Rally for Troops–Arkansas Pols Invited
President Obama’s silence on the senseless murder of 23-year-old Pvt William Long and shooting of Pvt Quinton Ezeagwula outside a Little Rock recruiting center has been well documented. ARRA News Service, Michelle Malkin, and The Conservative Pup have all written great articles wondering why Obama would immediately express his outrage at the murder of an abortion doctor one day, but completely ignore the murder of a young soldier just out of boot camp by an American citizen who recently converted to radical Islam. Well, he finally acknowledged the slaying of this young soldier today. He’s “deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence.” That’s it, deeply saddened. The killing of Dr. Tiller, who was well-known for performing late-term abortions, made him “shocked and outraged.” But the murder of a young soldier simply saddens him.
Not that I condone the killing of Dr. Tiller, because I certainly don’t. But how is it that the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces assigns such greater weight to his murder than that of a young man who signed over a portion his life to the service of these United States? The only plausible explanation is that the President holds the prior in much higher regard than the latter.
Yesterday we learned the organization, Secure Arkansas, was putting together a rally to show support for our troops at the scene of the heinous crime against the two soldiers. I spent this morning calling Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and 2nd District Congressman Vic Snyder’s offices to inquire as to whether they wished to issue a public statement on the terrorist attack and if they planned on having someone from their offices attend the rally.
Stunningly, none of these elected officials knew anything of the upcoming rally. Even more stunning were the responses I received from Senator Pryor’s and Representative Snyder’s offices. Pryor’s spokesman told me the Senator was still examining the information and would issue a statement once all the facts were known. I was unable to reach Kelly Neal, to whom I was directed to find out if anyone from the Senator’s office would be attending the rally. Snyder’s press secretary, Betsy Barrett said the Congressman had not yet issued a statement on the matter, but asked for more information on the rally. I emailed her the requested information, but received no further response from his office.
Senator Lincoln’s press secretary, Katie Niebaum, seemed much more concerned and far more helpful. She assured me the Senator had the soldiers’ and their families in her thoughts and prayers and was praying for a speedy recovery for Pvt. Ezeagwula. When I pressed further and asked if Senator Lincoln considered this a hate crime as defined in HR 1913, which was passed by the House and now is before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she promised to get back with me. I also asked her to find out if the Senator thought an amendment should be added to name veterans as a protected class under the bill, such as that Congressman Rooney attempted while the bill was still in committee in the House. Ms. Niebaum promptly responded with the following:
Thank you for your call this morning. Senator Lincoln takes seriously our country’s commitment to ensuring the physical safety of all Americans, and she has voted for the hate crimes bill (which has taken various forms) in past Congresses. The bill introduced this Congress is currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Lincoln is not a member. Senator Lincoln will thoughtfully consider all amendments to the bill if and when that debate moves to the Senate floor.
Senator Lincoln is grateful for all of our military service members and the sacrifices they and their families make to keep our nation free. Earlier today, she discussed the senseless tragedy in Little Rock with Arkansas news reporters, and said that her prayers were with the family and loved ones of Private Long and that she prayed for a full and speedy recovery for Private Ezeagwula.
Senator Lincoln has consistently supported initiatives that expand the benefits for our military service members and veterans and their families, and I encourage you to check out her website for her work as recent as last month:
I would like to thank Ms. Niebaum for taking the time to respond to my concerns. Though I didn’t get a yes or no on the issue of treating veterans as a protected class in the hate crimes legislation, at least she promised Lincoln’s thoughtful consideration if we can get such an amendment introduced. I was also encouraged by Lincoln’s willingness to speak with reporters about the attack. I was unable to reach the Senator’s assistant in Little Rock to ask if she would send someone to represent her office at the rally.
I’ll be attending the rally and will report on it in a subsequent post.