Republicans in Congress with all the power of their elected office are rendered powerless by mass shootings. All they can ever muster is boilerplate thoughts and prayers.
It is a damning reality that the Republicans in Congress can act with haste when it comes to issues that are pertinent to their benefactors, but can’t even discuss policy change in the wake of mass shootings.
It doesn’t matter if people were gunned down at a concert or in a church or classroom at school, the response is always the same. Now is not the time to talk about guns. It’s too soon; we don’t have all the facts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. This is a tragic day for our country.
As the days press on and the news of the latest tragedy fades, the Republicans in Congress count on the public not to notice their inaction. Despite the repeated cries that this time things will be different, nothing changes, another massacre happens and the helpless Republicans in Congress begin the cycle again. The NRA and the gun manufactures count on it.
But we know that the Republicans in Congress, despite their ineptitude, can act with great urgency, even to the point of forming secret committees who meet in undisclosed locations crafting legislation that will impact the entire county.
They have no problem acting to take healthcare away from tens of millions of people.
They have no problem acting to fund tax breaks, on the backs of the poor and middle-class, for multinational corporations and the wealthiest among us.
They have no problem acting to harm the environment through a denial of climate change and massive deregulation.
They have no problem turning a blind-eye enabling the egregious behavior of Donald Trump and endangering our democracy.
They have no problem making phony appeals to religious freedom to defend the discriminatory practices of wedding cake bakers and photographers.
The have no problem with immigration policies that amount to ethnic cleansing or starving the poor, the elderly, and the disabled by gutting the programs that were put in place to help them live.
But when it comes to guns, when it comes to horrific mass murders at concerts, churches, and schools, when it comes to the safety of our nation’s children and their teachers, when it comes to the safety of people at a Bible study, movie, or concert, all they ever have to offer are thoughts and prayers.
In the aftermath of the massacre in Parkland, Florida, where seventeen people were executed by an AR-15 assault rifle and dozens more injured, these thoughts and prayers from Congressional leaders who have been bought by the NRA are being profoundly rejected.
Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting, shared his thoughts with CNN host Anderson Cooper who asked him if he thought the change he wanted was possible.
“This is the time to talk about guns,” Kasky immediately replied. “But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Sen Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott are not doing. It’s scary to think these are the people who are making our laws when our community just took 17 bullets to the heart. It feels like the only people who don’t care are the people making the laws.”
Earlier in their conversation, Kasky made this observation, “There is a segment of this society that will shrug this off and send their thoughts and prayers but march for hours over a rainbow wedding cake.”
Watch the whole interview here:
A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they are no more (Matthew 2:18).
Like Rachel who weeps for her children, seventeen families lost loved ones last Wednesday in a mass shooting at one of our country’s best high schools and in one of our country’s safest communities. The consolation of boilerplate thoughts and prayers from elected leaders who have the power to do much more is worse than nothing. At this point it is a predictable dismissal of the real problem before the country and a failure to take seriously the pain and grief of the people across the country who are demanding more.
Students like Cameron Kasky, who have grown up in a culture of gun violence and mass shootings at schools, shopping centers, churches, and concerts, are not going to tolerate elected leaders who become powerless in the face of an epidemic of mass murder unique to the United States of America. They will not only raise their voices, they will vote. They will demand a country where their kids don’t have to grow up facing the same horrors they have had to live through.
In the United States of America no one should be afraid for their life at school, a concert, or in their place of worship. Sadly, until Republicans in Congress offer more than their pre-scripted thoughts and prayers, we all live in needless fear for anywhere across the country could be the next place from which Rachel cries and refuses to be consoled because her children have died at the wrong end of a mass murder machine.