by Max Brantley
More mail arrives on Nate Bell's use of the Boston bombing and police slayings to take a crack at liberals and gun control. I received this letter by e-mail:
I am a proud Arkansas native, and I am a proud Bostonian...three years now. I, like all Americans, was shaken to the core last Monday when two bombs ripped through the streets of my city, our city, killing three, injuring more, and devastating millions. A result of this tragedy has been something for which I am certain these terrorists did not bargain: that these brave people would run toward the blast of bombs so that they might help save others, the displays of kindness shown by complete strangers to those affected, and the knitting-together of a nation in support of its home city. Sadly, after a night and day of a manhunt for the people that did this, I read with utter embarrassment of the communication sent out by Arkansas Representative Nate Bell from his Twitter account in which he politicized a tragedy and insulted a people in pondering "how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a high capacity magazine." You, sir, should be ashamed. While I have sense enough to know that this opinion is only yours and in no way reflects on the people of my home state, it represents an almost sociopathic disregard for human suffering and rightly casts you as the embodiment of a political culture more concerned with scoring points at any cost than actually serving others. Know this, Mr. Bell: You would not be able to stand in the shadow of these amazing people—they are too large for the pettiness and coldness that you have displayed. Know that you are a shameful representative of the great people of Arkansas that suffer right along with us. Go home, Mr. Bell. Arkansas does not need your brand of leadership.
Some in the media continue to report erroneously that Bell apologized for his remark. He never did. Only for the 'timing.' The quality of that "apology" is noted in this letter from a retired judge in Paragould.
I am a 61 year old lifetime resident of the Great State of Arkansas. For almost 15 years, I had the privilege of serving as an elected Circuit Judge in the Second Judicial Circuit in Arkansas, and now sit as a Retired Circuit Judge as assigned by the AR Supreme Court.
I have never been as appalled by a statement made by an Arkansas elected official as the one you made today. You have caused untold scorn to be heaped upon this wonderful state.
I certainly understand your rights under the First Amendment. However, your shallow attempt to then try and make an apology falls far short of what I would expect from an elected State Representative under these circumstances.
At this point, the only course of conduct I feel you can take in order to rectify your callous and cavalier behavior is to immediately resign your position.
Prove to the citizens of Arkansas you have the ability to do the right thing!
Circuit Judge (Retired)
Bell, meanwhile, has something approaching 8,000 comments on his Facebook page to his original comment and his non-apology apology. Vituperation rate is high. His own Twitter account has been relatively silent. But one comment he re-tweeted after the furor erupted over his remark was this remark sympathetic to his advocacy of high-capacity magazines:
Dana Loesch @DLoesch ==
Majority of my family lives in a rural area where response time is 20+ minutes. Rounds count when help isn’t available.
Really? Are there places in the country — Polk County? — where shootouts with hundreds of rounds of ammo are common, akin to a cowboys-and-Indians shoot-em-up movie? Wonder how many @danaloesch or @natebell4ar have engaged in?
A comment on the top of Facebook comments to Bell this morning was typical: