Crazy pills

SupportBlue 02Tell me what sort of world we are living in.

Please tell me what sort of place we have created where a 77 year old, elected official to state government suggests — in any way, shape or form — that he is going to get a gun and shoot the police, and people find that to be a reasonable statement.

Nay, not just people. OTHER elected officials!

Oh, that’s no big deal!
That’s his right!
You don’t know his experiences!
You’re privilged and lucky!
He could have said MUCH worse!

THIS is the society we have created?

Are you people freaking nuts???

***

Is it simply because it is Ernie Chambers and our standards are so bottomed out for him we really don’t care what he says? Is he really just the old kook who wanders down the street saying the CIA put a radio in his head?

Because last time I checked, the main stream press still goes to him for quotes and thoughts and consults with him on the MAJOR issues of the day.

Oh, but suggesting he is going to shoot the police? Ernie being Ernie!
That’s his right!
You missed the CONTEXT!

At this point, I get that Chambers is a kook — and I certainly hope all will appreciate this little episode the next time everyone runs to him for his latest bits of wisdom on various subjects. But what of all of his colleagues and others who are somehow defending or dismissing his statements?

Sen. Dave Bloomfield: “He has done a great service to this body for 40 years.”

Sen. Ken Haar: “We’ve all said things that we shouldn’t have.”

Speaker Galen Hadley: Senators have “the absolute freedom of speech.”

Sen. Al Davis: Chambers frequently uses “hyperbole”.

And then many others — Sen. Rick Kolowski, Sen. Kate Bolz, Sen. Bill Kintner — wanting to pivot to other issues with the, “why don’t Senators show the same effort on issues A, B & C that are important to me!”

Uh, hey look: Your colleague just suggested shooting policemen.
How about you condemn those statements and leave it at that?
Is that really so difficult and outrageous?

Really?

***

I had a brief back and forth on the Twitter — which frankly is no place for any decent discussion — with the OWH’s Mike’l Severe about Chambers’ remarks.

He gave the, “I didn’t say he was right,” and “You don’t get it because you can’t feel the way he does. Its impossible. Not your fault, feel lucky.”

“I think he should say what he feels. I have disagreed with him many times. But that is how he lives his life, shouldn’t stop.”

Honest to God, is it REALLLLLLLLY that difficult to say, “People shouldn’t suggest killing cops. Ever.”

Does there REALLY have to be the, “Well, he has a right…”, “you don’t know where he is coming from…”, “check your privilege..” bullshit?

Yeah, we all get it. Chambers doesn’t like the police. He thinks blacks have a different experience with police. He thinks police brutality is out of hand.

And you know what? He may be right about all that!
(May.)

NO ONE is going to begrudge him his right to speak out all day about it.
Not me, and not anyone in the legislature or the Mayor’s office or the Governor’s office or the United States Supreme Court.

But the moment he suggests killing cops — in an imaginary world, in a real world, after he’s gone crazy, only if he was a violent man — he, and ALL of his supporters and defenders should expect the CIVILIZED world to come down on him.

AND THEM.

***

So should Chambers be expelled from the Legislature for this, , or should Chambers resign as Sen. David Schnoor has asked?

Well, I’d suggest a few things.

Schnoor’s example isn’t bad: Put it on Chambers. FIRST, make it known that what he did is beyond the pale and that he SHOULD be ashamed of himself. Is that really so difficult to do?

Sure we all know he’s not going to do it, but make HIM say that. Let HIM defend his cop killing statements — which he is already trying to do (below).

But I would also suggest that actually kicking him out, or trying to go that route will set up a precedent that will create a slippery future path. And if you kick him out, and then he gets re-elected, what then?

Here’s the thing, it IS possible to be intolerent of someone’s statements without demanding that they be banned from speaking.

And is that so difficult? All these Senators and others are bending over backwards to defend Chambers’ right to say something before anything else.

How about they just say that Chambers’ statements are outrageous…and leave it at that? Do statements like that need a qualifier?

***

The kicker on all of this is Chambers’ latest statements where he seems to be adding qualifiers now. Not an apology mind you! But The Mighty Ernie who doubled down on what he said now says…

Chambers said “there’s not a person in my (legislative) district who thinks I would want to shoot a cop.”

“The kids in my community are too smart to put that interpretation on those words,” he said.

Hahahahahha! Riiiiiiiight.

Because an 18 year old kid who thinks it is OK to have a gun and shoot someone is really going to be looking into the heart of his state Senator — who just said that he would shoot a cop first and ask questions later. (Said 18 year old will of course be sure to read the context of the hearing and check the bill’s co-sponsors.)

For those of you who still think Ernie is a genius with his finger on the pulse of the community, check that statement again.

