Six Americans, including three 9-year-old children, were murdered by a shooter with two assault-style rifles at a Christian school in Nashville this week, and congressional Republicans offered up more thoughts and prayers.
Likely, their thoughts were about all the pro-gun fanatics to whom they are beholden for re-election and their prayers were for more big campaign donations from the firearms industry. That is judging by their responses to reporters’ questions about what can be done to address the nation’s epidemic of gun violence, responses that ranged from “nothing can be done” to “arm teachers” to “do not inhibit the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
The stance of Republicans on this issue was perfectly encapsulated in a Christmas card sent out this year by the GOP congressman who represents the district in which the school shooting took place. Tennessee Rep. Andy Ogles’ idea of holiday fun was to distribute a photograph of his family standing in front of a Christmas tree fully armed. In the photo, Ogles, his wife and two of his three children brandish the style of body-shattering weapons that were employed by the Nashville school shooter — and by an endless procession of mass murderers throughout our violence-imperiled country.
And here’s the cheery sentiment Ogles expressed in his Christmas card: “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
It would be a far more accurate reflection of the grim reality to say that the atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere promotes evil interference — they deserve to be limited and locked away to protect all that’s good, especially innocent kids in school.
When assault weapons were banned in the 1990s, the number of people killed in mass shootings plummeted. These are not hunting rifles. They are not pistols used for self-defense. They are extremely devastating weapons of war that do not belong under anyone’s Christmas tree. But the Republicans’ slavish devotion to the interests of the gun lobby will continue to ensure that they are the deadly gift that keeps on giving.
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