I should confess something. For a long time, I’ve dismissed the threat of the Tea Party and its adherents because their observations about government and interpretation of the Constitution are so comical that it’s hard to imagine anyone takes them seriously. After watching a few hours of testimony on SB 114, I’m less dismissive, not because their ideas seem any less ridiculous, but because many of them earnestly believe the conspiracy theories they espouse.
Senator Hinkle (R-Marbut)’s bill was supported by exactly one law enforcement official and a collection of people charitably described as unhinged. It was opposed by county attorneys and law enforcement. You know, the people who actually have to work to combat crime, not the ones who only do it at fantasy gun camp with Gary Marbut, who actually referred to “black ninja suits” during his testimony today.
In the end, though, the Republican majority on the committee voted unanimously to disregard the advice of Legislative legal counsel, hamstring federal law enforcement,and ignore the supremacy clause of the Constitution because:
- some unnamed guy in the 1980s was briefly detained by federal marshals.
- some lunatic thinks a federal agent is spying on him in a Park Service vehicle.
- “the Constitution dictates that sheriffs must be our first line of defense” and “because the federal government has chosen not to protect our borders.”
- “of the march towards world government” and the 2005 meeting that established the “North American Union.”
- someone heard on Fox News that federal agents have secret unsigned warrants.
- someone was upset because a FWP agent (you know, from the state) gave some tickets without calling the local sheriff.
Additionally, stories like this one from the Associated Press need to do a better job of talking about the actually discussion that transpires at these meetings. Matt Volz writes:
At Friday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, dozens of people waited in line to condemn the government or to say their rights are being chipped away.
While factually accurate, the bland description hardly captures the full-fledged lunacy of the remarks made by proponents. News coverage needs to do more than discuss the existence of two sides on an issue; it should accurately depict the nature of the arguments presented by both sides.
A final note: thanks to Senator Augare for defending the integrity of federal law enforcement officials today.