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Friday, May 3, 2013

NH Rep. says Nashua worker Jeff Bauman “not in pain” when his legs were blown off at Marathon, later apologizes for offending anyone with comments

CONCORD – Auburn Republican State Rep. Stella Tremblay inserted herself again into the Boston bombing controversy, this time claiming the severely-injured Jeffrey Bauman Jr. “was not in pain” after the attacks.

An employee of Nashua Costco, Bauman had both his legs amputated above the knee from injuries suffered in the Boston Marathon bombings. ...

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CONCORD – Auburn Republican State Rep. Stella Tremblay inserted herself again into the Boston bombing controversy, this time claiming the severely-injured Jeffrey Bauman Jr. “was not in pain” after the attacks.

An employee of Nashua Costco, Bauman had both his legs amputated above the knee from injuries suffered in the Boston Marathon bombings.

A photograph of Bauman being rushed from the scene became an iconic image viewed around the world just after the attacks. And law enforcement credited Bauman, a Chelmsford, Mass., resident who grew up in New Hampshire, with providing eyewitness testimony and assisting a forensic artist with identifying one of the bombers soon
after he first woke up from his injuries, according to Bloomberg News.

“My first reaction to seeing the horror of that person who had the legs blown off … was that he was not in shock,” Tremblay said during a broadcast of the Pete Santilli Show on the Guerrilla Media Network on Tuesday.

“And I looked, and I thought, ‘There’s something. I don’t know what’s wrong,’ but it seemed surreal to me … He was not in shock. He was not in pain. If I had had those types of injuries, I would be screaming in agony.”

This is the second time Tremblay’s comments on the attack have drawn nationwide attention.

Shortly after the attacks in April, Tremblay posted to conservative media commentator Glenn Beck’s Facebook page, claiming the events in Boston were carried out by a “black ops” mission of the federal government. She had refused to apologize for or retract her statements, even when numerous New Hampshire politicians and residents called for her resignation.

Tremblay released a statement apologizing for her remarks Thursday night and criticizing the media for “not doing their jobs.”

“My sincere apologies if I have offended anyone with my comments regarding the Boston Marathon Bombing. It was out of my sincere desire to question the violated constitutional rights of the residents in Watertown in the name of searching for one fugitive.

“Furthermore, all individuals have the right to be ‘innocent’ until proven guilty. We are setting a precedent for ourselves, if we allow our fears to override individual liberties. Our emotions must be tempered if we want justice to prevail.

“President Richard Nixon was impeached when the media asked the tough questions. Inquisitiveness is only natural when the media is not doing their jobs. These media standards should apply consistently to every administration and not be slanted or manipulated for a specific outcome. When we give up our ‘liberties’ in the name of safety, we truly have agreed to be enslaved.”

During the Santilli interview, Tremblay also claimed Republican State Chairman Jennifer Horn assured her she would not have to quit after she made her outlandish statements, and rather, encouraged her to stop speaking out on the issue. Tremblay is in her second term.

“She kept on harping and harping ‘I am not going to make you step down,’ ” Tremblay said.

In response, Horn ramped up her criticism of Tremblay and announced she was effectively excommunicating her from any involvement in state GOP affairs this week.

“Representative Tremblay’s vile and disgusting comments have crossed a new line,” she wrote in a statement. “There is no place for a person who would make such insensitive and abhorrent statements in the Republican Party or in New Hampshire State government.

“She is unfit to serve in public office, and as a result she has been banned from receiving any support from the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.”

Friends and co-workers of Bauman’s said they were also outraged to hear the amputee victim was called out in Tremblay’s statements.

Kevin Horst, general manager of the Nashua Costco, said he was appalled and deeply offended.

“Her ignorance and her insensitivity does not make it any easier on (Jeff’s) family, his friends or himself,” Horst told The Telegraph. “I just look forward to the good people of Auburn voting somebody like that out of office if they don’t have the good sense to remove themselves.”

Earlier Thursday, state Democratic Party leaders renewed their call for Horn and GOP legislative leaders to demand that Tremblay resign her seat.

“While thousands of Granite Staters have rallied support for Bauman and his family in Concord, Jennifer Horn was busy covering for her Tea Party pal promising not to ask her to resign,” said Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.

While some may assume Tremblay’s comments merit an automatic pushing of an official out of office, Ryan Williams, a media consultant for the state GOP, said party leaders may only call for someone to quit if they commit a crime or act that renders them ineligible to serve in their elected capacity.

Williams noted state party officials had called upon former State Rep. Tom Alciere, R-Nashua, to quit after published reports confirmed he had advocated the killing of police officers who tried to prosecute America’s drug war. Alciere ultimately stepped down in January 2001 only days after he had taken the oath of office.

In 2010, state GOP leaders took the same action Horn said she had with Tremblay against Ryan Murdough, of Ashland, when he campaigned “to keep New Hampshire white” and promoted beliefs sympathetic to the Nazi Party. Murdough at the time was the political director of the National Socialist American Party.

On the Santilli radio show website, the host praised Tremblay as one of the nation’s few elected leaders who has questioned the government’s account of the bombings. Santilli called Tremblay a hero and praised her for asking “the hard question the mainstream media refuses to do.”

Pepperrell, Mass., resident David Turner, a co-worker of Bauman’s at the Costco deli counter, said he was saddened to hear that a person, let alone a public official, would buy into such conspiracy theories.

“I am saddened that our culture has come to a point where even our political leaders cannot tell the difference between legitimate sources of information and the trashy news stories that get spread around the Internet these days,” Turner said. “The types of stories that used to be confined to the checkout counter at the supermarket as entertainment are now being passed around as truth.”

Turner added he hoped Tremblay would do a “bit more research” before jumping to conclusions.

Horst stressed dozens of people come to Costco every day to ask about Bauman’s condition and his path to recovery. He urged people to donate to Jeff Bauman online through his friend’s “Bucks for Bauman” campaign on gofundme.com or to send checks payable to the Jeff Bauman Foundation to Enterprise Bank, 185 Littleton Road, Chelmsford, Mass.

Turner ran his own gofundme.com campaign last month to buy his friend an expensive guitar he could play in the hospital while he recuperated. Turner told The Telegraph on Thursday that he was proud to say the campaign hit its $3,000 fundraising goal and the instrument is on its way.

Horst said in spite of everything, Bauman remains in high spirits and his “Costco family” is rallying together for him.

“We’re just so happy that he’s alive. We’re happy that he’s recovering we’re proud of his spirit and his attitude and we are proud of his family and those that are surrounding him,” he said. “We’re impressed by how wonderful everybody is being for Jeff.”

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Samantha Allen can be reached at 594-6426 or sallen@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan) or Allen (@Telegraph_SamA).