According to The New York Times Roy Blunt is one of the top ten “career”recipients of NRA largess in the congress. His take: $4,551,146. That’s right. Our boy got himself over four million of those NRA dollars. And I don’t think anyone would disagree that he’s done himself proud when it comes to earning his fee.
All of which prompts one to ask what he has to say about the latest mass shooting event at a school, a spree that took 17 lives and wounded at least 12 other children. The Sedalia Democrat offers the following quote:
In an interview, Blunt said that “I don’t think we have enough information yet to know that a change in any law would have impacted what happened in Florida.” But, referring to reports that the FBI had been warned by threats that the killer had made on social media, Blunt added: “Whether it is bizarre anti-social behavior or terrorist activity, when people see something they should say something.”You have got a guy parading around in a gas mask with weapons making threats and putting that on social media; that needs to be reported,” Blunt, R-Mo., said. “And the people that is [sic] reported to need to respond to that report.”
Blunt echoed the president in his imputation that the correct way to protect against mass school shootings would be for the “normal” folks to report aberrant behavior on the part of troubled individuals. Happened here, didn’t work, not going to work, just stigmatizes folks with emotional problems.
In the past Blunt has resorted overtly to the tack taken by Donald Trump today which is that it is mental illness that kills people, not guns – in spite of the fact that those suffering mental illness have been shown to more often suffer violence than they are to commit violent acts, that when they do act out violently, they themselves have frequently been previously victimized, and they are more likely to do so within institutional settings rather than in public.
All of this is just a way to frame the simple-minded NRA bumper sticker that says in one variant or another that “people kill people, not guns.” If Kim Jong-un, who may or may not be mentally unstable, doesn’t realize that he’s dealing with a possible mental case in the White House, push comes to shove, and hundreds of folks, possibly in the U.S. as well as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia are killed, will Republicans excuse the holocaust with a similar slogan: Crazy people kill people, not bombs? Funny that. Or not.
Of course, the real thrust of Blunt’s response was that he just doesn’t have enough facts to say anything substantive. While I know he’s unlikely to read this screed, I’d sill like to supply him with a few hard and fast facts:
- A disturbed young man, who, incidentally, had been reported and investigated by the authorities, was able to legally buy a military-grade weapon.
- President Trump, in his haste to destroy any remnants of Obama-style common-sense regulation, stopped a rule that would have made it more difficult for the mentally-ill to buy firearms.
- Republicans like Blunt have consistently refused to vote for legislation that regulated civilian acquisition of military-grade weapons in spite of the fact that they seem to be the weapon of choice for mass shooters.
- A conservative analysis by The Washington Post tells us that “more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.”
- In the first 45 days of this year there have been six school shootings that have injured students.
- States are skint. They aren’t willing or able to pay to supply the school security officers that schools are requesting. Florida schools, scene of the most recent shooting, are among those that have experienced growing enrollments but have received less money to pay for necessities like increased security for which they have requested funding.
- A spate of studies report that states – and developed countries – with more guns have more homicide deaths and suicides. States and countries with better regulated gun ownership have fewer.
There are lots more facts like these. And I’m willing to bet that Blunt knows a few of them already. He just doesn’t care.
Nor, as Blunt’s GOP pals like to claim, do these facts suggest that gun ownership should be illegal; nobody’s 2nd amendment rights should be violated. But we have to be clear that the Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, authored by conservative, gun-loving Judge Antonin Scalia, specifies that that the right to own firearms is subject to regulation, specifically in the case of “prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’.”
So what’s keeping the pot boiling for a dangerously out of control NRA, an organization that wants to persuade us that even talking dirty about guns is not only a violation of a poorly understood 2nd amendment, but an invitation to “jack-booted government thugs” to steal our liberties? Look no further than Senator Roy Blunt and an NRA-whipped GOP.
But hey! Four million dollars is one heckava payout. And Blunt wasn’t even number one on the list.