Today another shooting anniversary is upon us- that of the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise who was at a baseball practice for a Congressional baseball game. One other person was injured and one was killed in the shooting. The shooter was a left-wing activist:
Hodgkinsonwas a left-wing activist from Belleville, Illinois, while Scalise was a Republican member of Congress. The Virginia Attorney General concluded Hodgkinson’sattack was “an act of terrorism…fueled by rage against Republican legislators”. Scalise was the first sitting member of Congress to have been shot since Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011
In America we have home grown terrorists who account for more shootings than any foreign terrorists in spite of what the right wing and Wayne LaPierre want us to believe:
From 2009 through 2018, right-wing extremists accounted for 73 percent of such killings, according to the ADL, compared with 23 percent for Islamists and 3 percent for left-wing extremists. In other words, most terrorist attacks in the United States, and most deaths from terrorist attacks, are caused by white extremists. But they do not cause the sort of nationwide panic that helped Trump win the 2016 election and helped the GOP expand its Senate majority in the midterms.
When white extremists kill, politicians do not demand that they be racially profiled. They do not call for bans on white people coming to the United States. They do not insist that white people’s freedom of movement be restricted, their houses of worship be surveilled, their leaders be banned from holding public office, or their neighborhoods be “secured” and occupied by armed agents of the state. And they do not demand that taxpayers foot the bill for a massive, symbolic monument that will register America’s official disdain for white people in perpetuity.
We should be talking about where the guns come from that flow in Mexico and the Central American countries from where so many migrants are coming and trying to get into the U.S. For the most part they are not rapists and murderers as President Trump continues to say in spite of the facts to the contrary. And many of these migrants are trying to escape the violence that is happening in their countries in part due to the guns that come in from us. We have a vicious circle. These migrants, if they end up being able to stay in the U.S. will live in a country where the gun death rates are among the highest of any democratized country not at war.
Let’s take a look at the above linked article about guns flowing into Mexico:
A report from the Center of American Progress found that the United States was the primary source of weapons used in crime in Mexico and Canada. Other countries in Central America can also trace a large proportion of guns seized in crimes to the United States. For example, the report found that from 2014 to 2016, 49 percent of crime guns seized in El Salvador were originally purchased in the U.S. In Honduras, 45 percent of guns recovered in crime scenes were traced to the United States as well. (…) On paper it’s significantly harder to legally purchase a firearm in Mexico than it is in the United States. So if it’s so difficult to buy a gun in Mexico, where do all of the country’s guns come from? The answer has as much if not more to do with U.S. gun policy than with Mexico’s, though the issue is rarely brought up in America’s political debates over gun control and border security.
The right to own guns is in Mexico’s constitution, as it is in the U.S., but Mexican gun laws are highly restrictive. The Mexican army is the only entity allowed to sell guns in the country, either to private security firms, private citizens or to local police. In fact, there is only one legal gun store in the country, which is also run by the Mexican army and located in Mexico City. Assault weapons and any weapon more powerful than a .38 caliber gun is banned from personal use, with few exceptions. Only the military is allowed to use high-powered firearms. (…) So-called “straw purchasers” play a key role in firearms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico and other points south. Typically “straw purchasers” are intermediary or middleman buyers who purchase and execute all the paperwork required for a legal firearm transaction on behalf of someone else. These purchasers are usually American citizens who adhere to U.S. gun laws, including passing a background check or meeting other applicable federal and state gun laws.
In many cases, “traffickers will run a ring of straw buyers,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director for the Violence Policy Center. “The traffickers are exploiting the background check system because they just find people who can have the background check, and as long as they don’t raise suspicion with the dealer, then it’s difficult to identify that this is illegal.”
If we pass stronger gun laws we would not only reduce the violence here at home but in other countries as well. And perhaps our immigration problem would also be affected.
Congressman Scalise survived his shooting and is back in the halls of Congress on this 2nd anniversary. He loves his job. Instead of changing his views on gun safety reform though , he dug in more deeply:
Echoing comments made by other congressional Republicans and the White House, Scalise said that lawmakers should focus on supporting victims and law enforcement before advocating for a legislative response.
“Because first of all you’ve got to recognize that when there’s a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and doing whatever we can to help them, to help law enforcement. We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda,” Scalise said.
Scalise’s congressional website notes that his support gun rights has earned him an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association. The bills he has supported over the years would ease interstate gun sales and ensure national reciprocity for concealed-carry permit holders.
No. Prayers? What good does that do. This is a deflection and denial of the actual public health epidemic of gun violence. The old mantra that we shouldn’t talk about “gun control” after a mass shooting is becoming laughable considering that since 2013 there has been only one full week without one.:
Since 2013, there has been only one full calendar week — the week of January 5, 2014 — without a mass shooting.
The longest respite was 11 days between January 8, 2013, and January 18, 2013, when no mass shootings were reported, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
This, of course, does not include shootings like Congressman Scalise”s or my sister’s or my friend’s father who committed suicide by gun or the other 100 a day who die every day from gunshot injuries.
Gun violence prevention groups and their partners continue to hold vigils, ring bells, light candles, bring candles, march, rally, speak out but yet they ignore our voices and our pleas.
Congressman Scalise voted against H.R. 8 requiring background checks on all gun sales and H.R. 1112 to close the Charleston loophole allowing shooters like the one who massacred nine innocent people at Mother Emmanuel AMA Church in Charleston. How could anyone vote against these bills?
Next week is the 4th anniversary of the Charleston hate shooting. I will write more then.
If we talk about all of this, we just might have to do something about it. And that would make all the common sense in the world. And it would stop the flow of guns into the hands of those who should not have them. It would also likely lead to a drop of gun sales. God forbid that should happen. And what would Congress members like Steve Scalise do with the financial and other support from the NRA?
Given the revelations about continued corrupt practices of the NRA Scalise and others would be much better off morally if they stopped accepting support from the organization. They don’t seem to care about that. Watch this:
So as we think about mass shooting anniversaries or personal anniversaries of loved ones who have been murdered or killed by suicide or an “
accidental shooting” let’s also remember that we need an anniversary of a day when the full Congress votes to reduce and prevent gun violence and thinks more about the country than their own elections.
No more thoughts and prayers. We want action.