Letter: A Clear View of Ayotte’s Thinking

To the Editor:

There’s good news and bad news about Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. The good news is that she makes it clear what she stands for. The bad news is that what she stands for is pretty ugly.

Over the last week she’s demonstrated this with admirable clarity. On April 17, she voted with a minority that defeated an amendment of a gun bill that would have expanded background checks on gun purchasers. Then, in the aftermath of the Patriots Day bombing in Boston, she was one of a small group of politicians who called on the administration to suspend the rights of the young American man who is in custody accused of committing that terrible crime.

Ayotte’s stance on the gun bill seems inexplicable. In polls taken this year, over 80 percent of New Hampshire voters have supported just this provision. And the provision seems benign enough: Both of its sponsors are senators with A ratings from the National Rifle Association. We do not know who Ayotte listens to, but it’s apparently not the people of New Hampshire. She had the opportunity to do good, but chose instead to look tough.

Her stance on the young man we think did the bombing is similar. The danger he posed has passed. A policeman has been killed and others wounded in the pursuit. Federal, state, and local security personnel have demonstrated their skill and bravery beyond any doubt. Nor can there be any doubt that, if media reports are accurate, this young man will be convicted of the crime and properly punished. But now that he’s wounded, sedated, intubated and handcuffed to his hospital bed, Sen. Ayotte strides courageously forward and proposes that he be deprived of the procedural protections that the Constitution guarantees to all American citizens. This is unseemly. We can convict and punish the young man without abandoning our principles. Our country is strong enough for this challenge.

With Ayotte the bad news predominates. She is a grandstanding, ill-judging politician. She is not worthy of representing New Hampshire.

Steve Rounds