With the help of State Senator and former professional magician Jeb Bradley, Sen. Kelly Ayotte has been trying to make the problems created by her vote against background checks magically disappear.
That will be quite a trick. Surveys by UNH and New England College, respectively, showed that 94 percent and 88 percent of New Hampshire residents favor background checks. Yet, Ayotte voted against them. As a result, her approval ratings dropped 15 points in a Public Policy Poll, in the process going “upside down” with only 44 percent approving of her job performance and 46 percent disapproving.
Shazam! Ayotte subsequently conducted a full-blown smoke and mirrors campaign to undo the damaging effect of her vote. She was scheduled to conduct three town hall meetings. However, knowing the current cranky mood of the voters, Ayotte wasn’t exactly encouraging a large turnout. According to the New York Times (4/30/13), “Though her office organized a series of town meetings across the state this week, it barely publicized them. On the way out of the meeting here (Warren, NH), she ignored reporters’ questions.”
The Times’ continues, “It was 45 minutes into Senator Kelly Ayotte’s town hall-style meeting here on Tuesday and the local Republican official screening question topics had allowed just one query on gun control. A few in the crowd of about 150 started to get agitated. . . In an effort to settle the room down, Ms. Ayotte turned to Erica Lafferty, whose mother was one of the 27 people who were killed in the shootings in Newtown, Conn.”
“Ms. Lafferty, 27, asked the senator about (her) previous remark that background checks could burden gun stores. ‘I’m just wondering,’ she said, her back stiffening, ‘why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn’t as important?’”
Things didn’t get any better for Ayotte later that day at a Town meeting in Tilton, NH. The moderator shouted “Let the Senator finish please,” as gun safety advocates shouted from the crowd and waved signs that read “demand an end to gun violence.” It was here that former magician and current State Sen. Bradley allowed only one question on background checks and publicly admitted that he purposely screened out the rest. (Abracadabra, embarrassing questions go away!)
Bradley later said, “There were many, many questions on guns supporting her position, and there were some against . . .”
Now, that’s really interesting. The forms completed by those at the meeting who wanted to ask a question requested only their names and the topics of the issues for which they wanted answers. Nothing else. Yet, Bradley somehow knew much more than just the topic of the question. He knew, for example, how many questions supported background checks and how many were against it. Being a magician, I guess Bradley must have psychic powers. Or he didn’t tell the truth.
The third town meeting was held in Fitzwilliam, NH. Gilles Rousseau, the father of Lauren Rousseau who died of multiple gunshot wounds protecting children at Sandy Hook Elementary School attended. Rousseau carried a teddy bear, a picture of his daughter, and her death certificate. He attempted to ask a question about background checks, but was ignored.
It was at the Fitzwilliam meeting that Ayotte attempted yet another way to explain away her vote against background checks. She said that she voted against background checks because she feared they would create a national gun registry. Either Ayotte isn’t very well informed or she was playing fast and loose with the truth. The Manchin-Toomey bill in three different places explicitly bans the federal government from creating a gun registry and considers any attempt to do so a felony crime punishable by 15 years in prison.
Having fared poorly at making her unpopular background check vote disappear (expecto patronum!) at town hall meetings, Ayotte attempted to do so by waving a magic wand in newspaper editorials. In an editorial appearing in both the Concord Monitor (5/6/2013) and the Portsmouth Herald (5/5/2013), Ayotte wrote, “Despite what the false attack ads say, I helped introduce and voted for the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which improves the existing background check system . . .”
The Monitor(5/12/2013) would have none of that. ”The attempted misdirection continued with Ayotte’s attempt to explain her vote and rebut her critics in a column that appeared in the Monitor and elsewhere Tuesday. In it Ayotte explains that she voted for improved background checks before voting against them. But the Republican-backed bill Ayotte did support would do nothing to expand background checks at gun shows and it would have weakened gun laws as much as strengthened them. That’s why it had the backing of the National Rifle Association.”
So Ayotte has been reduced to one last hope to escape her infamous background check vote. If she sprinkles fairy dust on the public, people may grow sleepy and over time forget her vote. Actually, the noise created by the sound of guns killing 30,000 Americans annually is likely to keep us awake and focused.
The combined Finance and Ways and Means Committee vote was 23 to ITL, 22 to reject the motion.
Among Democrats, the vote was 12 for ITL; 13 against ITL
|Way & Means||Abrami||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Almy||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ames||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Azarian||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Butynski||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Cooney||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Davis||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Griffin||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Hess||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Karrick||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Kelley||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Lovejoy||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Major||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ober, Russ||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Sanborn||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Sapareto||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Schamberg||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Shattuck||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ulery||(r)||no|
|Finance||Weyler||(r)||absent||(Priestly appointed to his seat, voting no)|
|Way & Means||Young||(d)||no|
It has been posited that the esoteric (my term) economy has been hijacked by terrorists. I think that’s probably a stretch. What we have in the U.S. is a coterie of petty potentates aiming to hold on to what little power they have by inflicting damage as they run. Terrorists aim to get power; our petty potentates are barely holding on.
That’s the conclusion of what follows.
An American tragedy in Burkesville, Kentucky. On April 30, Stephanie Sparks was paying little attention to her children, 5-year-old Kristian and 2-year old Caroline, when she stepped outside her kitchen door to pour some grease from the frying pan into her dog’s dish. Suddenly, Mrs. Sparks heard a gun go off. When she rushed back inside, Mrs. Sparks discovered to her horror that her son had killed her daughter with a single shot to the chest.
