Tom Hackbarth is from Cedar, Minnesota and is a veteran member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district he represents is just north of where I live (I’m near 113th and the southern border of Hackbarth’s district is 181st) and overlaps with Michele Bachmann’s congressional district. Hackbarth is a Republican and has been re-elected to represent this district a number of times. With the Republicans taking over the Minnesota house this year, he is the new chair of the Environment and Natural resources Committee. And, when asked by reporters from our local TV station what he was doing behind the planned parenthood building after hours with a map of the neighborhood, a pair of binoculars, and a loaded gun, his reply was:

“No clue.”

Here’s what happened. Hackbarth was spotted in security cameras changing jackets, and that’s how the security people saw the gun strapped to his belt. The called Saint Paul police (this was the clinic in the Highland Park neighborhood, which is a very different place than Hackbarth’s district) who arrived on the scene shortly, spotting Hackbarth at a nearby intersection. They busted him, took his gun, and let him go. This happened several days ago, and yesterday he came by the police headquarters to pick up the pistol. For some reason that is when the story broke.

Hackbarth told the police that he had a girlfriend. They had only seen each other a couple of times, having met on line. He did not have a phone number or email address for her since they had only communicated via the dating web site. He had reason to suspect, he told police, that she was seeing another man, and had come down to Highland Park to spy on her in order to see whether or not he was being lied to.

A guy from up ’round Bethel or Elk Lake would need a map to find his way to and around Highland Park. The binoculars make sense if you are going to spy on someone. The pistol … well, he carries that all the time, and he does have a permit for it. Why park in Planned Parenthood’s lot? Well, it was just an empty lot and he needed to stop somewhere for a few minutes, to change his jacket and stuff. Why the second clip of ammo for a different caliber gun, also found in his pickup truck? I’m not sure that question has been asked.

The whole situation is just a little strange. Was he staking out the Planned Parenthood facility for some terroristic reason? The police thought that a possibility, that’s why they took the gun. Was he stalking a woman whom he barely knew? Well, either his story indicates that he was, or his story is a rather lame excuse for why he was in the Planned Parenthood lot. The police also thought he was a bit “stalky” … another reason to interview him and take his firearm.

And the Republican Leadership in the Minnesota House also think this is a bit strange, and have suspended Hackbarth’s planned and current leadership roles until this is all figured out.

The police claim that Hackbarth indicated he was jealous of another man dating his ‘girlfriend,’ but he denied that to the press. The police state that he appeared angry and dangerous at the truck they stopped his truck, but Hackbarth appears to be reasonably contrite and calm when interviewed by the press. Here are some of Hackbarth’s statements to the press:

I have a permit to carry legally. I carry my gun all the time. I have never had an incident and everything is perfectly legal and above board.

We have to air our dirty laundry? My wife and I are going through a divorce we are separated. We’ve been separated for about a year and a half now.

She [his alleged girlfriend] gave me some line of baloney, and I thought, ‘well, she’s fibbing to me.’ You could tell, and I thought, ‘well, I’m going to check it out.’ and I went there to see if she was around and her vehicle was not there. And I was just checking on her.

Hackbarth has a routinely Republican voting record (against study of iron range miner’s cancer, against the bonding bill which mainly benefits the University and various educational facilities, against stem cell research, against abortion and choice) except in a couple of interesting areas. Republican leaders voted for K-12 background checks for coaches, Hackbarth voted against that, and voted against a bill that would have pulled the state out of a federal ID program, while Republican leaders seem to have supported that initiative (so he’s for a federal ID)*.

Sources

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich
    November 25, 2010

    This is just too weird. He was dangerously jealous of a woman’s activities, someone he only knew well enough to have contact through a dating site? Unh-unh.

    If that is the case, then she really should find out why he is getting divorced. Sounds like a dangerous person to me.

    If that is not the case, perhaps we have a potential Eric Rudolph/Paul Hill in the House of Representatives.

  2. #2 Phillip IV
    November 25, 2010

    What Was Republican Rep Hackbarth Doing in the Planned Parenthood lot with Binoculars and Loaded Gun?

    What does it matter? He’s a Republican, so Republican standards should apply to him. According to those, he is already proven guilty by the fact the police suspected him, and has thus lost all of his civil rights. He can now get brow-beaten into confessing the crime (whatever it is) or some other crime or crimes – the DA can manipulate the evidence to their heart’s desire – and the judge should then throw the book at him. Alternately, he could just get sent off to some torture-happy place in Africa for a bit of much-enhanced interrogation. Any kind of parole should be denied, and if he ever gets out of jail, they should put him on the sex offender register – for the children! And if they weren’t the most hypocritical people on the planet to begin with, his party colleagues would have no right to even begin complaining about any of it.

  3. #3 Ed S.
    November 25, 2010

    Interesting convergence of gun carry (legal), abortion/contraception (legal, so far), and “stalky” behavior (just weird, so far). With that story, I would have asked him to move along even without a weapon in evidence. Oh, and with smart phones, pda’s and gps…who carries maps?

  4. #4 Emory K.
    November 25, 2010

    So, the guy caught conducting quite the aggressive “background check” on his girlfriend is against background checks?

  5. #5 Equisetum
    November 25, 2010

    I like Josh Marshall’s summary:

    Minnesota State legislator Tom Hackbarth tells cops: I wasn’t trying to shoot up that abortion clinic; I was stalking my online girlfriend.

    I also like this quote from Hackbarth:

    “I was not a jealous boyfriend,” he said. “I was just trying to check up on her.”

    Oh, the cluelessness.

  6. #6 Badger3k
    November 25, 2010

    Separated and in an affair? In some states, that is reason enough for the other spouse to take everything, whether it is the husband or wife. Not sure of the laws in Minnesota. I guess he is showing family values – you have to defend what is “yours”, even if that means killing someone else, since “real men” don’t share, or let someone use their toys once they are done with them. That assumes his story is true, which is doubtful. Maybe Hackbarth needs one of these:http://poorlydressed.failblog.org/2010/11/25/fashion-fails-preparing-for-winter-and-hell/

  7. #7 Art
    November 25, 2010

    A wild-ass-guess but kind of sound like his girlfriend got knocked up and implied she would have an abortion. Being from that are this particular abortion clinic would be the most likely one she would go to for services.

    Given the timing this is likely a late night reconnaissance of the lay-of-the-land as preparation for a possible/predicted confrontation:

    The conscious plan would be to confront her and talk her out of aborting ‘his/our child’, using the gun as a threat if all else failed. Of course, if she failed to comply with his wishes he would follow through with his unconscious desire to shoot her for not being a proper compliant receptacle for his manly seed.

    The ‘clip’, actually the more correct term is magazine, full of cartridges of a caliber different from the gun carried was a mistake. He has a lot of guns and the handgun magazines pretty much look alike and are easy to mix up.

    This is exactly the sort of mistake that would be caught in a dress-rehearsal. Which is why he does this sort of thing.

  8. #8 tomfoolery
    November 25, 2010

    I can’t believe any of you buy this story that Tom was looking for his girlfriend. This was nothing but a quickie planned with his BOY friend, also an on line companion. the girl friend does not exist.

  9. #9 WMDKitty
    November 26, 2010

    Creeepy.

  10. #10 Keith
    November 27, 2010

    What have I done wrong? I study the candidates and vote, yet I end up being represented by both Hackbarth AND Bachmann. Aack!!!

  11. #11 Monado, FCD
    December 5, 2010

    Any follow-up on this? Charges? Further explanations? Initiative to get him to resign?