Republicans are mid-cycle through their trademarked Do-Nothing Response to the latest episode of American gun carnage, this time in Uvalde, Texas.
First, Abbott, without irony, pronounced the murder of 19 kids “unacceptable in Texas.” Given Texas’ record in mass civilian gun murders over the past few decades, he might want to check his notes. He might also want to figure out whether his own rubber stamp for every piece of Texas legislation making it easier get and carry guns — including allowing unlicensed 18-year-olds to purchase military rifles — effectively demonstrates his “concern.”
Then Cruz, Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton all pointed to mental illness as the “real” cause of this shooting. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how much effort the Texas GOP has spent in funding and broadening access to mental health in the past 20 years. Criminalizing medical care for trans kids doesn’t count. (And, while we’re here, a special call-out for Paxton who was indicted by a grand jury in 2015 for securities fraud — and the charges are still pending. Not only has he never been tried, but on Tuesday, the GOP re-nominated him as their candidate for Attorney General.)
Yesterday, the Republican claque took to the stage in Uvalde to “offer comfort” and prayers to the families who had been affected by this “unspeakable” tragedy — “unspeakable” meaning “the sooner we quit talking about this the better.” This is where they threw Beto O’Rourke out of the auditorium when he challenged them for doing nothing to solve gun violence.
As Beto was frog-marched out, Dan Patrick, ironically, called him an “embarrassment.” Others called him a “son of a bitch.” It’s weird, because just as a group of crows is called a “murder,” the collective noun for three or more Republican politicians meeting for any purpose is “embarrassment.” A murder of crows. An embarrassment of Republicans.
Now, of course, Republicans are calling for the “hardening” of schools — by limiting access, arming teachers, establishing a militarized perimeter around every school so that every six-year-old will feel great each morning knowing that they are entering a literal combat zone. No need to discuss the fact that armed law enforcement encountered the shooter in Uvalde and failed to stop him.
The main point is that in order to set up armed encampments around every school, millions of taxpayer dollars will be sent back to gun manufacturers — whose lobby, the NRA, has bought and paid for the Republican Party and six of the justices on the Supreme Court of the United States. This is what’s called a Return on Investment.
I used to work in the software business. One running joke was that anti-virus software developers spent the morning writing viruses, and the afternoon writing code to detect and eliminate them. Whether true or not, that’s exactly the kind of scam the NRA/Republican Party is working with guns.
Hooking into a dubious interpretation of the Second Amendment, they have ensured the free flow of guns into the hands of a population they have driven to paranoia. Every time Democrats take the White House, gun sales increase. And, after loosening all restrictions on getting guns, whenever a mass shooting occurs, their solution is always . . . more guns.
If there is a glimmer of hope in any of this, it’s that Republican “pro-life” hypocrisy is becoming clearer after the Alito draft opinion. Beto, of course was right in calling out the window-dressing the GOP uses to showcase their “concern” for gun victims. The toxic coalescence of gun running, racism, evisceration of women’s rights, corporatization of political campaigns, crazed-evangelicals, voter suppression, and outright affection for fascists should make this the year in which the Republican boil is finally lanced.
You know what to do. Make sure your neighbors do, too.
(Drawing by Barry Blitt.)