It is one of those reports that seems so ludicrous that you have to read the article a few times in order to be sure it’s true. A Republican State Senator in New Hampshire told a constituent that he believes mentally ill people should be shipped to Siberia.
And when questioned, he defended his statement.
Via Think Progress:
Sharon Omand, a community health care center manager and resident of Stafford, New Hampshire, called her state senator Martin Harty (R) recently to request more funding for community mental health programs and for the homeless. Omand was shocked by Harty’s response. The state senator told her “the world is too populated” and that there are too many “defective people.” When Omand asked what should be done with these “defective people” that are mentally ill, Harty suggested sending them to Siberia, something that he said Hitler was “right” to do:
Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health program, that “the world is too populated” and there are “too many defective people,” according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. [...]
Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. [...]
Omand says Harty then stated, “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.” Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it).”
The statements, of course, are indefensible to most people. They are utterly disturbing views to be represented by a lawmaker. But frankly, there’s something more disturbing to the story than even that.
Rep. Harty, a newly elected politician, is over 90 years old, and serving his first term as a representative. His colleagues, who aren’t defending his actual statements, are brushing them off and saying that at his age and with his war experience he has earned the right to say them. But they also paint him as a doddering, confused old man, too.
Harty, a retired peddler and market vendor, served as a quarter master in Gen. George Patton’s Army in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Colleagues say he is hard of hearing and has appeared confused in recent House sessions.
“He’s shown signs of great confusion in committee in terms of House process and content,” said Rep. Marilinda Garcia, a Salem Republican who serves with Harty on the House Legislative Administration Committee.
Rep. Jon Richardson, an Allenstown Republican on the Legislative Administration Committee, said he does not condone Harty’s comments on any level, but he takes into account the fact that Harty is a World War II veteran in his 90s.
“In our committee . . . he is constantly confused, easily swayed, hard of hearing, and prone to offer up unrelated commentary or go off on unrelated tangents,” Richardson said.
Harty, a first-term representative, wrote a letter to Foster’s Daily Democrat last month stating, “So far I really don’t know what I’m doing. . . . A new Rep really needs a coach along with him at first but there is no room for anyone to sit with him, and no way they could holler at him in a committee meeting.
“The few votes I’ve made so far I really didn’t know what I was voting for or against,” his letter said. “Just looked at the people around me and went along with them.”
That New Hampshire is having the course of its state set by a politician who apparently advocates for eugenics is disturbing. But even more disturbing is that decisions are being made by a politician who is confused, easily swayed, and unsure of what is even occurring in his legislative hearings, and that his colleagues seem intent on keeping him in place exactly for those every reasons.