This was going to be specifically about Uvalde. But I wanted to wait a week or so to collect the best of the worst of the dumbest of the responses. And then I started thinking that within a week, there’d probably be several more gun massacres to steal Uvalde’s thunderstick. And lo and behold there were — as well as at least a dozen or so planned attacks and credible threats of attacks.
After Uvalde, there were the same idiotic responses that happen after any mass shooting. By now, we have enough “thoughts and prayers” to paper the walls of the NRA headquarters several times over. From just reading or hearing the comments, you can’t tell which specific mass shooting they’re referring to. It’s all interchangeable, cut and paste, rubber stamp, and on to the next one. And most of these remarks boil down to one thing:
“Don’t blame the gun”
Round up the usual suspects. You can probably repeat the litany by heart, since you’ve heard it many, many times by now. “Don’t blame the gun. It was mental illness. It was video games. It was rap. It was godlessness. It was abortion. But guns had nothing to do with it.”
Trouble is, other countries also have mental illness, video games, rap, “godlessness” and abortion. But no other country fetishizes guns. And no other country has routine gun massacres.
Abortion invariably appears in the deflection derby, in at least two ways: (a) how dare you complain about a few kids being slaughtered by guns when even “more kids are killed” by abortion; and (b) this is what happens when a culture doesn’t “value life”. Abortion gets inserted into all kinds of discussions where it doesn’t belong, because right-wingers never let a chance go to waste to exploit a volatile wedge issue.
And if more prayer would keep us safer, why do so many gun massacres occur in churches? Why do none occur in nations far less religious than the U.S. — even atheist nations like China and Russia? (Speaking of Russia, after actor George Takei suggested AR-15 owners should donate them to Ukraine, someone retorted that he’d just made the case for an armed citizenry, nyuk-nyuk-nyuk. Except he didn’t, not by a long shot. Ukrainians who join the war effort are not just “armed civilians”, but are joining a military drive to defeat a foreign invader.)
And then there’s the inevitable corollary of “don’t blame the gun”:
“We need more guns”
Isn’t it interesting that the one constant solution the right-wingers offer for gun violence is a hair of the dog — and they just happen to be heavily funded by the gun industry? Quite a coincidence, wouldn’t you say? Also interesting that you hardly heard this solution proposed after the Buffalo supermarket shooting, where the targeted victims were black. How many people did you hear say that African-Americans should be more heavily armed?
Specific proposals have included traumatizing kids even further by having unannounced inspections by armed personnel, and the evergreen favorite of arming the teachers. That’s right, we can’t trust the teachers with history books, but we’re supposed to give them an AR Bazooka 5000 or whatever. Remember, teachers are often singled out as being supposedly part of the problem — “indoctrinating” kids, which somehow leads to the kids being magnets for bullets. So we rectify the problem by giving those evil teachers implements for firing bullets. If it doesn’t make sense to you, you’re just not living in the right-wing alternate universe.
Above all, “the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Oh? So how about dozens of good guys with guns? Like, say, the police who were dispatched to the scene at Robb Elementary. Weren’t they at least nominally “good guys”? And yet they stood around with their muzzles up their butts for 77 minutes while the gunman slaughtered children inside.
Even “The Cool Kid’s Philosopher“, Ben Shapiro (he of underwater real estate fame) pontificated that the reason so many kids get shot is that “kids cannot carry guns”; and that people who do carry guns are not as likely to get shot, before adding that
I’m unaware of any situation in which the threat of a good guy with a gun has not ended a situation with a bad guy with a gun.
He doesn’t get out much. In fact, he doesn’t pull his head out of his ass much. Not only are there numerous cases of “armed good guys” failing to stop a crime (sometimes tragically so), but one study indicated that being armed makes you 4.5 times more likely to be shot. And Ben was totally ignoring what had just happened in Uvalde, where the only Good Guy to enter a building under siege was an unarmed mother.
Another related parrot line is that shooters target schools so frequently because they are “gun-free” zones. The gun culture even routinely quotes the bogus “statistic” that 98 percent of mass shootings occur in such zones. That bloated lie comes to you courtesy of John Lott, a thoroughly debunked and shameless quack whose fraudulent “research” is often cited as gospel by the Second Amendment crowd. (To arrive at that 98 percent figure, he counted each fatality as a separate incident!) More accurately, about 12 to 13 percent of these incidents occur in “gun-free” zones — which indicates nothing more than chance — and there is no evidence that shooters ever select such locations because they are gun-free. Indeed, “gun-free” zones are not really gun-free; they can still have their designated “armed good guys”.
The claims that mass shootings are faked for political advantage used to be exclusively the province of the most extreme batshit brigade. Nowadays, they’re standard dogma of the GOP mainstream. But I repeat myself.
But whaddabout Chicago?
It tells you a great deal about right-winger logic that they believe they can deflect from the problem of gun violence by citing further examples of gun violence. Invariably, they fall back on Chicago — perhaps because they believe it to be the most violent American city. It isn’t — it currently ranks 20th in that department, behind several much smaller cities, and several cities in states that are deep red in more ways than one. (And note that the 5 cities with the highest gun violence rate have loose gun laws; as do the 5 states with the most gun violence.)
