By Robert Mann
In her 2014 book, “A Fighting Chance,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren puzzled over our culture’s maddening indifference to gun violence. “We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day,” Warren wrote. “If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”
Warren is right. The only deaths in America we must not discuss or address with any urgency are those caused by guns.
We saw this insane sentiment on display last week after the latest mass shooting – this one in Lafayette, La., where a demented 59-year-old drifter shot and killed two young women and injured six others in a movie theater.
In the immediate aftermath, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made one thing perfectly clear. “The best thing we can do across Lafayette, across Louisiana, across our country, is come together in thoughts, in love, in prayer,” Jindal said the night of the shooting.
Asked about what this meant for changing his state’s gun laws (among the weakest in the nation), Jindal pushed back hard. “Let’s focus on the victims right now,” he said. “Let’s focus on their recoveries. There’ll be a time, I’m sure folks will want to jump into the politics of this. Now is not the time.”
Jindal is not alone in his desire to stall and procrastinate after a mass shooting. He’s only repeating the standard Republican/NRA mantra after similar tragedies: Now’s not the time. This is a period for mourning and prayer. There will be time to talk about how to address the problem later, but not while people are burying their dead. For now, let’s pray for them and hug our kids.
For example, Jindal responded with outrage to President Obama’s call for federal action on gun control after the June 17 shooting deaths in a Charleston church. “I think it was completely shameful, that within 24 hours of this awful tragedy, nine people killed at a bible study at a church,” Jindal fumed, “we have the president trying to score cheap political points. Let him have this debate next week. His job as commander in chief is to help the country begin the healing process.”
Funny, I don’t recall Jindal suggesting anyone wait a week to start discussing how to address the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010, which killed 11 people (most of them his constituents).
Immediately after that disaster, Jindal demanded immediate action on “three challenges: stopping the leak, protecting the coast and cleaning the coast.” No one suggested that Jindal’s quick call to clean up the Louisiana coast was a “shameful” effort to “score cheap political points.”
Instead of prayers, Jindal demanded prompt action. “Officials at the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority are also working with the state’s oil spill coordinator’s office to monitor any potential environmental impact,” Jindal said within 24 hours of the explosion.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, did anyone suggest we should wait a few weeks to pray and mourn before responding to the terrorists who murdered thousands?
Continue reading on Salon.com at this link.