Cranston, RI – My dashboard started blowing up today with a disturbing video of a Rhode Island state senator – Cranston’s Sen. Joshua Miller – degrading a member of the media.
Here I was, quietly working on a story, and a headline, introducing video of Sen. Josh Miller (D-Dist 28) at last week’s Gun Rights rally at the State House jumped right off the page.
“He told the reporter to what,” I said aloud.
Gun rallies aren’t usually a place where you’ll find people who are afraid to speak their minds and Senator Miller was not to be outdone by parties on either side of any 2nd Amendment debate.
Many 2nd Amendment supporters come well-prepared to voice their opinions, whether those opinions are rational, mainstream or popular. Those seeking tighter restraints and stricter gun laws get emotional.
Gun rallies are generally not a good place to be if you aren’t prepared to answer questions as a politico.
Having interviewed the Senator in the past and worked with his office, I found the headlines questionable – hard to believe, really.
The video, circulating, now internationally, (received via many different streams) quelled any doubts. It isn’t something that I personally care to post here on TraceyC_Online. Aside from the comment, more disturbingly I think is the fact that the Senator found his comment amusing.
The video, comment and smug attitute did nothing to advance any 2nd Amendment debate, as the Senator clearly did not answer the question and did not consider the reporter to be of “legitimate” stature.
I’m also not quite sure what criteria determined who was or wasn’t legitimate. The onset of the World Wide Web and internet news changed traditional thought processes with local newspapers no longer the only game in town. I’ll post more on that at another time.
The video may have some leg in First Amendment discussion, on both sides of the aisle, but I’m going to let the social media fest determine its newsworthiness. In a cursory web search, it is now posted on Twitter @NewportBuzz, on at least one local online venue and several Tea Party sites.
Personally, I admit, I have watched the video several times and I’m not really taken with the temperature of the Senator’s remarks. I don’t know the media source who received the message, twice, but the message was quite pointedly demeaning.
I’m hoping, beyond hope, that this post doesn’t have the Senator saying that I, too, can Go…well, you know by now.
I might mention, too, that although I myself have at times really wanted to, I haven’t actually ever told a politico to go… BLEEEEEEEP!
For a matter of clarity, I’m not expecting to do so in the future.
Senator Miller since offered an apologetic response for his actions where the blame for his actions was clearly placed upon the reporter. His statement, posted on his General Assembly website is below:
3/25/2014 Statement from Sen. Joshua Miller
“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.”
So, there’s that. Back to work, right after I watch the video again. Wow.