The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, listed in the Bill of Rights, reads as follows:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
What say you, Rhode Island Senator Joshua Miller (D, Cranston, Providence) (language warning)?
The primary problem with this sort of talk from an elected official is that it erodes Rhode Islanders’ confidence that their government works for them, even when the people currently in power happen to disagree on particular issues. If we don’t insist on some minimum standard of conduct, then Rhode Island deserves the government it gets.
Credit to Dan Bidondi for posting the video and being one of Rhode Island’s willing targets.
Sen. Miller has issued the following statement through the Senate’s press office:
Last Tuesday a vast group of Rhode Islanders gathered peacefully in the State House rotunda to voice their concerns about gun violence in our state and in our country. They also gathered to support sensible gun legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons, ban the sale of high capacity magazines, ban weapons on school grounds and deny firearm access to individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.
At the end of a press conference in which I participated, an individual representing a website notorious for conspiracy theories started berating members of the coalition and intimidating elderly veterans, members of the clergy and victims of violence.
It quickly became a highly charged atmosphere, which required the presence of the Capitol Police. The individual in question is not new to the State House and is known for his aggressive and intimidating manner. He also was interrupting legitimate members of the media who were attempting to conduct interviews.
After watching him antagonize an elderly veteran he swung his camera my way, which produced a very human and guttural reaction. I respect both the Second Amendment and the First Amendment. It is important to note that the individual in question was physically removed from a committee room by the Capitol Police later that evening.Regardless of the emotions and atmosphere of the moment, it does not justify the language I used that day. Out of respect for the decorum of the State House and the constituents I represent, I offer my apologies.
It’s good that the Senator acknowledges his error. I’d note, however, that he doesn’t mention that his behavior inspired a lackey to follow his lead, and watching the video, he doesn’t give the impression of a man who’s been worked into such a frenzy of emotion that he lost control.
But the apology will probably halt the controversy at the gates of Twitter and alternative Web sites. It shouldn’t, but we’ll see.