If House Republicans get their way after a disgruntled man with an assault rifle fired at them as they practiced baseball on a Virginia diamond, gun laws will be further loosened. Their support for unfettered access to military-styled weapons with high-capacity magazines is a matter of record, and so is their blood money from the National Rifle Association.
Blame began quickly, with pious Rep. Steve King driving to the field of screams “to pray.” King, who has accepted $11,500 in NRA blood money, soon turned prayer time into a media moment as he raved about a divided nation and blamed the Liberal Left — angry, according to King, because they lost the election to Don Trump. The shooter, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, was a Bernie Sanders supporter from Illinois, and he was killed by United States Capitol Police officers who provided security for the event.
The rhetoric from Conservatives and alt-right media, blaming the Liberal Left, is phenomenal, hateful and unfounded. There is so much of it, and it is so manic as to be unwieldy to list, so here are just a few:
Drudge Report: “Gunman: ‘Kill as many Republicans as possible.’ ” That was a quote from Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina in describing what he thought the gunman’s motivation had been.
Rush Limbaugh: “The Democrat base voter who shot up the Republican Congress today in Virginia, he was a mainstream Democrat voter. He was not a Looney Tune kook burger.”
Cheryl Chumley of the Washington Times: “Let’s hope the leftist politicking of choice — mayhem and violence, whatever means to justify a leftist vision end — hasn’t led to the actual shooting of Republicans, to the actual hunting of GOP members.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, critically wounded in the attack, took at least $5,000 from the NRA during the last campaign cycle. He has an A rating from the organization, meaning every ballot he casts for them is coated in blood. Sure as hell didn’t protect him did it?
Some Republican witnesses now contend that had each of them been packing heat, none of this would have happened. They could have shot themselves out of danger! They believe there should be no such thing as “a gun free zone!”
Imagine rounding second with your assault weapon slung over your chest, a Glock 28 flopping from your belt as you head for a belly-flop slide into third. How dangerous would that be?
Instead of wearing a sliding pad in your pants, you’d best strap on a Kevlar vest and helmet and hope for no armpit shots. Should a bevy of bullets whistle past your face, you could stop in mid stride, “jerk your smoke wagon,” a la Wyatt Earp, and start a-shootin’. But at whom? Delay in a gunfight is usually fatal.
And let’s not forget about Don Trump, who received more money from the NRA than from any other outside group. “You came through big for me, and I am going to come through for you,” he told NRA members at the group’s annual convention in April, the first time a president had addressed such a gathering in person since Ronald Reagan. “The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” he said.
Somehow, his weak disavowal of the shooting rings loudly as hollow bullshit. A responsible person would be demanding an end to this insanity. But, nada.
So while pleas for “national unity” echo across social media and the airwaves after another tragic shooting, the deniers will continue to allow us to die in a hail of bullets from semiautomatic assault rifles. Again and again and again.