Barry Smitherman Retweets Image of Noose, Accompanied by Names of Senators Who Voted To Consider Gun Safety Proposals

The U.S. Senate voted only to consider gun safety legislation Thursday, which includes expanded background checks and increased penalties for illegal gun sales. It'll need 60 votes to end debate and the consideration of amendments designed to render the rules toothless. Then, failing that, there's always the chance Senator Ted Cruz will filibuster.

If passage on a simple majority is somehow possible, there's still the matter of rounding up the votes of Democrats from conservative states. They'll probably need a few Republicans. Anyhow, the Senate is just talking now. Deliberating. That's what they're supposed to do, right? Discuss issues of gravity, like adults?

This is what passes for nuanced discourse these days. The Senate votes to talk about something, and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman retweets a list of Republican Senators who voted to debate the proposal, along with a noose .jpeg and the word "TREASON."

The original tweet came from a blog called The Psychotic Scrivener -- "a crazy writer sharing my thoughts and opinions with a little humor," who claims the first in a series of tween lit books titled "Dear Purple Lenora" is set to be published soon. Her blog is littered with language like "Big Brother" and "...we have communists in control of Congress, and also a communist President, all just barking their heads off, snarling and foaming at the their mouths like rabid dogs - wanting to rip into our Bill of Rights and tear them to shreds." If I only had a tween...

I imagine Smitherman is just burnishing his conservative bonafides. The Railroad Commission is a well-known springboard for political aspirants, where they can make names for themselves while shoring up a fundraising base among the oil and gas interests they're supposed to regulate. But perhaps given the debate under way, and the events that spurred it -- the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman, the massacre of small children in Connecticut -- the state official should leave the violent imagery and hyperbole to folks like, say, the Psychotic Scrivener.

(h/t Texas Sharon)

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Brantley Hargrove