If You Don't Want Our Kids Shot in Biology Class, Don't Vote for Anyone Who Accepts Money from the NRA
A few scattered and random thoughts this morning, the day after yet another school shooting, which left 17 dead in Florida:
— Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it, Mr. President. He very well may have been mentally ill, but that was known. His school had expelled him. His mother, before she passed away, had called the cops on her own son. He had carried knives into the school. His classmates suggested that if their school was ever shot up, it would be him. These instances were reported to the authorities. His mental state was known. But that didn’t stop a depressed 19-year-old from buying an assault weapon, did it? If he had been diagnosed, it wouldn’t have stopped him from buying an assault weapon because you, Mr. President, only recently signed a law that made it easier for the mentally ill to purchase weapons.
There was nothing more the school or the police could have done here. The only thing that would have prevented this tragedy is if the kid had not had access to an assault weapon — the very same one used in nearly every one of these mass shootings. Maybe he still could have gotten a shotgun. Or a handgun. But the number of lives taken would have been significantly less.
There’s not a real pattern here, Mr. President, when it comes to the shooters. There’s not a real pattern when it comes to where these shootings occur. But there is a pattern where it concerns what type of weapon is being used. You want to do something about mass shootings? The first thing you do is ban that weapon, and all other types of assault weapons that might allow shooting rampages like this to happen.
— I take it back where it concerns a pattern in the shooters. They have all, pretty much, had a history of violence against women. This guy was no different — he was apparently stalking a woman. He had been abusive with an ex-girlfriend. He’d gotten into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. So, maybe, Mr. President, after you ban assault weapons, you could prohibit men with a history of violence against women from buying guns of any sort.
— In fact, if you ban AR-15s and prohibit men with a history of violence against women from purchasing guns, I guarantee there would be far fewer mass shootings. Your tax cut might stimulate the economy. Your wall might prevent undocumented immigrants from coming in. But if you ban assault weapons, school shootings will go down.
— Not that Republicans are going to do anything. Thoughts, prayers, hundreds of thousands in donations from the NRA, blah blah blah. It’s the same goddamn thing every goddamn time. Nothing changes and there’s zero point in having this argument again. Nothing will change until we replace our elected officials with men and women (and let’s face it, mostly women) who will actually change the laws.
— “We”? You’re in your goddamn bed watching Fox News and tweeting. You aren’t doing a goddamn thing. Shut the fuck up, Mr. President. You couldn’t even bother to face the public last night and make a statement, in part because your administration is so mired in scandal that you didn’t want to have to answer other questions. You’re a lousy leader. A lousy President. A lousy human being.
— I heard a lot of people on the news this morning in Florida say something to the effect of, “You never think it could happen to us.” That’s absolutely not true. Every fucking day, we send our kids to school hoping that today is not the day it could happen to us. It could happen to anyone. Parkland was an affluent suburb. Hell, this kid was taken in by what appears to be good people trying to look out for a neighbor after his mom died. It could happen to anyone … and a lot more anyones as long as those weapons are still available. My daughter was upset this morning when I put her on the bus because she forgot her water bottle, and she was mad at me about it. I think about the possibility of that being the last time I ever see her. So yeah, no: I think about how it could happen to me. All the time. We all do.
— It could have been much worse in Parkland, believe it or not. But the kids and the staff had been trained for situations like these. School shootings are so common — this is the 18th this year — that schools have to run school-shooting drills. How messed up is that? It’s just part of the everyday lives of students now.
— Again, a lot of very brave teachers and staff members risked and sacrificed their lives in this tragedy to save children. They are goddamn heroes, and some of them are dead heroes, and Trump and the Republicans and the NRA are apparently in the business of making dead heroes. I’m 100 percent certain they’d rather eat breakfast with their families this morning than be a hero. So, yes: We should absolutely honor those people. But we shouldn’t be in a position to have to.
— My wife and I talk a lot about whether we should let our son have a phone when he enters middle school. But what if that phone is the only way he can call for help? What if that phone gives us the last conversation we might ever have with him? What if we need to tell our son to “play dead”?
— These tragedies are preventable. It would take a lot of work. It would take a lot of policy changes. But they are preventable — we just have to elect the right people, people willing to stand up to the NRA and ban assault-style weapons. There’s not a goddamn Republican on the national stage who fits that bill, and there are plenty of Democrats who accept money from the NRA, too. Vote them out. Vote them all out.