GLENS FALLS — So, today I was at Centennial Circle for another pro-Trump rally that police had warned ahead of time, might have unloaded weapons present as a show of support for the Second Amendment.
In reality, there were only a handful of supporters at the rally and there were no visible weapons.
Still, when a member of the North Country Deplorables noticed me at the rally, he raised an orange plastic-looking gun that was more than likely a toy of some sort, maybe a Nerf Blaster that looks like a brightly colored machine gun.
He cocked the gun twice, held it up in the air and shouted through a megaphone, "Here Post-Star is my unloaded rifle. Here's my 10-round clip."
And that action set the man off on a barrage of fake news epithets before he turned toward me, lifted the fake gun and pointed it directly at my face, calling me by name.
"Here, Tomaselli, you are a fake reporter."
"Tomaselli is a liberal fake reporter," he shouted through the megaphone.
All the while, the gun is still pointed at my face.
As a response, I just kept my finger on my camera's speed shooting button, thinking, "just get the picture."
The man then threatened the newspaper.
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"We've got one coming for you, Post-Star," he shouted through the megaphone.
The thing is, while I was doing my job, I tried to just do my job. But, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, 'you are taking pictures of a man who is pointing a gun at you and threatening you.'
Whether the gun is real, fake, plastic, metal, loaded or unloaded, I am thinking it has the same halting effect. A gun pointed at anyone is a threatening act, real or perceived as real.
Because of this, several states have passed brandishing laws as they relate to toy guns, making all threats with any type of gun a crime. In some states its a felony.
And each year, police around the nation shoot and kill kids with toy guns, believing the gun they are playing with is real.
In New York, fake guns can only be sold if they are entirely one or more of the following colors: White, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, bright purple, transparent with internal contents visible or translucent with stained or frosted glass.
Additionally, the barrel of the fake gun must be plugged for at least a ½-inch by material that is the same as the gun.
And now, several hours after the encounter, I am still thinking about how it feels to have a gun, even though fake, pointed directly at me while trying to do my job.
Years ago, my brother played with toy, gun-slinger cowboy guns that were strapped on his waist, shooting me at every turn, sometimes with caps added. I didn't like it then and I still don't.