Thursday, February 15, 2018


This morning, President Trump responded to yesterday's school shooting in Florida with this tweet:

On the right, I don't expect this argument to catch on. It's one thing for conservatives to say that Muslims ought to do a better job of reporting potential terrorists in their midst (even though many do just that); it's another thing to scapegoat white, culturally conservative communities this way. (In fact, Nikolas Cruz was on authorities' radar -- he'd been expelled from his school after bullets were discovered in his backpack, and he'd even been reported to the FBI by someone who'd seen a YouTube comment from him that said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter.")

I don't think there'll be much objection to Trump's tweet from his fellow conservatives, but I don't think this will join the repertoire of canned conservative excuses for gun violence -- that is, unless school shootings start happening on a regular basis in communities of color. Then it'll be all their fault.

I see a lot of people posting this cartoon on social media:

But this really isn't what's happening anymore. As Chris Hayes said on his show last night, the NRA has won -- many of its most recent propaganda videos aren't even about guns anymore, because it has so little left on its wishlist with regard to gun policy. In the wake of massacres, the media doesn't even bother to stalk Wayne LaPierre the way it did after Sandy Hook -- everyone knows that the NRA will just double down and express no remorse. And everyone knows that all Republican officeholders (and a certain number of Democrats) will do whatever the NRA asks.

Now when there's a mass shooting, the group that must be protected at all costs is the Republican Party. Republicans' first thought is blame-shifting. Even the "thoughts and prayers" tweets are blame-shifting, or simply trolling -- they know that they'll be attacked for the empty gesture by Democrats and liberals, and then they can say Democrats and liberals hate God, while conservative preachers argue that none of this would be happening if we hadn't taken prayer out of the public schools and if we hadn't legalized abortion, because (in their view) that makes us all insensitive to the value of life.

Blaming the mental health system (even as Republicans defund mental-health initiatives and attack Obamacare) is another way of shifting blame away from themselves. And now Trump has found a new one, even if it's unlikely to catch on.

Have Republicans effectively shielded themselves? Are they safe now? I hope not. Get out and vote in November.

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