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Bill Straub: More ‘thoughts, prayers’ from ‘leaders’ who get NRA money, reiterating the value of children


It was the greatest of all Kentuckians, Lincoln, who is credited with saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

Andy Barr has removed all doubt.

The Republican congressman from Lexington, who has firmly established over the years that he doesn’t have the sense God gave to geese, furthered his sordid reputation for mouthing crapola in wake of Tuesday’s unspeakable horror in Uvalde, TX, where a lone teenage gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school.

The kids were in the fourth grade. Some were so disfigured from the flying bullets that their parents had to contribute DNA samples to assure proper identification.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

So, our boy Andy, who in the past has majestically touted his “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, a singularly immoral organization that holds him by the nuggets in the same manner it grabs many other lawmakers, decided he needed to say something about this tragedy rather than simply cower in the corner and keep his trap zipped.

Of course, what came tumbling out was the usual thoughts and prayers gibberish politicians fall back on when they have nothing worthwhile to say, which, in Andy’s case, is a chronic condition.

Inserted in his rubbish was this insight:

“Now is not the time to politicize this tragedy.”

Andy boy, you can take that garbage and shove it up your nose. I would prevail upon you to shove in territory slightly to the southeast of that locale but I’m pretty sure the editors wouldn’t permit it.

As sure as God made little green apples you can make book that, after another of these massive shooting incidences, gun nuts will come crawling out of their holes and demand that it not be politicized. Then, coincidently, the time to engage in that necessary and vital debate will never arrive. The next massive shooting comes and goes. Then the next one and the next one. And guys like Andy Barr, warning everyone not to politicize these terrible incidents as soon as they occur, sit on their backsides and do nothing.

It occurs from here to eternity. Remember the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut back in December 2012? Twenty-six met their fate that day, 20 of them were babies, aged six and seven years old. We weren’t supposed to politicize that one either. And, in the end, what did we as a nation do about this unholy slaughter brought on by those who profess gun worship that has consumed this nation?

Nothing. Zip. Nada.

In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, published May 19, two medical doctors, Rebecca M. Cunningham and Patrick M. Carter, along with Jason Goldstick, a research associate professor of emergency medicine and health behavior, all at the University of Michigan, noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released updated official mortality data that showed 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2020 – during the administration of former President Donald J. Trump, it should be noted — which they termed “a new peak.”

But of particular interest is the finding that firearm-related deaths have supplanted vehicular accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents, defined as persons one to 19 years of age.

“. . .the increasing firearm-related mortality reflects a longer-term trend and shows that we continue to fail to protect our youth from a preventable cause of death,” the trio wrote.
 
So screw you, Andy, and your plea to avoid politicizing it. Why don’t you try doing your job for a change, something to protect not only school children with sensible gun regulation but the general population at large.

Instead, Andy wants you to “unite in our grief and outrage, support a thorough investigation, establish the facts and seek justice.”

Okay, let’s do that. Salvador Ramos celebrated his 18th birthday by legally purchasing a pair of semi-automatic rifles and 375 round of ammo. On May 24, wearing body armor and carrying one of those firearms, he marched into a 4th grade class at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, and opened fire. By the end of his labors, 19 kids were dead, along with two teachers. Six individuals were hospitalized. Ramos died after engaging in a firefight with authorities.

Those are the facts. What else do you need to know? And as far as administering justice, well, the gunman is dead. You want to throw him in jail too?

Barr, of course, is not alone. His fellow Republican members of the House and Senate were seemingly sorry about all this, mind you, prayers and stuff. But little about guns. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, or wherever the hell he’s living these days, went on a Newsmax broadcast and talked a lot about securing schools, making them more like prisons than they already are, buy nothing about gun control.

The sole holdout was that reliable nitwit/gun worshipper, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, who said on Twitter, “We should end so-called gun-free zones and allow sane adults to protect children from insane individuals,” because, obviously requiring everyone to pack a gun, in church, school, the delivery room, is the only answer. The dead should be buried with an AK-47 lying next to them in the coffin – just in case.

