Do you know why I find Republicans annoying? I mean, one could fill a multi-terabyte hard drive with all the reasons Republicans are annoying. But right now, they’re extra annoying because they’re a bunch of politicians pretending they’re not politicians whose only real job is to navigate politics. Lawmakers are politicians. They draft, endorse, support, pass, and reject legislation based on arguments that are all political in nature, which they would have to be as long as it’s through the political process that bills become laws.
A politician saying, “Let’s stay away from politics,” is like a plumber advising that everyone mind their own toilet and stop talking so much about pipes.
So, whenever there’s a new mass shooting in America (*gestures widely towards always*) the issues of guns and gun access are going to come up. It would be weird if they didn’t. It would be odd if, after every mass shooting, politicians and the media discussed every aspect of the event—from mental illness to manifestos, to online activity, to the shooter’s background, to what influenced the shooter, to security, to police response—but no one ever said a peep about the weapon that was used. It would be strange because the only common denominator in every last one of these shootings—is guns. Yes, it’s a political narrative, but the effort to suppress the gun discussion after high-profile mass shootings occur is, at the very least, just as political.
Unless you ask Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds.
While speaking to CNN’s Manu Raju about the horrific private school shooting in Nashville that killed three adults and three children, Donalds urged people not to “get into emotion” or politicize the shooting by talking about guns. (As opposed to steering completely clear of the discussion around guns, which would display no political motive whatsoever.)
Donalds says ban doesn't work: "If you're going to talk about the AR-15, we're talking politics now. ..Let's not get into emotion because emotion feels good. But emotion doesn't solve problems."
Ogles, who represents Nashville: "Why not talk about the real issue..mental health" pic.twitter.com/kJS6162lqy
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 28, 2023
“If you’re going to talk about the AR-15, we’re talking politics now…Let’s not get into emotion,” Donalds said in reference to an event that involved three nine-year-olds being ruthlessly gunned down. “Because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn’t solve problems.”
Typically, Donalds asked, “Why not talk about the real issue..mental health,” as if that’s not also a political talking point that’s usually attached to a political non-solution.
“People are allowed to possess firearms,” Donalds went on to say. “Need is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t question why you need a blue suit, but you got one.”
Besides the fact that society absolutely does police and regulate what is considered proper public attire, Donalds must have known immediately that he was sounding ridiculous by comparing a suit to a machine that is designed to kill, so he quickly clarified things.
“And I know we’re talking about something very, very different, but the Second Amendment allows American citizens to possess firearms,” he said.
Listen, we can argue all day about whether the crafters of the Constitution—who lived in the time of muskets and the first multi-shot revolvers to ever be mass-produced—could ever conceive of the assault-style weapons used today. We can also argue about whether or not the language in the Second Amendment specifically grants gun owners to right to own any style of firearm they desire, regardless of its capacity to kill at high rates.
But all of those arguments would be political arguments. All of them. If Republicans are going pretend to care about mental health while dying on the hill that guns have nothing to do with shootings, the least they can do is admit they’re talking politics just as much as anyone on the other side of the issue.
It would also be nice if they just admitted they love guns more than they love child safety, but that’s another post for another day.
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