We urgently need a trained crisis response team – unarmed, please – at the Kansas State Capitol on Monday. Because Rep. Mark Samsel, who was charged with drums after he allegedly behaved in an abusive and absurdly delusional manner about God, Satan, lesbians and suicide in a Wellsville classroom last week , is melting for all to see.
It is neither funny nor in any way political. So yes, Samsel has to step down, both as a GOP lawmaker and a substitute teacher. But instead of focusing on the partisan or even legal implications right now, what this man needs is medical attention, stat.
Democratic Senator Cindy Holscher, who served with Samsel in the House, said, “The things he said and did are not representative of him,” a moderate, even-tempered Republican. “It’s a break from reality, and I hope he gets some help.”
After she texted him to that effect, she said, he replied saying the information was false. “He said, ‘The truth will come out soon,’ then a cross emoji.”
After the story of his creepy and sick rant hit the news in The Star and then nationwide, Samsel said it was a planned stunt that most of the students took part in. No and no. He was supposed to send a message, even though no one knew what message it could be.
Now Samsel has posted a full Facebook ramble in response to the story about it in the Anderson County Review, a weekly newspaper run by the local GOP president. A president who himself made international news last summer when he posted a cartoon on the newspaper’s Facebook page comparing Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s order demanding that people wear masks in public with the roundup and murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
Here is just a little bit of Samsel’s last post: “WAKE UP, FOLKS! How can I make it clearer? Do you know how THE DEVIL does its auctions? NO HORNS.
“HATE. In a costume. Use deception, lies, blasphemy. YOU KNOW, ANDERSON COUNTY REVIEW. Opinion section. Then disguise it using YOUR children, the children of God, to create a really nice sports section, FFA, group etc. Using OUR children to spread hatred, fear and division Yes I’m angry Enough is enough…
“Ask the children. Teachers. COACHES. THEY KNOW. Who bought them pizzas, burgers, cookies? You already know. So who is crucified by the Far Right saying ungodly things about me and attacking my motives. WWJD a lot? Many two-sided?
Like in class, he went on and on from there. But we shouldn’t go on and on, pretending it’s just another criminal bigmouth who doesn’t deserve to serve.
He is the third Kansas lawmaker we know of who should have received some serious help this year.
Samsel’s fellow Republican, former Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, still serves in Topeka, having been charged with DUI and driving 90 mph the wrong way on Interstate 70. Barely able to pull himself up. stand up when he was finally arrested, according to court documents he blew more than double the legal limit, called the arresting officer a “donut boy” and boasted that in as a former high school athlete, he could “take” the officer into a fight.
Yet even after his arrest, he still acted as the majority leader behind the scenes. His friends and allies mentioned thoughts and prayers instead of treatment and other treatments. It was only after the “donut boy” comment came out that he was removed from his post.
Then there’s first-year Kansas Democratic Representative Aaron Coleman of Kansas City, Kansas, whose recent acknowledged history of intimate partner violence should also have resulted in both legal consequences and therapeutic intervention.
Instead, he got neither. He was elected anyway and, since his election in November, has tweeted about a “hit” against fellow Democrat Governor Kelly. Republican John Barker, who chaired the House committee investigating Coleman, refused to let even one of Coleman’s victims testify at the mini-hearing on the matter. Barker said the committee should not consider any behavior until Coleman or any other member is in office, although that need not be so.
House Democrats wanted it made clear in the letter of reprimand Coleman received that he needed to get advice, but even that was removed from the weak end product.
Each of these cases could have resulted in loss of life, and could still do, frankly. It is time for the rulers of the state of Kansas to recognize the reality and tackle it much more courageously than they have so far.