It’s 9/12/01. The United States has just witnessed its most devastating domestic attack. New York City is in ruins. Three thousand people are dead. There is confusion and fear everywhere, in every neighborhood, town, and city. And on 9/12 President George W. Bush turns to the nation and says:
This is not the time to politicize this attack. We need a period to mourn, to let families grieve, to rebuild. Maybe then we can discuss next steps, see what can be done to prevent this happening, but right now we need to not have a discussion on politics. It’s callous and cold and the families of those who have fallen don’t want it.
The 2012 attack on Benghazi has just happened. And President Barack Obama turns to his Republican colleagues in Congress and says:
This is not the time to politicize this attack. We need a period to mourn, to let families grieve, to have thoughts and prayers. Maybe later down the line we can discuss next steps, and launch nonsensical and numerous investigations into the actions of Secretary Hillary Clinton. But right now we need to not bring this into the political sphere. It’s callous and cold and the families of those who have fallen don’t want it.
It should be impressive to watch a large group of old men simultaneously lose themselves to ignorance and hypocrisy. Yet, it isn’t. Infuriating. Disgusting. Unsurprising. Those are better words.
Last week saw the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Fifty-eight people died by the hands of one man and his mini-arsenal of automated-semi-automatic weapons. Military style equipment which, naturally, is needed by civilians, in hotels, in Las Vegas, where millions of other civilians walk around casually believing themselves to be safe.
Fifty-eight people died because America refuses to have the most basic of conversations about an addiction to firearms. This obsession is unknown anywhere else in the world, and the Right’s only tactic is to hide behind an imaginary period of mourning where jumping to political debate is insensitive, purely in the hope time will pass and the headlines will move on.
Republican leaders in Congress do not yet seem to understand that doing nothing to prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year is also insensitive.
As Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has pointed out numerous times, the police do not wait 48 hours to investigate crimes. At that point the crime becomes a lot harder to investigate. We didn’t wait two weeks to discuss the repercussions of 9/11, we acted immediately. The western world came together to fight back agains the evil which drove planes into the Twin Towers. But when a madman walks into a school and kills twenty-odd children under the age of ten, that needs a moment of pause.
And this isn’t even something which the GOP stands behind. Donald Trump didn’t get the memo about the moment of non-discussion when he tweeted out about the terror attacks in London in the early summer. He mentioned “terror” long before the British government had, and launched a ridiculous attack against the London mayor. But FOX News didn’t feel the need to call him out on that. Instead they used their top-notch journalism talent to falsify reports about the state of Islam in British capital and the migration problem from the Middle East.
The phantom period of nothingness exists only for gun attacks in the United States, and even then it only counts if the shooter is white.
The Right didn’t want to talk about the racial shootings by police officers against African Americans over the last number of years (except to defend the shooters), but when a black man shot at both Black Lives Matter protesters and police officers guarding the march, the media and politicians went berserk.
When it’s perpetuated by minorities (whether black, brown, Muslim), it’s terrorism, or an indictment against the state of black people in the nation. When the shooter is white, he’s a lone wolf and we don’t yet know the reasons for this (because he has to have a sure fire reason to require an arsenal of military-grade weapons.
America puts guns before people
Especially non-white people. There is greater outrage to ensure the 500 victims of the attack get adequate healthcare without ensuring they fall into serious debt than with the ‘essential right’ for all [white] Americans to have access to firearms, just in case. Sounds like a logical conclusion by the world’s global leader.
The level of hypocrisy around the issue of guns is beyond quantification. The Right are willing to implement restrictions upon regulations against access to abortion for women because abortions-equal-death. Usually just the one ‘death’. But a discussion on practical gun control is beyond comprehension, regardless of all the deaths. This time it was 58, the highest recorded. The previous record was witnessed last year in Orlando; 49 deaths. For deranged shooters it’s almost a competition to win recognition.
There’s no point in offering thoughts and prayers. There’s no point for a period of mourning. We don’t have time. In 2017 there has been near one mass shooting per day, and most don’t get reported nationally because there’s no time. It is just another part of American life. Death by firearm is everyday culture. And for some unknown reason, so is the assumed necessity of semi-automatic weapons. All because a bunch of guys 240 years ago wrote down that there was an ambiguous right to “bear arms”, a line written at a time when the idea of automated, military-styled guns could not have been fathomed.
And for those who want to quote the Second Amendment…
The amendment is there, supposedly, to ensure the people can retake their government from the hands of corruption, from authoritarians. A fair assessment. But this addiction to guns is not that. How can I say that? Those with guns hide behind their right to take back their country, to stand against aggression and injustice. Funny how Colin Kaepernick who tries to demonstrate against the injustice and corruption he sees from figures of authority, he’s heckled as ‘un-American’, as disrespectful and against freedom. This is not about the Second Amendment.
And for the record: Republicans don’t seem to mind when the First Amendment’s right to free speech, a free press, and a plurality of religions are all regulated against.
Hypocrisy – the level is dumbfounding.