***

New non-Ernie post coming at noon.

28 comments

  1. Anon says:

    I agree with you, BUT said 18 year old with a gun is probably not going to even know what Senator Chambers said in the first place. They’re not known for keeping up with any type of Legislature news.

  2. Patrick J. Borchers says:

    On the First Amendment issue, he does have the right to speak in front of the legislature as he chooses and nobody in the government can stop him from doing that — in the legal vernacular he isn’t subject to a “prior restraint.” But having a First Amendment right to speak doesn’t mean that you’re insulated from the downstream consequences of what you say. If an accomplice and I are robbing a bank and I say to him “shoot her” and he complies and shoots a bank employee, I would be guilty of murder on an accomplice or conspiracy theory. If I sell you a used car representing that it’s in excellent mechanical condition when I know it’s not and the engine falls out the first mile you drive it I’m liable for fraud. In each case I say “it was only speech” all I want, but I’m not insulated from the consequences. Holmes’s famous statement about shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is the best known example.

    Chambers’s statements won’t put him in jail even if a police officer is shot in his district in the near future (and of course I hope to God that won’t happen) because it would be impossible to prove a causal link beyond a reasonable doubt.

    But taking the position that it’s political speech is to also admit that he can suffer political consequences. Censure, expulsion for the rest of the term, taking his name off the hearing room — those are all political consequences.

  3. Ernie’s fan club is a classic instance of liberal racism. They excuse this incident, the past racist remarks, as well as the buffoonish antics, because they really don’t expect from Chambers what they’d expect froma seasoned white legislator. Ernie’s doing what black people are supposed to do: entertain. He’s Richard Pryor. He’s Dr. Dre. He gives them the thrill of vicarious social subversion, without their having to transgress themselves.

  4. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Sweeper, I am appalled as well by the milquetoast response on the floor yesterday by a number of Senators. About 20 spoke on the record but only a few were passionate about the fact that Chambers, at a minimum, should apologize. When I saw the weak remarks coming from some of the stronger conservatives, I wondered what was going on. Then when Speaker Hadley and Judiciary Chair Seiler got up and invoked the immunity clause that protects freedom of speech on the floor and in committee “of any speech!” I knew the fix was in. Their leaders had spoken and there would be no formal action taken by the Legislature. No formal reprimand, no censuring, certainly no gathering of 2/3rds to initiate a removal process. Senator David Schnoor was the one bright spot of the morning, with his call for resignation, acknowledging at the time that Chambers was laughing at them and mocking them, “as you always do” he said. Sen. Schnoor, being new, probably isn’t jaded enough and can grasp the gravity of allowing Chambers’ comments to stand without official action from the body.

    Sure, Chambers has said many vile, racist and bigoted things in the record over 40 years. I have asked Catholic Senators in the past to denounce in the record some of those comments. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. Depended what bills they had coming up that Chambers might seek retribution on, which is his MO after all.

    This latest tirade rises to the level of inciting violence against law enforcement officers. If the Legislature won’t act formally on this, there is very little they will do to protect not only the integrity of the institution but to repudiate publically and let Nebraskans know in no uncertain terms that they will not tolerate the twisting of the rules of said institution to be used in someone’s vile, nasty campaign against whomever the next target might be.

    Let’s say Senator Seiler goes back to Hastings and suddenly the Mayor there comes unhinged (hypothetical of course), says the local police ticketed his son for a DUI and he’s going after that officer with a gun. What? Do you think the Mayor would be removed from office? Do you think the City Council would tolerate that? Do you think Senator Sieler might have to weigh in as a leader in the community on removing said elected official?

    Over at the DCRP Facebook page a commentor mentioned that any removal of Chambers talk could be twisted back on the GOP and some of our more opinionated conservatives and someone like Kintner, Lindstrom or McCoy could be targeted for their comments. What? First of all, they are giving a pass to someone who has said if he was a violent person and had a gun he would shoot police first and they could ask questions later. The Legislature isn’t even formally acting on someone who suggests harm could come to law enforcement if he(Chambers) suddenly lost his mental faculties. It’s a major leap to suggest the meanderings of any of the more vociferous Republicans could come close to suggesting taking up arms against law enforcement. The underlying premise I took away was, “we have to protect our Republicans here because someone might want to oust them too.” That’s disgusting that self-preservation would kick in over doing the right thing , standing against violence-inciting speech and holding on to some shred of integrity that might be left in the institution after Ernie Chambers has had his way for at least the last 20 years.

