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MARSOC Makes 'Lone Shooter' Joke in Tweet About MLK Day

Whoever runs the Marine Corps Special Operations Command's official Twitter handle got in trouble this morning for a tweet sent out asking Marines to stay safe over the three-day Martin Luther King holiday.

The tweet made reference to a "lone shooter," which caught many people's attention considering Martin Luther King was assassinated by a lone gunman.

The full tweet posted by @MARSOCofficial was: "Don't be lone shooter #MLK weekend! make sure you've got security - stay safe! #MARSOC #Marines #shortbarrelforVBSS." The photo posted with the tweet showed a Marine aiming a short barrel rifle out a window.

MARSOC officials quickly deleted the tweet following a firestorm of criticism on Twitter. The tweet was deleted 30 minutes after it was posted.

At 1:30 p.m. @MARSOCofficial posted an apology from MARSOC officials that read:

"Marines leaders will frequently take the opportunity to remind their personnel to make wise decisions and look out for each other especially before a long holiday weekend. The intent of our recent post was to remind personnel to partner up when going out over the weekend and to look out for each other using military jargon.

When we were alerted to the potential that this military post could be viewed as insensitive or offensivve when combined with the historical facts concerning Martin Luther King Jr., we immeditately took it down and apologize for any untended disrespect or misperceptions.

Commanders and Marines everywhere are being encouraged this weekend to reflect on Dr. King's work and the principles he upheld. Martin Luther King day empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers and moves everyone closer to realizing Dr. King's visions -- we are proud to remember Dr. King's life, sacrifices and accomplishments."

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday being observed this year on Jan. 20 in correspondence with his birthday on Jan. 15. One of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement, the clergyman will always be remembered for his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. King now has his own monument in Washington D.C.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tenn., when he was shot by James Earl Ray standing on the second floor balcony of a hotel. Ray died in prison in 1998.

Marine Corps Times and Foreign Policy's The Complex first broke the story. The screen grab shown in this story was captured by Foreign Policy's Dan Lamothe who graciously allowed DoD Buzz to repost.

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