At any rate, the message here is something like: “If you haven’t eliminated gun violence everywhere else, then you have no right to complain about gun violence anywhere else.” Conservatives speak as if they somehow assume that “gun control” advocates are, for some reason or other, making an exception for Chicago while pushing for tougher gun laws in all other places.
But whaddabout cars, airplanes, hammers, etc.
The inappropriate false comparisons always come as thick and fast as bullets from an AR-15. Perhaps this time it was best (?) summed up by perpetually self-humiliating CongressThing Lauren Boebert:
When 9/11 happened, we didn’t ban planes.
No, but we’re now not allowed to carry scissors, water or peanut butter onto a plane. Surely we can impose better restrictions on things that are, shall we say, somewhat more dangerous.
But whaddabout BLM and Antifa?
No joke. They actually try out this one. Repeatedly and predictably.
Boys will be boys
It’s no big secret that (with perhaps one or two exceptions somewhere or other) mass shooters are always male. That’s related to what is often characterized as toxic masculinity. Right-wingers hate that term, believing that misogynistic machismo is a perfectly healthy Amurrcan trait — hey, what’s wrong with a little wife-beating to keep them in line. So, as they do with every other issue, they try to turn it upside down, spinning acts of violence as the result of suppressing rampaging testosterone rather than of stoking it. Thus, a guest on Fox “News” mused that:
Our culture is controlled by fear and cowardice. Masculinity, traditional male values, are under attack. There’s — it’s not any mystery why young boys are confused, angry, confused about their identity, angry at the world… [W]e turned over our culture to the pansies in northern California and their social media apps.
In addition to all the standard tried and true responses to gun massacres, there were a few fresh twists after Uvalde — some of which no doubt will become a standard part of the repertoire in the future.
Critical Race Theory
It shouldn’t be surprising that GOPers should use CRT, an extremely popular whipping boy that they know absolutely nothing about, to further fan the flames. Their “argument” such as it is, is that by teaching the truth about history, teachers are encouraging violent psychopaths. And again, they want to extend to those teachers the opportunity to become violent psychopaths themselves. It’s a good bet that you’ll be hearing about CRT again after future bloodbaths.
It’s the doors, stupid
Here’s another one that seems fairly new, but has real staying power: it’s not really that we have too many guns, say the wingers, but that there are too many doors. Limit schools to one door each, they say, and that’ll stop the carnage cold. After all, you can’t kill kids with bullets if they’re already dead from a fire. Maybe we also should enforce the single-door rule for the houses of Supreme Court justices, eh?
The shooter was demon-possessed
Hmmm… that one has real perennial potential too.
“And stop being a propagandist”
That’s a direct quote from Ted Cancun Cruz (who, remember, fancies himself a modern Galileo) retorting to a reporter who had the audacity to sincerely ask him the extremely vital question of just why these things only happen in the U.S. You can always tell when a journalist is doing their job well, because some arrogant fascist will haughtily lecture them about how not to do their job.
In a desperate quest to justify ownership of precious toys like the Ar-15, right-wingers are constantly trying out new excuses. The idea that such a machine is vital for “home defense” has worn rather thin, but not to worry. Now they’re suggesting that it’s the ideal thing to stop raccoons raiding the chicken coop (ask a chicken farmer how smart this is), and to dispatch prairie dogs because… well, just because. It’s not enough to merely kill those varmints. You have to pulverize them as an example to any of their comrades who might be tempted to learn critical race theory.
(Note: the green sneakers pictured above depict those often worn by Maite Rodriguez, a 10-year-old student at Robb Elementary. These distinctive shoes enabled the identification of her remains, thoroughly shredded by an AR-15.)
Former Guy at the NRA Convention
The very existence of the NRA is enough of a slap in the face to humanity; but not content with being merely egregious, they held their big pow-wow (a gun-free zone, by the way) shortly after the Robb Elementary slaughter — and only a few miles away, no less. And, in an effort to break all records for tastelessness, they had Former Guy stand on stage and read the names of the victims, whose names he predictably mangled; each name was followed by the ringing of a bell, as if counting the score. And at the conclusion, he did a little celebratory dance.
Pure class, as always. Just like the rest of the Second Amendment cult.
“If I thought it would help, I’d apologize.“
That was Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, in a press conference at which he acknowledged that it was the “wrong decision” to wait over an hour to send police into the school where the gunman was butchering kids. Ya reckon, Steve? He also took the time, by the way, to suggest that maybe the shooter’s problem was that he played video games.
“It could have been worse”
Thus spake Greg Abbott, honorable governor of Texas, before reluctantly canceling his scheduled appearance at the NRA convention due to public pressure (and opting for a pre-recorded message to the gunster gang instead). Yes, Governor, it certainly could have been. And it certainly will be.
“There’s no reason to live in the past“
That was a comment made by a random white bystander to the great-grandfather of a murdered Robb Elementary student as he demanded answers 11 days later. After all, Uvalde came 10 days after Buffalo, and who even remembered that bit of ancient history anymore? No time to dwell on today’s massacres. We have to cue up the dumb responses to tomorrow’s.