    You know it didn’t used to be this bad. People used to stand up to him in the record, shut down the tirades and some former people in the Chair actually shut off his mic. Imagine that. This has been a sad week for Nebraskans as a whole and specifically for families of law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day. I never thought I would see the day that our Legislature would acquiese to such bullying that has now escalated to the point of inciting violence. What’s next and what would they stand against, if not this? Who knows.

  5. The Grundle King says:

    BTW, one thing that struck me is that this whole issue rose from a debate about gun laws. In addition to the remarks that Ernie made (the ones that drew the most attention), he also said, “I don’t carry a weapon. I’ve never carried a weapon.” (emphasis added by me)

    Never, eh?

    http://journalstar.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ernie-chambers/image_564a75df-d832-5b7f-9e97-329afc47c235.html

    Maybe the police were lucky that he was a little more sane in his younger years.

  6. BWS says:

    A couple of things:
    1. Chambers has frequently said that “no one deserves to die” under the death penalty in Nebraska. But then he himself threatens to shoot cops.
    2. All the state senators who support Chambers should have to talk to law enforcement officers in their home districts this weekend and explain their support for him.
    3. It seems the senators suffer from some sort of Battered Wives’ Syndrome. I can’t believe they can simply pass it off as “Ernie being Ernie”.
    4. Ricketts calls on Pat McPherson to resign for far less than what Chambers has said.
    5. Thank you to the senators who actually had the intestinal fortitude to call out Chambers for his actions.

    Where is the leadership in the Nebraska GOP???

  7. Anonymous says:

    GK, the picture you reference says: He was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon. Was a weapon actually found, and what was the outcome of his arrest (any trial?).

  8. Andy says:

    Unfortunately these comments are hiding the real debate about LB635, a bill that attempts to address a problem in the concealed carry law. An issue that many of the people that own or manage businesses that this piece of the law can not tell people if they are breaking the law or not. Leaving a big question mark about if something is legal or not. Directly this comment by Ernie was dealing with a proposed amendment to allow off duty police, who have a public safety duty even when off duty and face real treats t there lives, from being able to carry their concealed firearm onto school grounds when picking up a child from school or meeting with school officials. This amendment would not cause any risk to students and in fact would help provide security for them.

    In all this argument over what Senator Chambers has said nobody is commenting on the comments of those testifying in opposition to this bill. Bring up an old, disgraced study that cherry picked data from a very small pool of respondents then made unfounded leaps in its conclusions calling those Nebraskans that own and carry firearms alcoholics.

    This had long been the way not only Ernie but those who fight against our freedoms act, pointing to false flag bogymen who are endangering the public, rather than recognizing the members of our society that daily strive to make our communities safer for themselves, their families and all of us in general.

  9. Andy says:

    Anonymous at 10:26 The charges were dropped and the prosecutor said that was based upon the affirmative defense clause in the law against carrying a concealed weapon (according to the reports in other sources it was a handgun).

  10. repentinglawyer says:

    Since I was one of Ernie’s lawyers in the gun case, I would note that the gun was kept with the barbershop cash in a box at the store and when the cash went to the bank the gun went with it. It was Ernie’s day to take the money to the bank. The arrest was a set up and probably unlawful, the gun law at the time was very unclear, and the search was illegal. Dismissal because of statutory defense was mostly face saving. At the time force could be used to resist unlawful police action in NE. Maybe the friends of the 2nd Amendment on SCOTUS have turned that old law into a penumbra of the Constitution since the Amendment is now built on a right to self defense. Also the threat if any in Ernie’s statement was conditional or no threat at all. Sweeper and Borchers might look at Prosser, and Pat might add the 1st Amendment and lack of intent to his criminal law discussion.

  11. Anonymous says:

    People have lost the ability to read and listen. First, the context is important, as a bill was being discussed concerning guns. And look at the Journal Star article: His critics focused their criticism on a brief remark by Chambers that if he carried a gun — which he doesn’t — and found himself confronted by a police officer, he’d want to shoot first and ask questions later, “like they say the cop ought to do.”.. “He’d want” is completely different than “he would”.

  12. Prof at 11:17,
    Borchers was generally explaining the 1st amendment, and I believe spelled out that he did not think Chambers was guilty of breaking any law.
    What he IS guilty of is using horrible judgement, or maybe not using any at all with his statements.
    SS

  13. The Grundle King says:

    The charges filed were less of a concern (strangely enough). For me, it boils down to the fact that he lied, and he’d seek to deny others the rights and privileges that he lies about having exercised himself.

    If Ernie had stopped at “I don’t carry a weapon,” then he’d be fine. But when he said he’s NEVER carried a weapon…when clearly, he has…he revealed a little more about his character.