All this should be no surprise. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader and the indispensable John Cheeves, the NRA “has spent at least $153,813 supporting the campaigns of Republican members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation and donations to the Republican Party of Kentucky since the 2016 election cycle.”

The biggest beneficiary of the manna from heaven is, understandably, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Louisville, who has an enormous say regarding the passage of any gun control legislation in the upper chamber. Number two is our boy Andy, hauling in $27,829, which is interesting since he managed to collect more NRA lucre than infamous gun nuts like Massie and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green.

Of course, Massie shouldn’t count since the NRA doesn’t throw any cash in his direction because he’s an even more intense worshipper in the Church of the Uzi than the organization is, a scary prospect, perhaps, but true nonetheless.

The NRA, Cheeves noted, has in the past praised McConnell and Barr for supporting the right to carry concealed guns, opposing restrictions on semi-automatic guns and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and opposing universal background checks on gun purchases.

If that’s not a prescription for the sort of disaster that befell Uvalde, not to mention the mass shooting at a grocery in Buffalo, NY, on May 14, by a white supremist that left 10 Black residents dead and three other people injured, nothing else will do.

At least now we know the going rate for selling your soul.

In the 1990s, under the urging of then-President Bill Clinton, Congress passed a law banning certain assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Those bans expired in 2004. A 2019 study by the New York University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Charles DiMaggio, an epidemiologist, determined that mass shooting deaths – defined as incidents where at least four were killed – declined during the years of the ban and rose thereafter. In fact, the death toll from mass shootings went from 4.8 per year during the ban years to 23.8 per year afterwards.

Meanwhile, a recent article authored by Christopher S. Koper, professor of criminology law and society at George Mason University in Virginia, found given that “mass shootings with high-capacity semiautomatics are considerably more lethal and injurious than other mass shootings, it is reasonable to argue that the federal ban could have prevented some of the recent increase in persons killed and injured in mass shootings had it remained in place.”

This is the very definition of insanity. Guns are killing our children. We have essentially determined that about, oh, 20 deaths of six-and-seven-year-olds in Connecticut is the price we as a nation are willing to pay just so we can keep a Smith & Wesson on our hip. Now, in wake of Uvalde, the price is about to go up.


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5 Comments

  1. Richard says:

    The ball is in the democrats court. They have the votes to do as they please, but they have gun carrying constituents too. Bet they will talk about universal background checks, as usual, but that would not have prevented the current incident. You should revisit this topic in a month or so, and let us know how you feel about the democrats solution.

    • Aaron says:

      Richard you couldn’t be further from the truth. The House has passed gun legislation and have the numbers to do more (democrat majority). Biden is ready to sign gun regulation. The senate is being held hostage by republicans who insist on 60 votes to bring a bill to vote. Democrats only have 50 in the senate, so they need 10 republicans to come to their senses. As always, republicans are putting NRA money ahead of common sense regulations that 80 to 90% of the country support.

      • Richard says:

        You have heard of the ‘nuclear option’? In both 2013 and 2017, the Senate used this approach to reduce the number of votes needed to end debate on nominations. A simple majority is all that is needed. The democrats have a Joe Manchin/Kyrsten Sinema problem, not a republican one, as these democrats will not vote to end the filibuster. Once the filibuster is out of the way, the democrats can pass whatever legislation they want. The democrats are more than happy to point the finger at the republicans, because they have constituents too, that insist on the right to bear arms. The bills passed in the house last year, The ​​Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 would not have prevented the Uvalde massacre.

  2. Aaron says:

    So you blame democrats… who all but 2 support ending the filibuster, but not the 50 republicans against gun control. Quite the bend over backwards to avoid responsibility for your party. No one thing will prevent all massacres. Comprehensive gun control requires a combination of background checks, closing loop holes, banning AR15’s, red flag laws and mental health access.

  3. Richard says:

    I am a registered independent. I do blame the democrats, as should you, because they do have the power to enact real gun legislation, but they won’t because it is too hot button an issue, even for them. They will blame the republicans instead as usual, and the press will parrot their talking points ad nauseum.

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