"I spent about 30 seconds thinking that up."
That’s all it took for La Mesa attorney Scot McMillan to type and send the following (now deleted) tweet:
McMillan’s tweet, of course, is an opinionated reaction to the government’s efforts to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which senior citizens -- and other subgroups of the population like people with immune system deficiencies – are more susceptible to.
McMillan practices law in the La Mesa Village. He thinks of himself as a small town lawyer but unwittingly found a much bigger stage after he pressed send. It wasn’t long before it was quoted by high-level politicians with opinions of their own.
“I had over one million mentions. I had 150,000 visits to my profile," McMillan said. "Yeah, it’s stark and dark, but it just exploded.”
He stopped taking calls after getting nine death threats.
“I thought we were going to have a political discussion. it’s going to be very in the abstract, but it went extremely personal for a lot of people,” he said.
Soon after, news outlets got wind of the massive response and some politicians joined the conversation.
The Washington Post wrote about the tweet and even interviewed McMillan’s parents, a retired couple in their 70s, and the piece drew criticism from Fox News. Two days later, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing "My mother is not expendable".
One Twitter user responded to McMillan’s tweet by calling him a wacko, and another likened the thought to “rhetoric from the 20th century, though those guys called people ‘useless eaters.’” Many pointed out that 2.5% equates to roughly 8 million people in the U.S.
McMillan told NBC 7 the tweet was obnoxious and cold-hearted, and admitted he felt sad about making some people question their value to society, but did not apologize.