  14. repentinglawyer says:

    SS Saw through my pen name so you must know I was just law profing you and Pat. Given how long ago the case took place Ernie may not remember it or may not regard taking the box to the bank as carrying the gun Grundle King, more to the point everyone cleans up their past with time, a fact exploited by every lawyer on cross, it is a common trick of memory not a big moral issue. Off the cuff remarks seldom perfectly match reality.

  15. Anon says:

    McCoy actually gave Ernie an out, j Munich syndrome has set in the legislature. There is no reason for them to defend him. It was a deserved-your on your own on this one, dude, moment.
    They are discussing a term limits CA, if this is the environment of conduct in that body, then it reinforces the automatic cleansing. Those that defended him were as disgusting as he is.

  16. Macdaddy says:

    There’s only 1 reason that the unicameral won’t do anything to Chambers: they are afraid to be called a racist. They are afraid of the protests they imagine will materialize if they dare hold Chambers responsible for his vile comments. Profiles in courage they are.

  17. Matt Butler says:

    Just guessing that certain senators will be hearing from alot of constituents they haven’t already heard from in the last day or two, demanding the expulsion of Chambers. State Senators saying shooting cops is ok is completely unacceptable and dangerous. If the Legislature can’t control itself, then it’s time to strip Senators of their speech immunity.

  18. Matt Butler says:

    I think I’m denied equal protection under Nebraska’s Constitution as compared to state senators. If the, “Senators have ABSOLUTE freedom of speeech,” which the Speaker (as quoted) appears to mean includes the shooting of cops, why shouldn’t everybody else? Some people are more equal than others? Senators throwing around terroristic threats on the floor of the Legislature shouldn’t ejoy such immunity.

  19. KHDS says:

    1. Chambers is Black. The rules don’t apply to him. See, Obama.

    2. You can’t take anyone with an apostrophe in their name seriously.

  20. Macdaddy says:

    Chambers is a wanna be gangster. Has been all his life. He loves the excitement of it all but he’s too scared to actually do anything. Instead, he tries to get others to stir things up. Is this what we want from our elected officials? No. Others will pay for his perversions.

  21. In perhaps the most disgraceful editorial I’ve ever seen them exude, the Lincoln Journal Star (1) blames the messenger for reporting Chambers’ comments (2) says support for the police should never be unconditional, and recites a litany of old/distant police misconduct cases and (3) regrets that the ‘rhetoric’ will diminish Chambers’ effectiveness as a Senator.

    I’m sorry, Omahans, but in the area of obnoxious idiocy, our newspaper has yours beat by a long way. At least the OWH came out and issue an unequivocal condemnation.

  22. KHDS says:

    LJS is pathetic. Only wish the parent corporation’s Chapter 11 would have been converted to a Chapter 7.

    Seriously, LJS serves the liberal loons of Lincoln well.

  23. Andrew_L_Sullivan says:

    First, regarding Borchers comment above. The quote actually is “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. ”

    Secondly, Senator Chambers comments were during a discussion on concealed weapons. The whole purpose of the Second Amendment is to help enforce all the other rights. For example, while there is a procedure for the Fourth Amendment, the citizen has the power of the gun to enforce it. The US Supreme Court, in protecting the Fourth Amendment, development the Miranda Rights. In other words, the citizen can use deadly force to prevent being harmed by unlawful police. This is highly controversial and the law often does not reflect this fact but the balancing of powers makes it so.

    Third, Senator Chambers was making reference to the callous policies the Omaha Police Department has in place. Remember Bryce Dion, of COPS who was killed filming Omaha police taking down a criminal robbery? The police did nothing illegal but three officers fired at least 30 bullets. The “suspect” and Dion died. This took place at Wendy’s in the Joslyn/Blackstone area of of Omaha. Anyone who has had any gun training knows you don’t shoot your gun without knowing what you are going to hit.

    This is not to attack Omaha police officers. There is serious problem in training as well as other policies. The Omaha Police Foundation basically agrees as they have provided $82,000 to provide a shooting simulator to help train officers.

  24. Anon says:

    No thought of Ernie’s right to free speech or that he violated the law, It is his tact as a legislator. It trumps his lawmaking skill. It is time he was called on, conduct like his would not be accepted by almost literally ANY other citizen of this state, especially as a political figure. Imagine the thoughts of children visitors listening to one of his many tangent tirades of intimidation, religious bigotry, and race baiting as the way we conduct law making in the chamber, many times as he is annoyed by a personality, with no relation to the subject at hand. Some senators must think so.

  25. No one should question Chambers right to say what he said. Even outside the Unicam chamber, his was not a specific direct threat, and the speech is therefore protected. That does not mean it should not be heavily criticized. In fact, I think it more despicable that many of the usual suspects are defending him. They live out their gangsta fantasies through Ernie.

    You want racism — that’s real racism.

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