It shouldn’t be a political banner for the requisite public waving in front of a coming election – a disturbed gunman follows in the footsteps of all of all of the disturbed gunmen before him and arbitrarily takes the lives of nine individuals ranging in age from 18 to 67 in what can only be described as a massacre on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Oct. 1 – but it has become one, regardless of from which side of the aisle you’re armchair quarterbacking the decline of western civilization. In the aftermath of the latest campus terrorist attack (and yes, that’s exactly what it was), politicians were once again called to task, once again asked for answers, on exactly how it is that we comfortably walk this tangent bridging mental health and forced death into one blur of public-relations horror.
“Stuff happens,” presidential hopeful and gaffe-master Jeb Bush opined, according to the Tampa Bay Times via the Washington Post.
“We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think that more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s just, it’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion – and I did, I had this, this challenge as governor, because we have, look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Bush went on to compare mass shootings to gates around swimming pools and, oh, how much will those cost reasonable citizens to save their children. In other words, more gun laws? What will that do to my NRA report card come next November?
An equally callous Sen. Marco Rubio, who is also trying to climb his way up the executive branch and into the White House, chimed in thusly: “These gun laws just aren’t effective at preventing this. Gun crime is committed by criminals, criminals ignore the law. That’s why they’re criminals. If you pass a law that makes it harder for people to have weapons for defense, the only people that are not going to have them are the people that follow the law. Law-abiding people are going to follow the law. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law. They will still have their weapons.”
“We have a serious societal problem. Whether it’s mental illness, obviously, which we need to take more seriously…” and blah, blah, blah, says the man who doesn’t approve of healthcare for those outside of his tax bracket.
First of all, it’s not mental health that is the precise problem, because there is far less precision in mental health counseling than there is in the accounting ledgers of the gun lobby or the sights of guns. For years, those funded by the National Rifle Association have been playing this deflection game while simultaneously supporting the proliferation of firearms in the name of safety. Even after the deaths of these students and staff in Oregon, even after the deaths of children in Newtown, Mass. a few years earlier, the cheat sheet of talking points remains the same for the Charlton-Heston cold-dead-hands brigade. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. We need to do more about mental illness, but we needn’t spend any more public dollars to do so.
Not to dance on any graves here, and there are graves that this writer crouches upon now and then (one in particular that is littered in shrapnel that should never have been scattered), but the fact that we still have to have this conversation about gun control – sensible gun control – after such atrocities that play out on television (until the weekend wipes them away for the next one) is horrifying.
Promisingly, Democratic hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have come out with plans to diminish the violence. O’Malley is proposing a ban on assault weapons outright and the potential of criminalizing gun trafficking. Clinton is taking a regulatory approach to dealers and threatening executive action should the gun-loving congress not agree.
Republican punch line Donald Trump and his hair, however, continue to say, “guns, no guns, it doesn’t matter.” Tell that to the families of the criminally deceased, absurdist frontrunner, and see if your heart even continues to beat. Tell it to the fact that 85 percent of suicide attempts with a gun end in death. Stop blaming the abstract theories of mental health and start looking at those who stuff your campaign coffers. Stuff happens? Stuff needs to be fixed.
“I could have supported it sooner.”
“Well, you did it pretty soon.”
“Could’ve been sooner.”
Back-and-forth between presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and her comedic doppelganger Kate McKinnon on the Oct. 3 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Everybody’s favorite Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, is pulling out his ruler to slap the wrists of the Senate and the House for being terrible at representing the people in this so-called representative democracy. His aims aren’t necessarily apolitical, seeing as he’s a noted supporter of the Jeb Bush (JEB!) presidential campaign. Specifically, he’s taking a jab at the lack of presence from co-headlining elected congressmen, including, gasp, Marco Rubio, SaintPetersBlog.com reports.
“This ‘try-nothing’ Congress needs a reality check,” Jolly jollied. “A work week in Washington should be no different than a work week in every other town across the nation.”
Jolly is actively pursuing a perch in the U.S. Senate against Lt. Gov. Carlos-Lopez Cantera (among others) in a bid to shame Washington and all of its terrible behavior by its terrible people or something. Effectively, he thinks that more people need to be more present so that more arguments can result in fewer results, we’re guessing. Though, more consideration is always appreciated, so maybe we’re wrong?
Scary head of wax and head of Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn’t caving to the pressures from Cub Scout John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council. Stemberger, who has never met a story about helping others that he didn’t want to dress up for in order to dislike, has been banging the drum of the falsified Planned Parenthood videos that circulated all the way up to presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina’s transom of doom (enough to make her look bad, even with that whole sinking of Hewlett-Packard thing). They’re selling baby limbs for profit! Except they aren’t! At any rate, Scott’s office reported last week that it would not be cutting the Medicaid distributions to Planned Parenthood (a tiny $45,000) even though Stemberger insists that Scott has a “moral, ethical and now fiscal obligation” to cut the cord (cough). Scott, of course, was one of those governors that played investigator on Planned Parenthood, only to find out that he (and the fleas occupying his right wing) was wrong.
Oh, wait. Everything Scott does is wrong. Carry on.
Though the details are confusing (as most development and/or city deal details are), we can only smell the positive in Orlando’s deal to save its historic Constitution Green Park and that crazy tree that covers it. Constitution Green seems a lot like a public park, especially when you consider that its featured tree grew itself into the greenspace ground in some crazy work of botanical physics, it was (or is, for now) owned by a citrus-growing family called the Carusos, who recently hinted at development for the area. The city will pay more than $3 million from its Community Redevelopment Agency coffers and hand over some bartering tool (a bank) in order to save face and space. Hooray for giving trees!