Monday, October 2, 2017

Thoughts, Prayers, And Another Mass Shooting

"The main policy response to mass shootings is to lower the flag to half-staff."  -- Ryan Lizza
Thoughts and prayers and calls for unity when the shooter is white and the victims are white.  Such mass shootings are the result of pure evil, not an act of terrorism, we are told.  The solution?  There is no solution.  Just more thoughts and prayers.  This is not the time to politicize tragedy, we are told.  This is not the time to talk about meaningful solutions to gun violence because there is never a time to talk about solutions to gun violence. 

Imagine the president's response to the shootings if the shooter were Muslim and/or a person of color.  This divisive demagogue would hardly be calling for unity.  He would immediately politicize the tragedy, label it a terrorist act, blame Democrats, condemn all Muslims, and tweet about how it justified a travel ban.

Imagine the president's response to the shootings if the victims were mostly people of color.  There would likely be no response at all. 

Unity for Republicans means unifying against gun control laws.  In 2013, Congress voted 60-40 to defeat an assault weapons ban that would have prohibited "the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons" and would have banned "large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition."  While some Democrats joined the Republicans in voting this legislation down, only one Republican voted for it.  Now, once again, they offer thoughts and prayers.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year old white man, checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with at least ten guns, reportedly including a high-caliber automatic weapon.  In Nevada, open carry is legal, you don't need a permit to buy or carry rifles and shotguns, there is no ban on assault weapons or magazine capacity limit for them, and there is no mandatory waiting period to purchase a firearm.

Stephen Paddock reportedly acted alone in perpetrating the worst mass shooting in U.S history.  That's because our government hasn't acted at all.


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