Residents in the town of Florence, Alabama, awoke on Monday morning to a startling graffiti mural of President Donald Trump shooting at children.
The small southern town, described by local news as a place “known for its all-American feel,” found the art piece in its downtown, across from a coffee shop.
The graffiti showed up overnight in the town of Florence, Alabama and depicts Trump shooting schoolchildren with a pistol in graphic detail. https://t.co/RB0Li1CPMr— ???? ??TO?????? (@jeffl76) April 3, 2018
The shop owners were not thrilled.
“It’s not something that we want to have to see every day,” Sarah Shirey, who owns Turbo Coffee with her husband, told a local news station. “My husband and I were looking at it, trying to figure it out, and then we realized all of the red coming out of the bodies was blood. And then I was assuming it was a school shooting.”
She continued: “They are obviously trying to send a message about what they believe, and I guess people have that freedom here, but that is a private piece of property and so they can’t really do it there. Which we don’t appreciate it there.”
Florence, Alabama: Home to the WC Handy Music Festival, a Frank Lloyd Wright House and, now, a new mural of President Donald Trump shooting children. https://t.co/o9Etli0vXk— Milton Post (@MiltonPost) April 3, 2018
This is not the first time Florence residents have been unamused to find graffiti around town. In 2014, RawStory reported, stencils of “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson began appearing, and the images didn’t seem to elicit a widely enthusiastic response.
While local news reports ignored the political undertones of the latest graffiti and how the mural related to both the president's personal gun control stances and his party's response to mass shootings, the national political climate likely influenced the artist.
Ironically, the mural was discovered on the very same day that Trump hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll where he was surrounded by young schoolchildren who are growing up in a society where gun violence is normalized.
Although a few social media users posted images of the graffiti, it received a fairly muted response, considering the depiction. Artists around the world have previously painted controversial depictions of Trump, including a mural of him kissing Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.
If the Florence artist was trying to provoke a widespread reaction, he or she may have picked the wrong location. But in Florence, at least some people were a bit disturbed by the mural.
The image at least temporarily centered a heated national debate that has erupted since February's Parkland shooting in Florida. The mural symbolizes that many people will try to keep political focus on the gun control issue until more is done to protect people, particularly children, from the very real and imminent threat of a mass shooting.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria