It feels like each and every week, we shudder at the notification that pops up on our phones: “Mass shooting/gunman at (Insert random location).” Society has become numb to each tragedy’s circumstances.
The fact that in the past month, America has experienced two of the top five deadliest shootings in U.S. history doesn’t seem striking nor does it manifest itself as a surprise.
There are numerous statistics I can throw out, illustrating gun violence across the country in recent years, but there’s no need. We are all flooded by the stories far too often. We have openly accepted mass shootings as American canon.
The dark and twisted fetishization over firearms in the name of individual liberty and American patriotism is, and always will be a disease — a disease fueled by the parasitic, and increasingly proto-fascist aggressors within the National Rifle Association.
Since the coup d’état of the NRA, carried out by Harlon Carter in the 1970s, the association has distorted and thrashed its way into becoming the reactionary hard-right lobbying organ it now represents. As more shootings are carried out, the NRA has drawn the line in the sand over gun regulation — a line drawn with the blood of innocent victims.
When the atrocities come, so do the endless tweets from Republican politicians, whose “prayers” are with the victim’s families. As if piety somehow solves this superbug from spreading throughout contemporary society. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has positioned himself in this mold. Shortly after reports of the — preventable — act of barbarism in Texas, Ryan tweeted: “The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.”
Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 5, 2017
Similarly, other prominent Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri and many others, including congressman U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin 7th district and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin all took to Twitter to voice their empty prayers.
Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers and grateful for our brave first responders on the scene.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 5, 2017
We pray for the Sutherland Springs community in this difficult time. So incredibly thankful to first responders. #SutherlandSpringsTexas
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 5, 2017
Waiting for details, but news reports of several people shot in a Texas church. Please pray for Sutherland Springs. https://t.co/JSDuqaMdot
— Sean Duffy (@RepSeanDuffy) November 5, 2017
Horrifying news out of Texas today. My thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this evil act. -rj
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) November 5, 2017
The striking irony of all these politicians and their less-than-effective platitudes is that they all are deep within the pockets the NRA.
For example, Ryan took in $171,977 dollars from the purveyors of bloodshed this past election cycle alone. Similarly, Ron Johnson and Scott Walker both have taken in considerable amounts of money from the NRA over the years. Johnson has also received an A rating from the NRA, while Scott Walker boasts and even higher A+.
Money in politics is an another whole bear of an issue, but essentially, when you’re in the pocket of an organization, you’re going to act in their interest if you want to keep your money. A quasi-plutocratic patron-client system exists in society, where hard-right patron money buys politicians, effectively blocking any sane reason from emerging.
Ryan exudes that if we pray we can somehow stop gun violence. This is futile and hollow.
It is beyond evident that we need stricter control. We are the only country where this occurs, yet there are still pushes from Ryan, Johnson, Walker and others to “not politicize” the massacre.
Please save me this cowardly, spineless and deplorable cop out. If it is too early for us to politicize this tragedy, can we politicize and rally around Las Vegas? Can we begin to politicize San Bernardino? What about Orlando? Or even Sandy Hook? Surely the death of children would warrant change?
It doesn’t matter who dies, it’s become overtly clear that there will be no martyrdom that manifests as stricter gun control. Groups like the NRA have made that distressingly clear. The plutocratic pull is too strong, and politicians are too ideologically and morally bankrupt.
Unless something drastic changes, we will continue to be plagued by our gun disease, and with them, so too will we be flooded with pointless tweets on praying. The politicians will continue their prayers while innocent people continue to die.
They’ll huddle in their offices exercising their Twitter muscles, too cowardly to give up their money, and too cowardly to care, the most lamentable tragedy of all.
Paul Ryan, art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
Adam Ramer ([email protected]) is a junior studying history and politics.