In the wee hours of Friday morning, while Boston, a city still struggling with the awful occurrences at Monday’s Boston Marathon, was just beginning to deal with the new tragedies of the killing of an MIT cop, the shooting of an MBTA officer, a chase and shoot-out that ended with one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects killed, and suspect #2, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, wounded, but escaping and on the loose, Arkansas state senator Nate Bell (@NateBell4Ar) thought it appropriate to send the following tweet: “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?”
First, even if the incident hadn’t occurred at Monday’s Boston Marathon, Nate Bell’s tweet would be totally out of line given those killed in Newtown and Aurora, and countless other shooting tragedies in recent memories. I mean, who says this? What public official encourages the clinging-to of not just guns, but weapons with “hi-capacity magazine”s? Well, this morning, when I read this, I stunned that this is something an elected official in the United States of America would say. I needed to write my response. Here it is:
In case you don’t know, I’m a Southerner now living in Boston. Growing up in Kentucky and then living in Mississippi and Tennessee, I have many responsible friends and family members who are gun owners. I don’t have a problem with guns in the right hands. My family hunts and, in the past, I too have hunted. Also, I have gone trap shooting and shot at targets for fun on my family’s land. So, in this instance, my issue isn’t with guns themselves, but rather the context Sen. Bell is speaking of them. My issue is with this elected official’s suggestion that I would have slept better in the nights following the Boston marathon bombing if I had had a gun in my house. I was, and continue to be, beyond upset by the act of violence that occurred at an event I love, celebrating a sport I treasure, in a city that I have been fortunate to call home for over two years. I was, of course, more upset because I was relatively near the explosions – I heard them and felt them and witnessed people rushing away, unknowing if more explosions would follow. In the moments that followed, I maintained composure, but was silently terrified. In those moments, did I want for a weapon to provide me comfort? Hell no! The last thing I considered wanting was a weapon. In fact, I believe if a citizen had brandished a weapon as I was rushing over a bridge from Boston into Cambridge just minutes after two bombings, I would have lost it and can imagine I would have been more terrified. Luckily, I didn’t have that experience, and instead, I was comforted by the presence of officers going above and beyond to protect and serve in those moments and the long days that followed. The bit of quality sleep I did get the past week was due to the fact I knew there were many brave officers working diligently to protect me and those I love, and to catch the f*@kers who perpetuated terror on the city and people I love. I put my faith in our law enforcement officers and the government officials of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and am proud that I did so. Boston is one. Whether born and raised here, or here for only a few short years, like myself, we all love this city and we are tough. We speak our minds and defend our own, not just on Twitter or with t-shirts, but in the voting booth each election day. That’s why we have officials representing us who we trust and who are aligned with our beliefs and convictions. That’s why a city went silent yesterday and that’s why today we are beginning to heal, instead of crouching in a corner clinging to the false security of a loaded weapon. I try not to speak poorly of people, but Nate Bell is an idiot. And, given the fact that this tweet has been deleted, and an apology has been made on his Nate Bell for Arkansas Representative Facebook Page, it seems his consultants informed him of his idiocy and attempted to control the damage.
Well, it’s too late. The moment Mr. Bell hit “Tweet”, he told the world how insensitive and cold he is. He told us all how he doesn’t see the big picture and doesn’t understand the difference between a hunting rifle or a small pistol for self protection and a weapon that has the ability to kill hundreds of people in minutes. When he said “hi-capacity magazine” he might as well have said, “I’m an idiot who doesn’t undertand the historical context in which the United States Constitution was written, but that’s okay cause I got my machine gun to keep me warm at night.”
In the words of, Ed Bogle (@MarlboroDad), “@NateBell4ARI invite you to Boston. So you can witness true toughness, compassion and humanity. Toughest city on earth. No guns required.”
To read more responses to Nate Bell’s tweet, check out Boston.com’s piece on folk’s responses on Twitter.