Arkansas Lawmaker Nate Bell Apologizes for Timing of Boston Tweet

Arkansas Lawmaker Nate Bell Apologizes for Timing of Boston Tweet

House speaker also issues apology to City of Boston after Mena representative's post.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - An Arkansas lawmaker is apologizing for a comment made on Twitter this morning amid the developing news in Boston as police searched for a bombing suspect.

House member Nate Bell, of Mena, who represents District 20, sent an apology soon after the House Speaker issued one of his own.

Bell's tweet, sent at 6:25 a.m., read: "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine? #2A"

Late this morning, House Speaker Davy Carter issued this apology to the City of Boston:
“On behalf of the Arkansas House of Representatives and the state of Arkansas, I want to extend my deepest apologies to the people of the City of Boston and the state of Massachusetts for the inappropriate and insensitive comment made this morning by an Arkansas House member. I can assure the people of Boston and the people of Massachusetts that Arkansans have them in their thoughts and prayers during this tragic time.”

Soon after, Bell posted an apology on his Facebook page and linked to it from his Twitter page. It read:
"I would like to apologize to the people of Boston & Massachusetts for the poor timing of my tweet earlier this morning. As a staunch and unwavering supporter of the individual right to self defense, I expressed my point of view without thinking of its effect on those still in time of crisis. In hindsight, given the ongoing tragedy that is still unfolding, I regret the poor choice of timing. Please know that my thoughts and prayers were with the people of Boston overnight and will continue as they recover from this tragedy."

At last check, more than 500 people had posted comments to Bell's Facebook post, nearly all of which were unfavorable.

This afternoon, Democratic House Leader Greg Leding of Fayetteville also issued this statement about the situation:
“Rep. Bell's comments regarding the unfolding terror in Boston are tasteless and uncaring. A proud and patriotic city has endured heartbreak since Monday's lethal bombings at the Boston Marathon, and brave men and women are at this very moment hunting down a dangerous suspect they believe to be responsible for those attacks as well as last night's murder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier and the shooting of Richard H. Donohue, Jr., a member of the city's transit system police force.

“The people of Boston are not cowards. They are patriots. No one, including Rep. Bell, should ever infer that the American people are anything other than courageous, and the only words we should be offering to the people of Boston are those of support and of prayer.

“I can't speak for them, but I would imagine every other member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, the Arkansas Senate, and Arkansans everywhere find Rep. Bell's comments to be as reprehensible as I do. Boston is a city of patriots, and all Arkansans should stand with them today.”

Another statement came in from the Arkansas Democratic Party of Arkansas:
I shouldn’t even have to write this email right now.
 
Unfortunately, Rep. Nate Bell felt compelled to make tasteless and disgraceful remarks through Twitter about the people of Boston regarding the recent tragedy there, saying “I wonder how many liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a high-capacity magazine? #2A”
 
When asked about the comment, Rep. Bell refused to meet with the press and then issued an apology for the timing of the tweet in question. But this isn’t about timing.
 
The only words that should be offered to the people of Boston are those of prayer and of support. If you believe Rep. Bell should apologize to Bostonians and retract his tweet immediately, let him know here.
 
Let’s tell the people of Boston that we stand with them through prayers and support, and not through the comments by Rep. Bell. These comments are tasteless and insensitive and do not represent the people of Arkansas.
 
Thank you,
Krystal Thrailkill
Constituent of Rep. Nate Bell

Arkansas Republican House Caucus Statement on Rep. Bell's Remarks:
House Republican Leader Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) today issued the following statement regarding the Twitter remarks of Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena):

"Rep. Bell's remarks do not reflect our Caucus' position.  Politics shouldn't be the the focus of the terror attack in Boston, and all Members, political parties, and pundits should remember that.  Our focus needs to remain with our fellow Americans in pain and in danger today.

"There is a time to debate the Second Amendment rights guaranteed to our citizens.  Now is not the time.  As Members, we should remember the bipartisan moment of silence for the victims of Boston the House observed just days ago at the request of myself and the Minority Leader.  Politics and posturing about Boston have no place inside the Arkansas House of Representatives."
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