LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — An Arkansas Republican State Senator tells fellow legislators who are worried about State Capitol safety to “buck up and stop cowering.”
Lawmakers return to the State Capitol Monday at noon for regular session.
Senators on both sides of the political spectrum took to social media to express their feelings going back to work.
Republican State Senator, Trent Garner, posted the following on Facebook:
“I’m seeing some legislators worried about safety at the Arkansas State Capitol next week. Buck up and stop cowering. It’s more dangerous in downtown Little Rock on a random day than it is at the Capitol during this made-up “insurgency.” I didn’t see this kind of fear in the months when the Capitol was vandalized and buildings were being destroyed all around it. Do the job the people hired you to do, show some backbone, and carry a weapon if you want to feel safe.”
Along with the five that died in connection to the riot on January 6th, hundreds stood at the Capitol chanting “hang Mike Pence,” and threatening messages were left on the desks of legislators.
We asked Garner to clarify his comments via Zoom.
“An insurgency is a strong word, I think it is being used for the maximum political reality without actually looking at what happened on the ground,” said Senator Garner. “It’s a riot and some people unfortunately lost their lives.”
Garner is one of 35 state senators who will be back at the State Capitol for session on Monday.
“If there had been mass casualties with a larger political movement behind it– I think you would have had that word,” said Garner in our Zoom interview. “On the average day in Little Rock, you are more unsafe than any Capitol attack.”
Other state senators say they see things differently.
“I don’t know what definition fits insurrection more than invading a country’s Capitol and trying to kill their elected officials. To call it anything else is cowardice,” said State Senator, Jim Hendren. “We saw police officers being beaten and murdered and to call it anything but an insurrection is just an understatement.”
Hendren says he watched on January 6th in disbelief, which is why he posted his concerns on Twitter.
On Saturday, Hendren tweeted the following:
“While I’m not an alarmist, criminals/ terrorists saw what happened to our Capitol-they now see any protest near our capitols as opportunities to cause devastation. I hope leaders are preparing appropriately. @AsaHutchinson @Matt_J_Shepherd @jimmyhickeyjr @NCSLorg @ARStatePolice”
“Every state capitol based on what I have seen should be on a higher state of alert than they were a month ago,” Hendren said over Zoom.
If you would like to see the security measures currently in place at the Arkansas State Capitol, click: https://www.kark.com/news/local-news/state-capitol-police-chief-looking-at-security-measures/