A second-term state senator from mid-Michigan provokes online criticism with this post Tuesday:
Critics wish he kept his swipes at Detroit as concealed as his pistol. Finger wagging on his Facebook page comes even from people who call themselves admirers.
"I've always respected you for being fair and considerate, Rick Jones," says Haywood Edwards of Lansing, a state employee. "I wish that you hadn't said that."
From Farmington, clinical social worker Larry Herren posts: "I like you, Rick, and I support you. But I encourage you not to make such a flippant statement. What it implies is not accurate."
And a Clinton County constituent, Linda Glover of Eagle, Mich., tells her senator: "Still lots to do to rehab the city, but . . . discouraged when leaders present Detroit in a negative light."
The Republican lawmaker from Grand Ledge, who has fewer than 1,500 followers on the social media platform, tells Dana Afana of MLive why he feels the status post is appropriate:
"It is a city that has three or four people shot at the fireworks. . . .
"I have a strong belief as a former police officer that everybody has the right to protect themselves. Be prepared and if you can legally carry, you can carry.""
Jones served for more than 30 years in the Eaton County Sheriff's Department, including four as the elected sheriff before winning a state House seat in 2004. He has been a senator since 2011.
The MSU alumnus came downstate Tuesday "to learn about pawn shop businesses in a visit to American Jewelry and Loan, a Greenfield Road store featured in the truTV reality show 'Hardcore Pawn,'" Afana writres
His pre-7 a.m. post is shared more than 80 times and draws dozens of comments from critics and admirers. Jones replies to one critic by asking: "Then you don't agree with the police chief who said everyone who can legally carry in Detroit should be prepared to defend themselves."
Three hours after Tuesday's first post, the senator shares a link on Facebook to a report at Motor City Muckraker about people wounded by gunfire Monday night during Detroit's fireworks.
Below is a sampling of reactions on his Facebook page from opposing viewpoints. Critics also push back elsewhere on social media.
► "It's always a good idea when the good guys have guns no matter where they are." -- Kelly Woods, Waverly, Mich.
► "Good man! Stay safe." -- Mike Boufford, Howell
► "I don't often carry, but when I do it's definitely in Detroit." -- Fred McPhail
► "I wouldn't go anywhere without my pistol anymore." -- Tom Meiser, Allegan, Mich.
► "I don't go to Detroit unless I have a lot of firepower behind me. Good for you for taking the steps needed to defend yourself. Every sound person should take this necessary step to help ensure some safety while traveling to any city in America." -- Tom Birman, Jr., Ovid, Mich.
► "I don't recall you announcing when making trips to other areas that you have a CPL." -- A'Lynne Dukes, Lansing
► "I grew up going to Detroit, and my family and I never carry. The city is in the midst of a great renaissance revival and we need to promote a positive image of its rich and vibrant culture. It is increasing safety. Your comment disappoints me." -- Kerry Shadbolt, Dansville, Mich.
► "I love going to Detroit for work and fun. Never bring a gun with me and have always felt safe. So many fantastic places to go." -- Peri Stone-Palmquist, Ypsilanti
► "I have lived in Metro Detroit since 1968, and that includes areas in Detroit. I go there often for various reasons and have never been afraid. I even worked there for many years and never was afraid. I even have been in some of the "worst" areas of Detroit alone and felt perfectly safe. I do not own and never plan to own a gun, and don't feel I need one for my personal safety. If you don't feel safe in Detroit and don't like Detroit, then I suggest you not visit. We won't miss you!" -- Reyes E. Smith, Royal Oak
► "I've been working here in the city, at an intake agency for Detroit homeless, for the last 18 months. I'm not opposed to CPLs, but I don't have one and I have never been in a situation here in the city that I felt the need to. I like you, Rick, and I support you. But I encourage that you not make such a flippant statement. What it implies is not accurate." -- Larry Herren, Farmington