Yesterday a 28-year old graduate of a Christian school shot up the place, killing three 9-year-old students and three adults. This was almost 2 years to the day that Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a wide-ranging gun deregulation bill allowing Tennesseans to carry guns — open or concealed — without a permit or any other government interference.
Republicans are trying to distract America from the easy access Audrey Hale had to weapons of war by discussing Hale’s personal life, but the availability of guns and the Republican embrace of death as a political weapon are the only real issues here.
We’re the only developed country in the world that unconditionally allows civilians to own military-style assault weapons, that allows “open carry,” and that lets gun manufacturers openly buy politicians (thanks, Republicans on the Supreme Court).
As a consequence, we’re also the only country in the world where the leading cause of death for children is being blown apart by bullets.
Today is the 87th day of the year. So far, we’ve had over 130 mass shootings. Yesterday’s was the 33rd school shooting. This is not happening in any other developed country in the world.
These guns have been put into American’s hands by Republicans. Bill Clinton passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, but Republican President George W. Bush led the charge to refuse to renew it. It died in 2004.
The result is clear from the graphic Hillary Clinton posted here.
What changed in the mid-2000s to accelerate deaths from mass shootings?
The assault weapons ban expired.
We have the tools to prevent gun violence. We just need leaders with the conscience and courage to implement them. pic.twitter.com/FKvO7r1ht6
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 27, 2022
There are two simple reasons why Republicans want America drenched in guns and the deaths they bring.
The first is that they’ve been taking piles of money from explicit peddlers of death: the NRA and gun manufacturers. This form of corrupt political bribery was legalized by 5 Republicans on the Supreme Court in 1978 and doubled-down on with Citizens United: it’s not just corrupting politics in America, it is killing our children.
The second is that there’s a substantial part of the violent white racist GOP base that is actively arming in preparation for a civil racial war in America, egged on by multiple Republican members of Congress.
These America-hating legislators — these sick, twisted bastards — delight in posing their white families with military assault weapons and posting the pictures on social media, their way of telling Black people and “liberals” what’s coming.
Last weekend in Waco, Donald Trump ran clips on a giant screen of his January 6th mob assaulting and killing people, producing three dead police officers, as he and his followers stood with their hands over their hearts singing a version of the national anthem that was interspersed with quotes from Trump himself.
The leading Republican candidate for president and his followers were literally celebrating the deaths they had caused, while calling for an end to our form of democratic republican government.
If that bloody mass murderer Vladimir Putin wanted to kill a few hundred thousand Americans, for example, he couldn’t have done better. We’ve lost more Americans to guns in just the past three years than Putin has lost on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Which reminds me of the September 17, 2019 article from National Public Radio (NPR):
“The National Rifle Association acted as a ‘foreign asset’ for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation…”
Or the April 11, 2018 piece in Politico that opened with:
“The National Rifle Association reported this week that it received more money from people with Russian ties than it has previously acknowledged, and announced that it was officially done cooperating with a congressional inquiry exploring whether illicit Kremlin-linked funding passed through the NRA and into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign…”
The Republican-controlled congressional committee and the Republican-blocked Federal Elections Commission that learned about this both failed to issue or enforce a subpoena to learn more.
Nothing to see here but thousands of dead children. Republicans will use them as an excuse to ban books or harass drag performers, but they don’t really give a damn if our kids die from bullets.
Setting aside the Putin theory — regardless of how we got over 400 million guns in this country, the majority of them since the Reagan Revolution, earning hundreds of billions for the weapons industry — we are experiencing an orgy of death unparalleled in the rest of the developed world. Brought to us by the GOP.
America has just a bit more than 4 percent of the world’s population, but, with more guns than people in our country, we have more than 40 percent of all the civilian guns in the world.
Specifically, as a Swiss-based research group found, there are “approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world’s 230 countries and territories” and, as ABC News points out, in America there are “over 393 million firearms in civilian possession” as of 2017.
About fifteenth million more have been sold in the US since then: we are the only nation in the world with more guns than people.
For every 100 people in America, there are 120 guns. Among developed nations, next highest on the list is Canada, at 34 per 100 people, and all other developed countries are lower down the list than that: South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, for example, all clock in at fewer than one gun per 100 people.
This is entirely a recent phenomenon. Before the Reagan Revolution, gun ownership numbers in America resembled Canada’s and school shootings had not yet become a thing.
Today, however, America not only leads the world in gun ownership but we also lead the world in gun deaths. As an exhaustive study of gun deaths in the world’s 23 wealthiest countries published in The American Journal of Medicine found:
“US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher. For 15- to 24-year-olds, the gun homicide rate in the United States was 49.0 times higher. Firearm-related suicide rates were 8.0 times higher in the United States… Unintentional firearm deaths were 6.2 times higher in the United States. The overall firearm death rate in the United States from all causes was 10.0 times higher.”
