, calling on Adamini to resign from any public or political party positions. "The right to free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy, and when someone threatens another individual or group with harm for exercising it, that one person is a threat to all of us, as Americans."
Kent State president Beverly Warren decried the posts in a tweet Saturday, writing that the remarks had "no place in healing the divide in America."
This is an abhorrent and painful use of our tragedy and has no place in healing the divide in America. We will respond https://t.co/mTpc0Tjqzx— Beverly Warren (@PresBWarren) February 4, 2017
Later that morning, in an official press release, the university described Adamini's suggestion as "abhorrent," and invited him to tour the campus's May 4 Visitors Center, which features exhibits that tell the story of the shooting, "to gain perspective on what happened 47 years ago and apply its meaning to the future."
Some Kent State students praised the school's invitation to Adamini, noting the impact the center had had on their own perspective.
"I think that (inviting Adamini) to the May 4 Memorial was the best course of action," Brandon Calalesina, a junior computer science major, told the Kent State school newspaper. "The university didn't jump the gun and started attacking them. They welcomed him to understand rather than do anything else."
In an apology tweet, Adamini said the intent behind his original posts had been misinterpreted.
"Taking a lot of heat for a very poorly worded tweet yesterday," he wrote. "Sorry folks, the intent was to try to stop the violence, not encourage more."
Adamini has since deleted his Twitter account.