Trump Being Rushed Offstage After A False Gun Threat Is Peak Election Anxiety

Photo: John Locher/AP Images.
Not that anyone needs proof that everyone is completely on edge in the last few days before the presidential election, but an incident at a Donald Trump rally in Reno, NV, on Saturday night certainly illustrates that fact. The Republican presidential nominee was rushed off the stage when members of the crowd alleged that a protester had a gun. The man turned out to be armed with nothing but a sign that read "Republicans Against Trump." The incident started off as a familiar one at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center: Trump stopped his speech to call out the protester, 33-year-old Austyn Crites, claiming that the man had been paid to disrupt the event by the Clinton campaign. But things took a dramatic turn. "I just went with sign that said, 'Republicans Against Trump,’" Crites told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "It’s a sign that you can find online. I held up the sign and initially people around me were just booing me telling me to get out of there. Then, a couple of these guys tried grabbing the sign out of my hands." In the scuffle, someone in the crowd yelled that Crites had a gun. “He had something on his belly. I don’t know what it was,” a bystander named Donald Newton said. “Somebody yelled gun and everyone jumped on him. My friend put his knee on his head but he kept getting up.” Trump was dramatically rushed off the stage by Secret Service agents and Crites was escorted out by police. When no gun was found, he was released without charge. "This is the type of thing that concerns me about Donald Trump," Crites, who is a registered Republican, told KTNV. "People who are fascists, people who are dictators culminate this type of environment. They get people just absolutely ape." Despite the fact that no weapon was found, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a supporter's statement saying, "Hillary ran away from rain today. Trump is back on stage minutes after assassination attempt."
Then, there were Democrats with their own theories about why this particular protest got out of hand. "Or it was some lunatic yelling gun so the person who doesn't support Trump can get shot," tweeted director Judd Apatow. "Interesting how they know to yell that."
It hardly seems surprising to learn that the crowd jumped to this conclusion right away, given how anxious voters from both parties have become. This has been one of the most emotional presidential campaigns in history and those emotions are turned up to 11 this weekend.

Stay calm, everyone
. Perhaps we need to rephrase President Obama's plea for everyone: Don't yell, "Gun!" Vote.

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