by Max Brantley
A Twitter by Nate Bell set the web on fire this morning. His post, responses and more follow below. But to get quickly to the latest news. He's issued a non-apology apology by Twitter and Facebook:
I would like to apologize to the people of Boston & Massachusetts for the poor timing of my tweet earlier this morning. As a staunch and unwavering supporter of the individual right to self defense, I expressed my point of view without thinking of its effect on those still in time of crisis. In hindsight, given the ongoing tragedy that is still unfolding, I regret the poor choice of timing. Please know that my thoughts and prayers were with the people of Boston overnight and will continue as they recover from this tragedy.
Apology would be accepted if he'd made one. His absymal judgment — and this wasn't the first episode — lives on regardless of apology.
Bell has been elusive for reporters seeking him today. You wonder, given his fears and often expressed needs for the ability to have weapons at the ready in public, if he's surrounded himself with weapons today on account of the backlash. Words are pretty powerful, aren't they, Rep. Bell? The Internet might even be more powerful than your semi-automatic.
Following is what was posted earlier today.
(For readers new to this site: Nate Bell is a Republican state representative from Mena. For those unfamiliar with the unfolding story to which he referred, it's the Boston bombing aftermath in which one armed police officer was killed, another armed officer was wounded and other armed police failed to stop a speeding SUV in the hunt for two suspects.)
This just in: A response from Boston is shown below. It's going viral. Comments piling up at Boston writer Charles Pierce's blog. Also, Think Progress chimes in on his remark about cowering liberals in Boston.
UPDATE: House Speaker Davy Carter, a fellow Republican, issued a statement today apologizing for Nate Bell.
“On behalf of the Arkansas House of Representatives and the state of Arkansas, I want to extend my deepest apologies to the people of the City of Boston and the state of Massachusetts for the inappropriate and insensitive comment made this morning by an Arkansas House member. I can assure the people of Boston and the people of Massachusetts that Arkansans have them in their thoughts and prayers during this tragic time.”
David Goins of grabbed a video interview with Bell, not a simple and true apology. It's still, first, an apology for his timing. Also:
* DISSED BY OWN: House Republican Leader Bruce Westerman issued a statement distancing the House Republican Caucus from Bells' remarks.
* DISSED BY DEMS: Somewhat belatedly, House Democratic Leader Greg Leding also took a crack at the bumptious Bell (and after him, Bill Halter):
Little Rock — Democratic House Leader Greg Leding of Fayetteville issued the following statement regarding a tasteless tweet from Republican state representative Nate Bell of Mena:
“Rep. Bell's comments regarding the unfolding terror in Boston are tasteless and uncaring. A proud and patriotic city has endured heartbreak since Monday's lethal bombings at the Boston Marathon, and brave men and women are at this very moment hunting down a dangerous suspect they believe to be responsible for those attacks as well as last night's murder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier and the shooting of Richard H. Donohue, Jr., a member of the city's transit system police force.
“The people of Boston are not cowards. They are patriots. No one, including Rep. Bell, should ever infer that the American people are anything other than courageous, and the only words we should be offering to the people of Boston are those of support and of prayer.
“I can't speak for them, but I would imagine every other member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, the Arkansas Senate, and Arkansans everywhere find Rep. Bell's comments to be as reprehensible as I do. Boston is a city of patriots, and all Arkansans should stand with them today.”
From Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter:
From Bill Halter:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Americans in Boston. A terrorist remains on the loose and innocent people are in harm's way. Such inappropriate comments at this time are insensitive, uncaring and certainly do not reflect the values of Arkansans."