Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blow His Brains Out?

State House debate on guns hits a new low.

Blow His Brains Out?


Remember all of three months back when Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during an assassination attempt in Tuscon and the political world reacted with, oh, half an hour of deceny and reflection and urged a new level of respect and less fiery rhetoric during political debate?

Well, apparently, state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delco, does not.

During House debate yesterday on a bill to expand the "Castle Doctrine," a state law allowing lethal self-defense by an armed citizen who feels threatened, Davidson dragged her institution's already sagging reputation down a peg.

In fact she shot holes in the notion of reasoned civility and suggested once again that Pennsylvania politicians are far from role models for anyone thinking of elective office.

In rendering scenarios in which the new law might excuse the killing of a person perceived as a threat, Davidson stood on the House floor and asked a question that included a reference to the chamber's most conservative member and maybe strongest pro-gun advocate, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler County.

"If the gentleman from Butler County stood yelling, knowing that he's a gun-toter, and I felt threatened, would I be protected under court law if I blew his brains out?"

Amid audible gasps, she then giggled.

House Speaker Sam Smith banged the gavel and ordered Davidson's remarks stricken from the record.

Now maybe Davidson is a wonderful person and a fine legislator who just had a momentary (and despicable) lapse in judgement. Maybe because the Philly native is only in her first term she doesn't understand that Pennsylvania is a big state represented by a men and women with various views that don't diminish them as people.

But can you imagine the outrage if this moment was reversed and a white male rural Republican lawmaker suggested blowing the brains out of a black female Democratic lawmaker?

For that matter, can you imagine the hue and cry of liberals if any conservative said something like this during a public debate? Because, you know, it's only the political right that infuses its rhetoric with vile language, venom and references to "lock and load" or "re-arm," right?

This instance is a profound embarrassment to Pennsylvania, its state House and Davidson, whether her remarks are stricken from the record or not.



Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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