Kentucky Lawmaker Tweets: ‘If the Pilgrims Had Gun Control, We Wouldn’t Have Thanksgiving #Irony’

A Northern Kentucky state lawmaker stepped in a Thanksgiving Twitter controversy after making a joke about gun control.

Responding to a call from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for families across the nation to talk about gun control over their Thanksgiving dinner, Rep. Brian Linder on Friday fired off this Tweet:

He deleted the tweet within minutes after other Twitter users replied and accused him of making light of the genocide of Native Americans by European pioneers.

Linder says it was all a big misunderstanding.

“I was referring to turkeys,” says Linder, a Dry Ridge Republican. “Thanksgiving is, you know, traditionally you have turkey, and so what I meant was you wouldn’t be able to have turkey. I could see where people have misunderstood what I meant.”

But Rep. Reginald Meeks—who is part Cherokee—doesn’t believe it. He says there’s no logical link between gun control and turkey hunting. He calls Linder’s remarks “beyond offensive,” and says the off-the-cuff joke reflects a larger misunderstanding of the uglier side in American history.

“There is so much in history that we would prefer … that the establishment would prefer not to address, and so it’s easier to perpetrate the fallacies of, you know, that would lead someone to say, to make the comments that this representative has made,” says Meeks, a Louisville Democrat.

Meeks says he hopes that his colleague’s digital misstep will serve as a lesson to elected officials who Tweet first and ask questions later, and will prompt people to explore our American past—however ugly it might be—in search of fact over comfortable fiction.

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