Terry Jones’ imaginary protests — and that gunshot


Pastor Terry Jones at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. (PHELAN EBENHACK/REUTERS)

Terry Jones showed up in Dearborn, Mich., to protest something that wasn’t happening, and he almost shot himself in the foot?

Yes.

Terry Jones recently decided to swoop down to protest sharia law’s takeover in Dearborn. Never mind that Dearborn is not, as far as anyone is able to tell, under sharia law. Why let something pesky like that stand in the way of a good protest?

And while waiting to see whether the protest could go forward, Jones shot his car in the floorboard in an apparent accident in the parking lot of a television studio.

None of this comes as much of a surprise. This is Terry Jones we’re talking about, he of the white mustache, the illogical Koran-burning provocateur. You or I might reply to remarks like “Why are you protesting? There is no sharia law here,” or “I don’t think the safety is on for that thing!” with “Oh, whoops, I’ll just be leaving then,” and “Apparently not, thank you!” Mr. Jones’ responses fall more along the lines of “So?” and “Bang!”

So now he’s shot himself in the floorboard of his car, and he still won’t leave Michigan.

But I have to say I like his thinking.

Why protest something that is really happening? What really happens is seldom as bad as what you could picture happening. And if it’s happening, you’re already too late.

No, for once Mr. Jones is right. We must start protesting things that are not occurring.“I am here to protest the fact that DC has been overrun by murderous gnomes,” I will yell, blocking a large stretch of sidewalk while passersby shoot me strange looks.

“I am here to protest the fact that Joe Biden is actually several live rabbits in a clever disguise,” I will say, standing outside the Vice President’s residence. “I demand justice for the leporine population!”

“How dare you construct a Death Star?” I will yell, picketing outside the Defense Department.

“Stop giving our jobs to the reanimated corpse of Karl Marx!” I will shout at Barack Obama, foaming at the mouth and screaming. “Your decision to create a zombie army is opposed to the American way!”

“None of these things are happening,” everyone will respond. “Why are you doing this?”

“They might be!” I will yell back. “Anything might happen! And if I waited for real things to protest, I might have to wait a long time! Besides, I put a lot of effort into making these signs.”

Terry Jones, for the most part, has left a disgraceful record of himself, with inflammatory actions that distance him from much of the common run of people. But this is one legacy that I think we should embrace: imaginary protests.

I just wish the protesters were imaginary too.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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