As the elections are nearing, the Republicans in the United States are across the internet, for all the right and wrong reasons. A conservative county supervisor in Central Virginia becomes yet another Republican to be in the headlines, drawing condemnation for tweeting about gunning down the pro-marijuana demonstrators, who had stormed the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Andy Harris, this Tuesday.
On the same day, Manuel Alvarez Jr. is a Republican supervisor in rural Goochland County, who replied to a post about protesters trying to force their way into Harris’s office, he saw on his Twitter feed.
Alvarez wrote, “With one reload, I can take 34 of them. But my guess is one will be sufficient.”
The Tweet gathered extensive negative reaction from several users. Later that day, the supervisor noticed the criticism and deleted the post immediately. However, by then, users beyond his 636 followers had already noticed the tweet.
On Wednesday, during a telephone interview, Alvarez said“It was a joke; nothing more than that.” Calling the post “stupid,” he added, “Everybody here knows me, knows who I am, and that I’m not that way. I shouldn’t have done it.”
The tweet generated a strong and outraged response, as the US is already deeply polarized and grappling with frequent mass shootings in schools and elsewhere.
One commenter wrote, “Really Manny? You should be careful of what you say, sounds a lot like a threat. You are better than that.”
“Wow, making death threats? Seems like something else the @FBI should investigate,” said another.
Co-chair of the local Democratic Party committee,Tina Winkler said that during past few months, Alvarez and another Republican supervisor have been posting “rage tweets.” Their views have caught many in the quiet community of 22,300 off guard with.
Manuel Alvarez had arrived to the Richmond area as a refugee from Cuba in the early 1970s. In 2011, he was elected on a platform of slashing public spending in Goochland.
As a county supervisor, he has always worked for the welfare of the people of Goochland, and has majorly looked into the local causes, such as enhancing the Internet connectivity.
However, on social media, Alvarez often weighs in on national politics.
Even in the Brett Kavanaugh’s case of sexual assault allegations, he had tweeteda response to a decision by Sen. Jeff Flaketo call for the FBI to investigate. He wrote, “Flake should have been removed as a senator for colluding with the enemy Castro brothers.”
Regarding his latest tweet on the pro-marijuana protestors, Alvarez said that he is not a sophisticated user of social media. He also stated that his tweet posted was without a proper understanding on what it was about, while he was also half distracted by preparations for that night’s county board meeting.
The county supervisor informed that he read about Harris’s office being broken into on his feed. He said that as a gun owner his gut instinct was that he would want to protect himself if he were in that situation.
He said, “I responded to what seemed like a threat inside someone’s office or home. My office is in my home, and if somebody broke in here, I would do whatever I could to protect my family.”
However, Alvarez said that he’s saddened by the stir he’s caused.
Regarding the shooting protesters, he said, “I would never do that. It’s not in my character. It’s not in my nature.”
Referring to Twitter, Alvarez said, “I think I’m just going to have to get off of it.”
Although when he was later asked whether he was serious about quitting social media, he said, “Probably not.”
What looks like a oblivious move, could also be an act of coming out of the stirred up hornets’ nest that Alvarez has caused for himself.