The son wasn’t playing with his dad’s firearm. You see 5-year-old Kristian had a gun of his own. His Crickett rifle was designed especially for small children by Keystone Sporting Goods of Milton, Pennsylvania. To make it more appealing to kids, the Crickett comes in colors ranging from plain brown to hot pink to orange to royal blue to multi-color swirls. Keystone Sporting Goods claims that it produced 60,000 rifles for young children in 2008.
The rifle stood in a corner of the Sparks’ kitchen. The gun had a lock to prevent a child from loading more bullets, but nothing to stop it from being fired. Unfortunately, a bullet was already in the chamber, and that bullet was the one that killed Caroline.
It is not my purpose to condemn the Sparks for their carelessness. Their grief is punishment enough. Certainly, in a nation of 310 million people, children can die for many reasons, a shot from a gun being just one of them. Let me save my anger for a company, Keystone Sporting Goods, that makes a lethal weapon for small children. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal (5/2/2013), “On its website, the company offers a ‘Kids’ Corner’ with pictures of small boys and girls and testimonials from parents, including one who says the rifles are ‘just the right size for my 5- and 7-year olds.’”
There is a reason kids aren’t allowed to vote, to drink alcohol, to drive cars, and are required to attend school. They are minors. They haven’t had enough life experiences to make wise decisions. While they mature, their parents and society in general are charged with protecting children, sometimes from themselves. Not only did Keystone Sporting Goods not protect their small customers, it actually contributed to the likelihood that they would harm themselves by providing them with guns. Keystone Sporting Goods is truly a merchant of death.
The Courier-Journal adds, “In an interview, Dr. Denise Dowd, an emergency room pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City who co-wrote the American Academy of Pediatricians policy on children and guns, said she was ‘blown away’ that anyone would give a rifle to a 5-year-old. ‘We don’t give our kids the keys to our car, and there is a good reason for it,’ she said.”
The Courier-Journal continues, “The pediatricians’ group says on its website that the safest home for a child is one without guns, and that if a family keeps guns, they should be stored, locked and unloaded.”
“Ah,” you say, “don’t these kids have their parents’ permission to own Crickett rifles?” In rural areas of Kentucky, it is traditional for small children to own guns, sometimes for hunting. Well, there are traditions, and then there are traditions. Many are helpful, but some are actually harmful. Few among us would argue about the value of the traditional celebration of holidays such as Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. On the other hand, the tradition of drinking too much on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day or your 21st birthday leads to car accidents and, generally speaking, more harm than good. A classmate of mine entered the 5th grade minus two fingers because he engaged in the tradition of kids setting off fireworks on the 4th of July.
Let’s put the tradition of giving small children their own firearms in the category of a really bad idea and a really bad tradition. Let’s make it illegal – everywhere.
U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is not the only New Hampshire politician who should be feeling heat from her town halls last week. Tucked between the uproar over constituent disapproval of Ayotte’s vote against expanded background checks — a measure which 89% of her constituents support — is the sad story that New Hampshire State Senator and former Congressman Jeb Bradley admitted on video that he purposely screened out constituent questions about Ayotte’s vote against background checks.
Not only does Bradley fess up to being more concerned about fulfilling his Ayotte ‘election protection’ team duties than making sure Granite State constituents were able to ask the questions actually on their minds, Bradley even goes so far as to tell a reporter that, of the questions submitted:
“There were many, many questions on guns supporting her position, and there were some against …” – Jeb Bradley
Which is a pretty incredible statement given the fact that the forms Bradley had only asked constituents to list their name and the issue topic they had a question about – not the actual questions:
Jeb Bradley should be embarrassed to have helped a public official duck from her constituents, but moreover he should be downright ashamed that he tried to cover up that misstep by perpetuating a lie. If Kelly Ayotte feels comfortable enough to vote against 89 percent of her constituents, she should be comfortable enough to answer their questions about those votes. For Jeb Bradley — someone who is reportedly kicking around the idea of running for higher office — to think that his election protection team efforts and quick misdirects are more important than the rights of constituents is representative of what one could expect from Bradley, himself, should he be in higher office. And that is a truth that should stay on the minds of New Hampshire voters in 2014 and 2016.
GSP Video: Bradley Admits to Screening Out Gun Questions at Ayotte Town Hall
(edit: reporter believed to be Manu Raju of Politico)
Unidentified Reporter: How do you choose the questions? There was only one question on guns.
Jeb Bradley: Well, she answered in great depth at the beginning of her town hall, talked about her vote on guns, and I just felt that given we had a limited amount of time and there were a number of other questions, that people should have the chance to ask other questions as well as on guns. I mean, we could have spent an hour and a half just talking about guns. I didn’t think it would be productive. There were many, many questions on guns supporting her position, and there were some against her position, so I just – (shrugs)
Reporter: But given that it’s been such a subject of controversy, shouldn’t there have been more –
Bradley: I thought she addressed — I — she addressed, she addressed, and if there’s any issue on that it’s mine, not hers.
Bradley: I have no –she addressed it –
Reporter: She didn’t ask you to take it out?
Bradley: Nope, nope, nope. I was given all the questions and they didn’t screen any of them.
One man’s punishment is another man’s abuse. Literally. Nobody admits to being an abuser, but punishing “them that deserve it” is widely practiced. Who “deserves” to be punished? Well, if one listens to the Cons’ assertion that everybody is born evil, punishment and deprivation are the default conditions and the right to go on living has to be earned.
However, it’s not necessary to be overt and posit an ideological rationalization. Abuse spawns resentment and then resentment turns around and punishes to even the score. It’s a reverse cost/benefit situation in which the loss and deprivation are visited on strangers.
Abusers punish someone else because they can’t retaliate against whoever beat them up. In a just society there’d be an intervention and abusers would not get away with their behavior from the get go.
A society which tolerates abuse is unjust.