I watched this happen in disbelief. But it deserves continued attention. Thanks to For AR People for posting this interview with Chris Attig, the Little Rock lawyer who was arrested and handcuffed on the order of Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman for testifying beyond his two-minute limit on the bill to deny medical services to transgender children.
The bill is patently unconstitutional. Even Governor Hutchinson, generally a reliable supporter of the right-wing agenda, offered a veto in vain. Ladyman’s thuggishness that day is but one example of the mindset of those in control of the legislature these days, whether it is in flouting federal supremacy on gun laws; invading the medical rights of women or discriminating against sexual minorities. All while protecting bad landlords (including some in their number), big utilities and other entrenched lobbies.
(For AR People was treated rudely in the legislature, too. Their sin: Trying to make sure absentee votes weren’t wrongly excluded from counting last November in Pulaski County, where Republican election commissioners had other ideas.)
An excerpt of the interview with Attig:
The first person who testified against the bill was a mom who was scared that her child was going to be taken off their hormone blockers and commit suicide. Looking at the faces of those in the committee, I didn’t see human beings looking back at me– I hate to say that because they are human being and deserve dignity, but there was a tone deaf reaction.
When it was my turn to speak, I wanted to let them know what they are doing to parental rights in this state. I remember distinctly the moment when the cuffs went on to my hands. I remember having them behind my back and feeling the cuffs. I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ I can understand them cutting off the mic, which is reasonable. But putting someone in handcuffs and taking them outside the building? Putting them in the back of a police car and carting them off to the county jail for several hours and charging them with a crime? I’m still struggling to understand what that means. It’s a jarring thought– being handcuffed because you want to talk to your elected leaders.