Make All "Mass Shootings" Political
Broken, racist & evil politics prompts horrific mass violence like what happened in Texas. Activated, community-oriented and common good politics can help us fix that
There is an immediate need for a much different response in the aftermath of the latest horrific attack on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Details of the motive behind the mass shooting are still developing, and law enforcement, reportedly, still have no conclusive information on what specifically triggered the now dead perpetrator. However, until then, we do know that based on the description of the event and magnitude of carnage, this is more than just a “mass shooting.” And we do know that, with several of these major attacks happening within just the past week alone (alongside high rates of gun violence in major urban centers that continues unabated), we’re all trapped within a rather alarming trend of asymmetrical warfare that threatens to destabilize everything.
The broader public conversation will, reflexively, focus on the national flags-at-half-staff aspect as everyone mourns. But, since this is an “existential threat,” as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) so correctly stated in his tongue-lashing of Republican colleagues on the Senate floor on Tuesday, we need everyone to transform that energy into political awareness and action.
Some initial thoughts …
The usual post-”mass shooting” or domestic terror national discourse is predictable, stale, boring and monotonous. Something different and bold needs to take place. There must be a very disruptive tone in the response, every available moment must be focused on completely upending and flipping the gun control/gun debate conversation. Perhaps we’ve been too civil or timid and from this point forward the discourse needs to focus on constructive anger followed by visible and viable calls to political action.
We need to stop acting like we can’t do anything. Yes we can: Every last person who is eligible to vote and/or is registered to vote now plays a crucial role in responding to these acts of terror by voting in upcoming 2022 elections, particularly state legislative, gubernatorial, secretary of state, attorney general, U.S. Senate and U.S. House races. Vote to remove and block any Republican candidates and incumbents because they, with their unapologetic and irresponsible pro-gun rights policies, are responsible for bringing us into the violence-ridden abyss and getting in our way each time we try to do something to solve the problem.
Don’t let anyone tell us it’s inappropriate to have a political conversation in the wake of deadly mass shootings. It is absolutely appropriate. It’s essential that the discourse focus immediately on the politics because this event happened due to the continued failure of American politics. Politics and policymaking negligence have brought us to this point because it’s the job of legislators to create policy to serve as the intricate web of laws, regulations, ordinances and procedures that are layers of basic public safety. Without policy we have anarchy and chaos, which translates into a complete breakdown of society. Maybe if everyone recognized these events as political and immediately jumped into agitation and electoral action that holds responsible policymakers accountable, we’d be 1) seeing better policy outcomes and 2) less violence.
Many elected officials, either completely powerless to do anything substantial legislatively because of the gun lobby’s influence or completely complicit as willing members of that lobby, will give a range of rather predictable remarks. Some Democrats are already responding with a level of forceful and even profance anger as they lash out at responsible Republicans; GOP lawmakers, on the other side will offer empty “thoughts and prayers.” However, what needs to on a larger scale is the type of disruption we saw on Wednesday, multiplied by a thousand times …
Democrats need to engage in more visible acts of political courage. Democratic elected officials - on the state, federal & local level - along with all Democratic candidates (who are, for the most part, all running on responsible gun control/anti-gun violence platforms) need to embrace Beto O’Rourke’s energy and find every available opportunity to visibly disrupt and attempt to shut down Republican press conferences, public protestations and statements. Make this event very political, keep that energy and run on it.
Want to do right by the victims? In the meantime, citizens, voters, candidates, public officials and policymakers claiming to want to do justice for the 21 unarmed and innocent victims in Texas and any other mass shooting need to begin acting that way: unseat, replace and defeat all Republican incumbents and candidates at the polls on November 8th mercilessly. The Republican Party is responsible, and every member of that party is endorsing acts of violence against the public and is complicit in that violence by activately blocking and destroying responsible policy. They have no business in office. There is an opportunity to punish them, keep them out of office and protect ourselves in November.
Let’s be clear: the political blame falls squarely on Republicans. This is not “Congress” not passing gun control laws. This is not “the Senate’s” fault, or the fault of “lawmakers” or “politicians.” This is all on “Republicans.” The absence of responsible and effective policy that can absolutely decrease this level of domestic terrorism is due, entirely, to Republican obstruction and peddling of anti-government, anti-American and anti-multicultural society facist white supremacy and racism. Full stop. Make sure we’re being very specific about the culprits here. Democrats could be fighting harder and are not perfect, but they are the ones struggling to pass responsible gun control policy. They are the ones we need to elect … and anyone else saying otherwise is, pretty much, an agent of white nationalist networks.
Yes: the United States is a weird and troubling outlier on gun control laws compared to other democratic or highly advanced countries. Even Israel, which has a fully armed residential population that is compelled into mandatory military service and is in a perpetual state of war, has very strict gun laws that are rather effective in curbing homicides and mass shooting events - and has fewer homicides. And just days after a white terrorist killed 51 people and injured 40 in Christchurch, New Zealand, that country completely banned all semi-automatic and assault weapons. More from an analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations …
It is unbelievable and unnerving that President Biden has given two of the most timid, flat and non-mobilizing sets of speeches on recent terror events in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX. Not at one point does he call out or single out “Republicans” (which is what he needs to do) and he’s doing a poor job of 1) activating Americans to demand reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban he authored and that worked from 1994 - 2004 and 2) once again, calling out “Republicans” for being the ones who actively. If he’s going to mention the need for a reinstituted Assault Weapons Ban, he should be campaigning for it … now. Biden should, for immediately, be immediately calling on Americans at every available opportunity to call and flood the phone lines of all of their Senators - giving out the Senate phone line - to demand reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban. In addition, Biden should be using every available public opportunity to energize the 2022 vote and call for electoral accountability. He must implore American voters to remove Republicans from office and frame that as an act of national security and survival. He has yet to do that and he should. It is a horrible example of political malpractice and he must change course now.
Openly advocating for the election of as many Democrats as possible on the state and federal level, while actively mobilizing for the defeat of Republicans, is not an act of “partisanship.” It is an act of survival and social good. The Democratic Party itself needs to run on this message and make a much bolder, more impassioned plea to voters instead of just giving up and rolling over to domestic terrorists and insurrectionists.
What happened in these mass shootings is an extension of a fresh resurgence in Confederate-segregationist inspired white nationalism that supports white domestic terrorism. We must be crystal clear on the linkages and correlations between events like what happened in New York and Texas and the political resurgence of white supremacists - currently dressed as a Republican party - who are staging coups against the government, destroying voting rights, banning books, eliminating reproductive rights, peddline “replacement theory” and triggering destructive acts of mass violence. Once that linkage is clear, Americans will know who is responsible and how to respond accordingly.