Science teacher posts about his “sniper rifle” in response to climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit
An Iowa teacher has been placed on administrative leave after posting a threatening comment about teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg, on social media. The comment was posted on Facebook by Matt Baish on Thursday in response to a local news article about the 16-year-old’s visit to the area.
Baish teaches science at Waterloo West High School. He posted the alarming comment in response to the question “who’s all going?” about Thunberg’s trip to Iowa City the following day. Baish responded “don’t have my sniper rifle,” clearly implying that the only way he would attend such an event would be if he had the opportunity to harm Thunberg.
It’s incredibly frightening, especially coming from a teacher. While it seems that when people post deeply disturbing comments such as this, the argument tends to be that it was merely a joke, there’s no room for joking about gun violence against a 16-year-old child. Not only is it not funny, it’s terrifying. Especially because there is no way to know if this man would actually harm the girl or not.
While the comment was soon deleted, outraged people fired back at him in their own comments. Then, screenshots were captured and posted to the Waterloo Community School District’s Facebook page.
Parents were quick to point out, both on social media, and when talking to the local news station, that Baish was commenting about hurting a child who is the exact same age as the children he teaches science to every day. Parents also said they felt that children might feel unsafe with Biash leading a class after the Facebook comment was posted because they couldn’t share their “opinions” in class. The point is valid, but as Thunberg routinely points out, climate change is not actually a matter of opinion. It’s undeniable fact which science thoroughly supports and has for decades.
Given what a huge climate change activist Thunberg has become and how she seems to be inspiring others to take action, she has quickly become a target among climate change deniers. Trump sarcastically called her a “very happy young girl” and his supporters are constantly attacking her on social media.
On Friday, Thunberg joined more than 3,000 activists at a climate strike in Iowa City. It was yet another event in her #FridaysForFuture strikes where she urges both kids and adults alike to make their voices on climate change heard. If the outrage from climate change deniers is any indication, her initiatives absolutely seem to be working.
Baish has been placed on administrative leave and a police spokesman told the Des Moines Register that law enforcement is investigating him. Baish could not be reached for comment.