Saturday, February 17, 2018
Thoughts and Prayers
Those words are hollow following the seventh school shooting of 2018, and by far the deadliest. But, rather than have a debate on gun control, conservative pundits are busy pointing out a flawed story by an advocacy group called Everytown for Gun Safety that cited 18 school shootings so far this year. Like it really matters whether there were 7 or 18. One is too many.
We have received the response we expected from the NRA-sponsored Republican Party. The gun rights advocacy group spent $30 million alone on Donald Trump in 2016 and has bankrolled just about every Republican in Congress. They're the ones who got Republicans to let the federal assault weapons ban expire in 2004 after retaking Congress once again. Since then the proliferation of assault weapons has skyrocketed with the AR-15 by far the most popular weapon on the market. There are over 5 million in circulation and no doubt there will be another stampede at Walmart and other suppliers now that the cry for gun control has been raised yet again.
Even more disconcerting is that a kid like Nikolas Cruz can legally buy an assault rifle at 19. He can't even buy alcohol yet. The kid also had a history of mental problems that should have come up on a background check. But, gun advocates will tell you that if Nick hadn't been able to buy his rifle at a gun store, he would have gotten it some other way. Fact is that when the assault weapons ban was in place there were far fewer mass shootings because such weapons were harder to get.
The only way to get Congress and state legislatures to act is to vote out conservative legislators backed by the NRA. Until that happens, these "lawmakers" will continue to play dumb on gun control because they think that is what their constituency wants. Listen to Marco Rubio and ask yourself, Floridians, why you voted for this mindless idiot?
Of course, we can argue that it takes an unstable person to go on such a shooting spree, but why should we make it easy for them. Stephen Paddock also legally acquired his arsenal, which he used to great effect in Las Vegas last year. Nevada, like Florida, and like many other states for that matter, provides very few limits, and what few they do they do so begrudgingly.
Until there is a will to fight gun violence at the state and federal level, we will continue to hear conservative politicians and pundits go on about second amendment rights. Judge Nap gets a lot of things wrong in his Fox News screed. The most blatant being the second amendment was never about personal self-defense, but rather the rights of states to form militias after the federal government had disbanded the Continental Army. It's judges like him who over the decades interpreted this amendment to be about individual rights.
The first amendment allows pundits like Judge Nap and Laura Ingraham to voice their opinions despite their glaring inaccuracies. Yet, these same folks will take Everytown for Gun Safety to task for overstating the number of school shootings this year. Conservative talking heads would rather deflect attention away from the root cause of this violence rather than confront it, offering their thoughts and prayers instead.