Head of Texas Oil & Gas Industry Threatens Noose for Those Who Vote For Background Checks
The head of Texas' Oil & Gas Industry, Barry Smitherman, sent out a disturbing tweet through social media that depicted a photo of a threatening noose with the word "TREASON" above for those U.S. Senators that voted for background checks for purchases of guns. The image, posted below, named U.S. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Tom Coburn, and 13 other United States Senators and encouraged that none of them have seats in 2014.
Barry Smitherman was twice appointed to office by Texas Governor Rick Perry, first to the Public Utility Commission in 2004, and then to replace a vacant seat in the Texas Railroad Commission in 2011. Smitherman then won election to his seat on the Railroad Commission in 2012.
Progress Texas released the following statement last night and called on Smitherman to apologize and Petty to a admonish this action:
"Barry Smitherman's reprehensible action is disturbing, disgusting, and has absolutely no place in our political discourse," said Matt Glazer, Executive Director of Progress Texas. "To suggest that any American, let alone a U.S. Senator, deserves to be hung for a democratically cast vote is absolutely unacceptable."
"A Senator's job is to debate, discuss and vote on issues of importance to our country. Obstructionism shouldn't be upheld as a priority option for doing the people's work, and when violent rhetoric and imagery is used as a tool of obstructionism, it has gone too far. Smitherman's actions call into question whether or not his job can and should be terminated.
"Progress Texas calls on Smitherman to immediately apologize, and for Governor Perry and all of Texas' Congressional delegation to admonish Smitherman for his deplorable action"
The Texas Tribune attempted to call Smitherman's cellphone on Thursday night for comment but the call was not immediately returned.
UPDATE (3:00pm): This story has now been picked up by dozens of national and state media outlets:
- Salon, "Perry's appointee's noose tweet sparks outrage"
- Mother Jones, "Texas GOPer Tweets Image of Noose for Republicans Who Even Debate Background Checks"
- Huffington Post, "Barry Smitherman, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman, Retweets Noose With GOP Senators' Names"
- Washington Times, "Texas official slammed for re-tweeting noose image after gun vote"
- Think Progress, "Rick Perry Appointee Tweets A Picture Of A Noose, Accuses Pro-Gun Regulation Senators Of ‘Treason’"
- Opposing Views, "Texas Railroad Chairman Barry Smitherman Tweets Hanging Noose Picture, Republican Names"
- Texas Tribune, "Top Oil & Gas Regulator Retweets Noose Image"
- State Impact NPR, "Top Oil & Gas Regulator Retweets Noose Image"
- Houston Chronicle,"Treason? Texas RR Commission Chair criticizes Republicans opposing gun filibuster, re-tweets image of a noose"
- Dallas Observer, "Barry Smitherman Retweets Image of Noose, Accompanied by Names of Senators Who Voted To Consider Gun Safety Proposals"
- Burnt Orange Report, "Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman Posts Awful Tweet"
UPDATE (3:55pm): Smitherman has apologized:
“In my desire to identify the 16 senators who voted against the [Second Amendment],” he tweeted, “I chose the wrong message to [re-tweet]. A regretful mistake. I apologize.”