What do you call a group of ideologues that actively works to inflame radicals, arm them with weapons of war, and then put innocent people in the line of their hate-fueled fire?
Generally, you’d call them a terrorist organization. But at this point, even that term seems a bit too generous for Republicans and the NRA, because at least terrorists claim credit for their massacres.
This weekend, we experienced a flare-up in our national epidemic of gun violence, as nearly 30 people were murdered in cold blood in two separate incidents in Texas and Ohio. The massacre on Saturday was explicitly inspired by the racist bile spewed out by Donald Trump and the alt-right goons he hosts at the White House, and both were enabled by dangerously lax gun laws pushed by Republicans.
Instead of showing any self-awareness or remorse, Republicans trotted out the same old “thoughts and prayers” pablum, blaming video games and politicization for the slaughters carried out by their followers.
It’s obvious that these cannot be shamed into even saying the right things, let alone doing them. So how do we end the madness? We take away their power. And while that sounds abstract and feels impossible, there are some concrete steps we can take right now to begin turning the tide against these cowardly gun nuts.
The first opportunity to make a difference is playing out in Colorado as we speak, where two brave Democrats are facing recall petitions from fringe right-wingers angry that they voted to pass several gun control laws. Democratic State Sens. Brittany Pettersen (SD-22) and Pete Lee (SD-11) are facing recall campaigns led by Republicans and groups such as Rocky Mountain Gun Owners because they voted for a new red flag law that gives law enforcement the right to temporarily take guns away from people considered high risks to harm themselves and others.
The law is really the bare minimum that should be done, and GOP outrage over it just goes to show that their theatrical concern over “mental health issues” is nothing but an act. The Republicans leading the campaign have a little less than two months to gather the signatures needed to trigger recall elections, and while we can’t stop them from collecting them, we can help ensure that Pettersen and Lee have the resources needed to fend off the challenges.
Progressives Everywhere has created a new ActBlue page to support Pettersen, Lee, several anti-gun groups, and the eventual challenger to Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, who disgraced himself with the tweet below.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Republican Party should be held responsible for the slaughter that went down this morning because it allowed its most foaming fringe to take control of all gun legislation in the state. Last year, the GOP-controlled legislature passed HB 228, which wrested away cities’ abilities to enact common-sense gun restrictions. The law was vetoed by then-Gov. John Kasich, but enough Republican lunatics voted to override his veto that it became law.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley spoke out about the insanity of the law, and less than a year later, she’s dealing with its fallout. Right now, according to Innovation Ohio, there are a whopping seven bills pending that would reform Ohio’s gun laws, but only one of them has received even a cursory hearing. Right now, the GOP has a super-majority, but half the chamber’s seats are up for grabs next year. The candidate filing deadline is this December, so we will be watching that closely for progressive Democratic candidates to support.