Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mass murder American style - The carnage will continue because of Trump and the NRA

Mass murder American style
_h/t AZ Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona_

And let’s include in that list the Republicans in Congress. The result of their inaction, to borrow the title of a 2008 film, is “There will be blood.”

Judd Legum at reports in a subscribers post on what has happened Since El Paso.

Two weeks ago, a white supremacist drove over 600 miles to a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and gunned down 22 people. The next day, another gunman killed 9 people in Dayton, Ohio.


Trump’s about-face

In the wake of El Paso and Dayton, Trump finally seemed prepared to take modest steps to curb gun violence. In a statement to the press on August 7, Trump appeared to endorse universal background checks.

Well, I’m looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important. I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate, sick people.

There’s a great appetite — and I mean a very strong appetite — for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before. I think both Republican and Democrat are getting close to a bill on — they’re doing something on background checks.

Since that time, Trump has reversed course. On Sunday, Trump said that “people don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now” and that gun violence was actually a “big mental [health] problem.”

What happened? According to The Atlantic, Trump called NRA President Wayne LaPierre.

On August 7, the president picked up the phone to discuss the idea with Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “It’s going to be great, Wayne,” Trump said, according to both a former senior White House official and an NRA official briefed on the call. “They will love us.”

The president reportedly asked LaPierre whether the NRA was willing to give in at all on background checks. LaPierre’s response, the sources said, was unequivocal: “No.” With that, “the Rose Garden fantasy,” as the NRA official described it to me, was scrapped as quickly as it had been dreamed up.

On Sunday, Trump made clear that his priority was staying loyal to the gun lobby. “Look, I’ve had a great relationship with the NRA, and I will always have a great relationship. I’ve been very good for the NRA.” Emphasizing mental health issues and claiming existing background checks are sufficient are NRA talking points.

The Atlantic reported that Trump called LaPierre again to let him know that “that universal background checks were off the table.”

Here is an example of what Trump buys with his obeisance to the NRA.

Since those massacres [El Paso and Dayton], authorities have arrested six men who were allegedly plotting mass murders. At least four of the suspects are linked to far-right ideologies, including white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Two of the arrests occurred on Tuesday. In Seattle, authorities arrested neo-Nazi Eric Lin, who pledged to “kill Spanish peoples and Latin peoples by the millions.” According to the arrest warrant, the man was inspired by Trump. He sent this message on July 19:

I Thank God everyday President Donald John Trump is President and that he will launch at Racial War and Crusade to keep the N*ggers, Spies, and Muslims and any dangerous non-White or Ethnically or Culturally Foreign group “In Line” By In Line it is meant they Will either be sent to “Concentration Camps” or dealt with Ruthlessly and Vigorously by the United States Military.

Scaring the GOP: “beat them”

So in the face of Trump sucking (up to) LaPierre again, what can we do? The short of it, according to former congressman David Jolly in Former GOP congressman responds to Republican silence on mass shootings with a powerful message is to “beat them” at the ballot boxes.

Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post) provides some evidence on why the electorate might now have had enough in Trump’s predictable cave on gun safety has arrived.

Practically speaking, the real way forward might be for Democrats to run on gun safety in 2020 and call out Trump and his Republican allies as cowards. That would be smart politics given that the NRA’s approval is underwater and new gun laws are exceptionally popular with the same groups of voters already fleeing the GOP (e.g., women, college-educated voters, suburbanites). The Republican Main Street Partnership, a moderate group that backs “red flag” laws, recently released the results of a survey of 1,000 registered voters across five suburban House districts: Colorado’s Sixth, Kansas’s Third, North Carolina’s Ninth, Pennsylvania’s First and Virginia’s 10th. The result should scare the GOP. Among women in these districts:

  • 72 percent said they think gun laws should be stricter, compared to four percent who said they should be less strict and 23 percent who said they should be kept as they are now.
  • 55 percent said they think stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence.
  • 90 percent support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, which would require all gun owners to file with a national firearms registry.
  • 88 percent said they would support requiring a 48-hour waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and when the buyer can take possession of that gun.
  • 84 percent back a national red flag law that would permit law enforcement to temporarily retain firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
  • 76 percent said they would ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK–47 and the AR–15.
  • And 72 percent would support banning the sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines, which allow guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before needing to be reloaded.

Trump and congressional Republicans’ obsequiousness to the NRA will be another reason for these voters to abandon the GOP, in addition to the president’s racism, bullying, climate-change denial, attacks on health care and abject cruelty toward migrant children. Then the rest of the country can pass rational gun laws. With Trump and the GOP out of power, real progress is possible.

For more, see the Blue Meanie’s post Craven GOP cowards cave to the corrupt NRA – the carnage will continue.

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