Guest Post and pictures by H. Hawke who attended the meeting in Hudson, New York on Wednesday night.
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When Hudson Alderman David Marston responded with a torrent of foul and abusive language to an email from NYS Organizer for Guns Across America Joanna Johnson-Smith urging him to reject the city’s proposed gun ban on city property, including for permit-holders, it’s unlikely he anticipated the backlash headed his way.
Neither, apparently, did the City of Hudson’s Legal Committee of Common Council.
On February 27 the Committee was forced to change their regular meeting from Hudson City Hall to the Central Fire Station main room to accommodate the larger than normal crowd expected to oppose the measure.
But even that was too small and attendees dragged their chairs, if they’d been fortunate enough to get one, into the firehouse truck bay after the engines were moved out.
The Legal Committee with Aldermen Donald Moore, Abdus S. Miah, John K. Friedman, Marston and City Attorney Cheryl Roberts did their best to placate the crowd but gave in to demands the gun ban issue be addressed at the meeting’s outset rather than at the end as had been originally planned.
Friedman gave a brief overview of the proposed law, stating that the “misinformation” which had caused such a large crowd to gather had nothing to do with its intent which, he said, was an attempt to deal with employee safety issues.
He said there would be no vote on the law at the meeting and conversation would be limited to ten minutes.
Committee President Moore said the group was upset at being confronted by such a large and angry crowd who were obviously “against us” and stressed the committee was not trying to “do anything sneaky.”
But shouted questions from the audience forced the committee to call on Marston to respond to the vile comments he had written to Smith when she had questioned his stance on the proposed law in an email several weeks ago.
Besides calling her a “gun toting tea party psychotard,” he had accused her of “grandstanding on mythical narratives of victimization,” described her ” spit” as “the white stuff frothing on the ends of that rotten little mouth of yours from which you spew this hateful ignorant trash,” and invited her to come to Hudson to protest the law, writing, “We’ll be happy to beat you barbarians back with the clubs of reason & responsibility, radical lunatics that you are.”
He ended his rant with this classic:
“And say, a quick ProTip, since you’re the ‘organizer’ for unemployed guns nuts USA. Next time you think these unhinged rants will change the mind of anyone who has even a modicum of intelligence, you might instead just go back down into your basement & watch another episode of wheel-of-fortune. It’ll certainly be just as effective. Remember: there are millions of Eagle Scout God Worshiping Patriots who find you & your radical ilk as disgraceful to American Democracy as the Brown Shirt jackboots you act like. I happen to be just one of them. Good Luck.”
Before the crowd of hundreds of infuriated gun rights activists Marston told a different story. He apologized, saying he had drafted his response to her in “the heat of the moment” and he acknowledged the email had been inappropriate .
“I let my lesser self get the better of me,” he said.
That wasn’t good enough for the crowd. One shouted, “Joanne (Smith) is the one he insulted, He should issue her a public apology.” They also insisted the Committee permit her to speak.
When she moved to the front of the room to say a few words the crowd erupted in cheers.
Smith, who is responsible for organizing the Second Amendment Rally in Albany on Thursday, February 28, featuring NRA President David Keene, State Legislators, the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association and SCOPE said she expects a turnout of between 10,000 to 15,000 at the event.
And, for what it’s worth, according to the Hudson City Attorney there’s no chance of the proposed gun law going into effect as it would be preempted by county and state ordinances already in effect.
“If the committee passed this law the city would be sued,” she said.
That was exactly what the crowd wanted to hear.