Once again America is left to pick up the pieces after a mass shooting – and once again those who should bear responsibility for supporting policies that put guns into the hands of violent people feign sympathy.
As the families of the victims in San Bernardino, California begin the mourning process, Republicans begin another one altogether. With the country now averaging more than one mass shooting per day, the pro-gun Republican Party offers weak condolences and an unspoken promise to the NRA that they will do nothing more.
Right on cue, Republican politicians began sending out “prayers” to the victims, and, in turn, tacitly acknowledging that they will be submitting absolutely no real solutions to prevent another tragedy.
Praying for those impacted by the shooting in California today.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) December 2, 2015
Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 2, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families in San Bernardino.
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) December 2, 2015
While these thoughts and prayers may make people like Cruz, Huckabee and Carson sleep better at night, they quite clearly do not make a difference in stopping mass shootings. Even as the Republican Party prays vigorously after each new attack, the number of mass shootings perpetrated in American continues to rise. It doesn’t take a scientist to conclude that prayers do absolutely nothing.
But the real solution — things like sensible gun control, closing loopholes in background checks and weapon buyback programs to get the flood of weapons off the streets — are not an option for Republicans. They are so far in the pocket of gun lobbying groups like the NRA as to live entirely in the dark. Instead, they use prayers as a shield to protect themselves from inconvenient truths.
And they use that shield a lot.
In fact, guys like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee seem to have their “mass shooting condolences” down to an exact science. They use stock expressions of sorrow, cut and paste the location and situation and then tweet with absolute indifference. The result is an ever-growing list of “thoughts and prayers” sent by the politicians who stand by and do nothing.
When not spewing out pre-made sterilized garbage during every mass shooting, Cruz is actively working to make guns easier to get ahold of. His own state of Texas is bracing itself for the new year when an NRA-backed “guns everywhere” law will become official. In Texas, it will be legal to “open carry” firearms into almost any establishment. What could go wrong? Cruz himself loves to show off with guns. In one of his more pathetic moments of pandering, he created a “viral” video that featured him cooking bacon off the barrel of a machine gun.
It should be no surprise to learn, then, that Ted Cruz is the NRA’s favorite son. In his last election, Cruz received nearly $70,000 in direct donations from pro-gun activist groups. One of his promises was surely that in the event of a mass shooting, he would do nothing but pray.
Mike Huckabee is just as bad. He too is a big fan of prayer over gun control. Like Cruz, he seems to think that if he just prays hard enough, he can stop bullets by divine intervention alone. It hasn’t worked.
It’s amazing to consider how out of touch Republicans are regarding America’s gun problem. As thousands of people die, they treat guns as toys and the people who stockpile them as heroes. When inevitable tragedies strike – as they do far too often – they shrug and pathetically promise to send an extra prayer up for the victims. As the country comes to grips with its gun problem, so too must it come to grips with the people most actively perpetuating it.
Feature image via Twitter