Astonishingly, they added, ninety percent of all women murdered by firearms in those 23 countries were killed here in the United States, as well as 91 percent of all children killed by firearms.
Thanks to the Republican Party, fully 82 percent of all the human beings living in the world’s wealthy countries killed by firearms lived in the USA.
Only ten percent of the wealthy world’s firearms deaths occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland combined.
Other countries have gotten their gun violence under control by simply reducing the number of guns in circulation and requiring gun owners to do two of the three things we do across America for car owners: be licensed and register your weapon.
I’d add that we should include mandatory liability insurance, like we do for cars: the insurance companies would then sniff out the “high risk” gun owners and refuse to insure them, thus preventing them from easily and legally owning a gun. (San Jose, CA just put this into law!)
Gallup found last year that Americans are sick and tired of seeing our children slaughtered by guns just to satisfy fanatics and on-the-take politicians in the GOP: 57 percent of Americans and 85 percent of Democrats want stricter gun laws in America.
Giving American voters a giant middle finger, Republican politicians are moving in the opposite direction, endorsing gun violence and terror: then-Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn said after the Rittenhouse verdict that Republicans should “be armed and dangerous” while Marjorie Taylor Greene said, “[G]un rights are the only thing holding back the Communist Revolution the Democrats are waging.”
Because death-promoting fascists like these in the GOP continue to try to push America toward armed civil war, opposition to gun control appears to be an issue that animates the hard-core white supremacist Republican base who are openly enthusiastic about seeing Democrats and people of color die at the hands of vigilantes.
It used to be that Republicans promoted guns because of the NRA’s money, but the NRA is now a shell of its former self. Today, it appears they’re opposing rational gun control measures because so many of them are openly promoting gun-based rightwing terrorism and the death it brings to America’s streets.
Killer Kyle Rittenhouse, for example, is lionized by the GOP, embraced by the House Sedition Caucus, a popular speaker at Republican political events, and feted on Fox News and rightwing hate radio.
America is caught in a crossfire between gun manufacturers bribing politicians with the blessing of 5 corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court, and a fascist movement fed by billionaire-owned media machines that has seized control of the GOP.
Mass shooters, rightwing terrorists, and child-killers are celebrating. Meanwhile Republican politicians vow to protect us and our kids from — wait for it — librarians, drag queens, and history teachers.
Every developed country in the world has guns, and most have lots of them. But only America has a crisis of mass slaughter of our children.
Republicans and their sociopathic policies and rhetoric are causing people to use those guns to murder others.
It’s the Republican promotion of violence as an acceptable part of American politics — indisputably on display in Waco last weekend — that has led rightwing terrorists to commit virtually every act of political murder in the past 20 years.
It’s Republican austerity and tax-cut policies that have gutted the middle class, led to an epidemic of homelessness, and destroyed our system for treating mental illness.
And then those same Republican politicians cynically tell formerly middle-class white men that their economic crisis was caused by women, Black people, teachers, immigrants, and “radical” Democrats rather than the morbidly rich and massive corporations who are actually funding the corruption of our government.
They promote the language of dehumanization and victimhood, demonize immigrants and queer people, and encourage antisemitism and racial hate with their Great Replacement Theory, which has made it all the way to Fox “News” and has recently been cited by multiple mass murderers.
Even during the worst pandemic in a century, Republicans chose to politicize a virus, leading the British medical journal The Lancet to conclude that a half-million Americans died unnecessarily, the majority of them followers of conservative media.
All while GOP politicians condone the slaughter of our children with their silence, hypocritical “prayers,” and refusal to do anything about over 400 million guns.
The rest of the world is watching us, boggled. It’s way past time to wake the hell up and do something about the Republican-led slaughter of Americans and our children.
The number to call your members of Congress and demand immediate action is 202-224-3121.
And double-check your voter registration every few months: since 5 Republicans on the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that Red states could throw you off the voting rolls without even letting you know, GOP governors and secretaries of state have already purged millions.
Tennessee @GovBillLee hasn't had time yet to tweet his thoughts and prayers for Covenant School, but when he does, remind him that this is exactly why police and citizens opposed the permitless carry bill he signed into law at a gun maker's factory in 2021. #tnleg pic.twitter.com/NZ2smJQEkC
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 27, 2023
Reps Thomas Massie and Lauren Boebert. There's a sickness in this country. pic.twitter.com/miZenU2FLc
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) March 27, 2023
THIS is last year's Christmas card from Tennessee Rep. Andy Ogles, a Republican who represents the district that Covenant School is in in Nashville. #tnleg pic.twitter.com/IpkLzZs5m5
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 27, 2023
I have posted this before but ..
26 years ago, a gunman entered
Dunblane Primary School in Scotland,
killing 16 kids and a teacher. The UK
govt responded by enacting tight gun
control legislation. In the 9400+ days
since, there have been a total of O
school shootings in the UK.
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) March 27, 2023