Kaitlin Marie Bennett is a 22-year-old Kent State graduate who has gone viral after she tweeted out a photo of herself with an AR-10 strapped to her back while holding a graduation cap which read, “COME AND TAKE IT”. An image of a miniature rifle was also crafted onto the cap. Bennett’s photo has resulted in numerous threats, some of which are violent, as a consequence to her demonstrating her political beliefs through the viral photo. The 22-year-old conservative has told reporters that the photo was in protest of the school’s anti-gun policies.
Bennett wrote in the Tweet, accompanying the photo, that she should be able to carry a weapon on campus, considering the fact that the Ohio national guard once opened fire on unarmed Kent State student protesters on May 4, 1970, killing four students in the process.
She sent out the tweet on Tuesday, May 13th, writing that, “Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus. I should have been able to do so as a student – especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus. #CampusCarryNow.”
The Kent State University graduate told Fox News that she finds it insulting that guests of the college are allowed to carry firearms, but students are banned from doing the same. Bennett is referring to Kent State’s policy which bars students, faculty, or staff from carrying “deadly weapons” on campus, according to the university’s website. Considering that Bennett was no longer a student at the time of the photo, she didn’t violate any policy laid out by Kent State University.
“I wanted to draw attention to the gun policies on campus that allow guests to open carry, but not students,” she told FOX News. “I find it insulting that the school values the lives of their guests more than those attending the university for four years.”
Who is Kaitlin Marie Bennett?
Kaitlin Marie Bennett is a recent graduate of Kent State University. She’s a 22-year-old conservative, a supporter of President Donald J. Trump, and an advocate of the second amendment. Bennett is also the founder of Liberty Hangout at Kent State, a politically libertarian group that seeks to promote “peace, prosperity, and property rights since 2015.”
The “About Us” section of the Liberty Hangout website gives a more detailed description of the group’s viewpoints:
“Founded as Young Jeffersonians on February 11, 2015, Liberty Hangout is a libertarian media outlet which strives to bring readers relevant insight into current events, as well as promote Austrian economics and property rights. We believe in self-rule, self-determination, and non-aggression. We believe taxation is theft, and that the services the state provides can and should be privatized. We believe in decentralization down to the individual level, and that the government which is closest to home is easiest to control. “
Bennett is a proud supporter of President Trump on her Twitter account. She has defended his alleged remarks that Haiti is a “sh*thole” country, but reassured that this comment didn’t include the people of Haiti themselves. Trump denies making this comment in the first place regarding the impoverished third-world nation.
“Dear @CNN, Trump said Haiti was a sh*thole COUNTRY,” Bennett wrote. “NOT that Haitians were sh*thole people. Please inform @andersoncooper.”
Bennett is a resident of Zanesville, Ohio. She has her own Facebook like page called Kait’s Unsafe Space, and already has over 40k likes and followers. The guns-rights advocate also has a Twitter page @KaitMarieox, with over 23k followers.
According to Bennett’s personal Facebook page, she studied zoology while attending Kent State University. Her Facebook intro says, “i put a man in a diaper to own the libs | Founder of Liberty Hangout at Kent State 💛🖤”.
Backlash Resulting From Bennett’s Viral Photo
Kaitlin Marie Bennett has faced numerous violent threats as a result of her viral photo with an AR-10, some even threatening her life. The 22-year-old conservative screenshotted one threat from a person saying that “If i ever saw u id best the sh*t out of u no need for a gun just my fist knocking some sense into ur brainless ass.”
The Kent State graduate responded to this threat with the tweet, “Gun control advocates are trying to call me violent for my graduation picture that promotes the right to self-defense, meanwhile I’m getting threatening messages like this in my inbox from these very same people.”
She sent out a tweet two days later, with a similar message in mind.
“Thanks to all who have sent me death threats for taking a picture,” Bennett wrote in a tweet on May 16. “You’re the biggest advocates for gun rights. You proved exactly why people carry.”
Here’s a screenshot of another threat made against Ms. Bennett’s well-being:
In the screenshot, Amanda Berk suggested that Bennett’s photo with the AR-10 and the cap which said “COME AND TAKE IT” is “a threat” and “they should take this white girl down. In handcuffs or a body bag.”
Facebook user Asher Underwood fired back with:
“thanks for responding… only kinda ironic that you are advocating death by violence or persecution by force for her making a political statement. ‘Come and Take it’ is an old slogan which is an appeal to honor 2nd amendment rights. Not sure I understand the psychology of advocating violence or police repression for the advocacy of first and second amendment rights? Please explain or clarify if you have the inclination.”
One person on social media even went as far as to take a jab at Bennett’s “white privilege.” Twitter user HighYella (@tallglasofawsum) wrote, “You think the PD woulda supported this shoot if you had more melanin?? Your white privilege prevents you from answering that question realistically, just a rhetorical question.”
Bennett replied to HighYella by tweeting, “The black officer that was with us during this photoshoot loved it, actually. Give him a call. Kent State University Campus PD.”
Another twitter user wrote, “A white person with a gun at school? Safe? LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”
The 22-year-old gun-rights advocate responded with, “The tolerant and definitely-not-racist left wing at work here, folks.”
“Getting attacked on Twitter by leftists saying because I’m white nothing happened when I was on campus with my rifle, but none of them want to speak to the BLACK officer who was with us the entire time,” Bennett wrote on her personal Facebook page, May 14. “He loved what I was doing and even shared LH videos before. And then they go and tell me I’m a danger to students bc I’m white and not safe w a gun on campus. What is happening? Am i privileged or a school shooter??”
Support For Kaitlin Marie Bennett
Bennett also reportedly received an outpouring of support from members of social media who sent the college graduate positive messages regarding her political statement/viral photo.
Facebook user James Bkny wrote, “I admire your strength of conviction, despite so much shade being thrown your way.” Another Facebook user by the name of Tim Gismonde wrote, “Proud of you girl.” While another user wrote, “You’re my new hero!”
Facebook user Melody Rose Durst Ginther left a comment on Bennett’s May 14th Facebook post, with a meme of a blonde white woman firing a gun. The meme also included words written in all caps: “THE 2ND AMMENDMENT MAKING MORE WOMEN EQUAL THAN THE ENTIRE FEMINIST MOVEMENT.”
Ginther’s meme also includes a personally-written message to Bennett: “I have been defending you everywhere, a bunch of nut case liberals and a bunch of very jealous girls everywhere! You keep doing you, you’re awesome!”
“A sincere thank you to everyone who has sent me a supportive message,” wrote Kaitlin Marie Bennett on her personal Facebook page just before noon on Wednesday, May 17. “I have close to a thousand messages in total on my social media accounts & I wish I could respond to you all. The kindness being thrown my way truly outweighs the negativity, threats, and insults coming from those who don’t respect my second amendment right to self-defense.”