Have you ever found yourself walking through the fine streets of San Francisco, Calif., and felt as though there was something … missing? Perhaps the terrifying vibes of 18th-century France? The sweet, sweet scent of decomposing bodies? A new public art installation consisting solely of hanging corpses?
If so, you’re not just weirdly into gore and painfully oblivious to the realities of American history – you also may be Twitter’s latest main character, Michelle Tandler.
On Sunday, April 9, Tandler, an entrepreneur, put her Harvard MBA to excellent use, arguing that the best way to handle the opioid crisis: bringing back public hangings.
“Our society seems to have become seriously complacent,” she wrote as a part of a thread detailing San Francisco’s drug problem. “100 years ago in SF people were publicly hung for their crimes. Often by vigilante groups that wanted to send a message. The hangings worked. Crime would plummet after a few of them. Often for many months at a time.”
Our society seems to have become seriously complacent.— Michelle Tandler (@michelletandler) April 9, 2023
100 years ago in SF people were publicly hung for their crimes. Often by vigilante groups that wanted to send a message.
The hangings worked. Crime would plummet after a few of them. Often for many months at a time.
Despite knowing the histories of local vigilante groups, who “arrested, tried, and punished those they felt had broken the law or offended against public order,” banished citizens, and sentenced eight others to death, per Teaching American History, Tandler was still somehow convinced that hanging people 19th-century style was a good idea.
“Theoretically, if publicly hanging say, 5 fentanyl dealers led to saving the lives of hundreds, is it morally reasonable?” she mused in a subsequent post, evidently oblivious that the answer was clearly “no.”
“Why would most San Francisco residents view my question above as horrifying and immoral?” she continued.
As her post began gaining traction on the platform, Tandler quickly learned why, exactly, so many San Franciscans – or pretty much any American who earned a D or higher in U.S. History for that matter -- the return of Lynching 2.0 is a less-than-stellar idea.
“This person really came online to advocate for lynching the homeless in San Francisco because she's uncomfortable with their homelessness,” wrote one Twitter user, before peppering in a few (arguably deserved) ad-hominem attacks towards Tandler.
This person really came online to advocate for lynching the homeless in San Francisco because she's uncomfortable with their homelessness. What a vile and pathetic human you are, Michelle. https://t.co/vA3l2m8aUu— Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura (@Rrrrnessa) April 10, 2023
“Whiteness is so morbid,” wrote @norabandora. “Michelle, have you ever considered most people wouldn’t take pleasure or joy in watching a public execution take place or seeing a dead body hanging?”
Whiteness is so morbid .. Michelle have you ever considered most people wouldn’t take pleasure or joy in watching a public execution take place or seeing a dead body hanging? https://t.co/Yh2wrVaEzg— (@norabandora) April 10, 2023
Meanwhile, others questioned just how common Tandler’s views may be among self-described opening-minded San Francisco residents.
“The most progressive San Francisco liberal would support a right-wing authoritarian dictatorship if it meant they didn't have to think about homeless people as much,” wrote @tedcruzcontrol.
Though Tandler later clarified that she does “NOT advocate for public hangings,” elaborating that she “brought them up to bring attention to the concept that punishment may have a deterrence effect” she penned in a follow-up post on Monday, April 10, elaborating that “we need to use jail & prison as tools to fight the overdose epidemic,” one question remains.
To quote Twitter user @JacoNext in his reply to Tandler’s thread, “What the fuck is wrong with Californians”?