Gun Crazed Republican Senate Candidate Calls UCSB Killings An ‘Unfortunate Accident’

joni ernstedited


Iowa Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst referred to the recent Isla Vista killings as an “unfortunate accident”. Her dismissive comments came during a televised primary debate on Thursday. She was addressing a viewer question, presented by the debate moderator this way:

Mrs. Ernst, a viewer wrote us saying in light of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the shootings at the Aurora, Colorado, theater, and most recently at the UC Santa Barbara campus, quote, ‘we have a Joni Ernst in the television ad that is running continuously on all local television stations that contains violent imagery pointing a gun directly at the viewer and vowing to quote ‘shoot them down’ and hateful language directed toward their opponents. Is this really what politics has become in this country?’ Mrs. Ernst, what do you say to this viewer?

Ernst responded with a rather typical cliched response, stating:

Yes, I would say to this viewer that what happened in that shooting and that stabbing is an absolute tragedy, however I remain firm in my commitment to the Second Amendment,” said Ernst. “I have been endorsed by the NRA in this race and again just because of a horrible, horrible tragedy, I don’t believe we should be infringing upon people’s Second Amendment rights. I will stand firmly behind that when I go to Washington, DC, as your next United States Senator.

Then when the moderator pressed her a little on whether she would modify the ad or change the timing of it, Ernst delivered this peculiar reply:

This unfortunate accident happened after the ad, but it does highlight that I want to get rid of, repeal, and replace Bruce Braley’s Obamacare and it also shows that I am a strong supporter of the second amendment. That is a fundamental right.

While it is not unusual for politicians to make monumental verbal gaffes under pressure, this gaffe is rather telling. Right-wing defenders of the status quo on gun policy have a longstanding habit of deflecting away personal responsibility for gun violence, dismissing shooting deaths as either accidental or virtually unavoidable. They are just part of the operating costs of having personal liberty. This sort of argument is usually done to absolve gun-friendly politicians from taking responsibility for the continuing gun carnage in America.

These arguments are evident whenever pro-gun activists try to draw comparisons between gun death rates (mostly suicides and homicides) and motor vehicle death rates (mostly accidents). Calling gun deaths accidents implies an inevitability to them and thereby excuses lawmakers from taking legislative action. However, most Republican politicians at least have the sense to assign some responsibility to murderers who deliberately commit homicide, even if they are reluctant to acknowledge that some of those killings are done by previously “law-abiding gun owners”. Ernst simply slipped up and referred to an intentional homicidal shooting spree as an accident. While she probably knows better, she has so thoroughly internalized the pro-gun culture’s ethos of denying responsibility that she stumbled into saying something foolish. Gun murders and suicides are not accidents. It is time we elect lawmakers who are committed to taking action to reduce gun violence, rather than continuing to support those who perpetuate our culture of gun violence by denying that irresponsible gun owners are ever to blame.

13 Replies to “Gun Crazed Republican Senate Candidate Calls UCSB Killings An ‘Unfortunate Accident’”

  1. Oh say, cutting off a finger while castrating hogs would be an “unfortunate accident”. Mass shootings are NOT.

  2. This wont hurt her but what will is she came out against the Farm Bill. Even bug eyed crazy pants Steve King voted for it

  3. I really believe that this is all part of an effort to create a national climate of fear, intimidation, and stochastic terrorism. It is well known that the more fearful and suspicious people become, the more ready they are to follow authoritarian leaders; the more random violence there is, the more people crave law and order and the easier they are to turn against “them”. If women are savaged in the streets, the thinking goes, the readier they will be to submit to the authority of one man who can protect them against an increasingly gynocidal male collective. And therefore we have increasing howls of hate and displays of armed violence: all being orchestrated, I submit, by those who want to induce us to trade liberty and equality for a semblance of security, only to leave us with none of any of it.

  4. “…it also shows that I am a strong supporter of the second amendment.”

    Then it might be helpful if you understood what that Amendment actually meant.

    It doesn’t mean what she thinks it means – it never did and it never will.

  5. All this is, is a n other nutcase GOP/TEabagger wanting the backing of the NRA. It’s all about the money. All these fly-by-nights politicians think that all they have to say is “I’m supporter of the 2nd Amendment.” They don’t even realize that there are 26 other amendments. Such as the 15th Amendment- the right to vote based on color, or the 19th “right to vote based on sex. That’s why they attempt to make it harder to vote. These don’t have the brains of a house plant or the integrity of a hog.

  6. Any candidate who says they are endorsed by the NRA is a candidate I will NOT vote for — on sheer principle.

  7. We Will Conquer The 2nd and bring Stability back to the U.S and all swords will be beat into Plowshears! This is what Your God said!

  8. This woman is ridiculous. I hope there’s nobody behind that camera, doesn’t she know enough to not point a gun at anything unless you intend on shooting it, loaded or not, it’s one of the most basic rules of responsible gun ownership. I’m actually baffled by her decision to run almost exclusively on the 2nd Amendment given the fact that over 90% of the American population would like to see background checks on all gun purchases, maybe not a very smart move, or the only people that would give her money are the NRA. LOL

  9. They pander to a base who is voting for them anyway. There is a balance of protecting the 2nd amendment and still protecting innocent people. Making excuses for murders under the guise of the 2nd amendment is simply not working. Every amendment has checks and balances. Try screaming fire in a theater or bomb in an airport. These are not violations of the 1st amendment, they are revisions applicable to today’s times. The 2nd amendment was written at a time when the US had a few colonies and no real army. It is quite obvious that revisions need to be made as the vast majority of Americans want. This is not to say anyone is “taking guns away”. Allowing people with known dangerous mental illnesses to obtain a weapon is a recipe for disaster. While nothing will stop these crimes completely, any reduction in needless murders is a step in the right direction. Perhaps if your child was a victim to one of these senseless shootings, you’d feel differently.

  10. Joni Rotweiller Ernst reiterated again how she would repeal Obsmacare without anything to replace it. She is a hateful, stupid, teabagger, the bottom of the barrel.

    Defeat her pathetic ass on November 4th. We already have one too many stupid tea party NRA endorsed moron named Ted Cruz. We don’t need another hole in the head.

    By the way the constitution doesn’t begin and end at the 2nd Amendment.

    And….the more people get killed and the more hateful crimes are committed with guns, the more likely a full scale repeal is likely.

  11. She is the military version of Palin. She is so annoying! The pathetic thing about that is she didn’t even do that good of a job expressing sorrow for the families of the victims. She might has well have said F You, I support MY version of the 2nd Amendment. Get that idiot off my tv! It is bad enough that I will have to survive Steve King ads and whatever idiot they pick to run for Tom Latham’s seat, but if I have to see that idiotic woman on my tv beyond next week I may swear off all tv until November to save my sanity.

  12. The definition of accident has changed and not for better. That party has many different definitions for the things that are happening because of laws they have put in place.Whole damn Teapublican party is an accident.

  13. “Iowa Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst referred to the recent Isla Vista killings as an “unfortunate accident”…”

    Hmm. What if it was your family Joni Ernst?

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