THE Texas legislature has a constitutional duty to meet every other year and, it sometimes seems, to confirm that America’s second-most-populous state remains a land apart. The legislature adjourned on May 29th after a session that will probably be remembered as the one in which Matt Rinaldi, a Republican state representative, threatened to shoot one of his Democratic colleagues, Poncho Nevárez, in the face. It probably should be remembered that way, too, although Republicans have disputed this characterisation of the incident. In a statement Mr Rinaldi issued shortly afterwards, he confirmed that he told Mr Nevárez he would shoot him, albeit only in self-defence, after Mr Nevárez threatened to “get him”. He had, he added, sought police protection.
What is beyond dispute is that the threat was issued during the course of a scuffle that broke out on the floor of the Texas House. Mr Rinaldi overheard two other Democratic legislators,…Continue reading