If you’re a politician commenting on the tragedy in Orlando, Florida where the lives of 49 people were extinguished by a madman with a semi-automatic weapon, do us all a favor and do NOT include the phrase “thoughts and prayers” or any iteration of it in your reaction. Thoughts and prayers are like a tissue paper vest when it comes to protecting innocent people from being slaughtered by legally-obtained semi-automatic weapons with the unique ability to mow down large numbers of people in mere moments.
And let’s make no mistake, this was a preventable tragedy. From Barbara Morrill at Daily Kos in her piece, “Here’s what we know about the worst mass shooting in U.S. history“:
We know that 49 people are dead, 53 are wounded and an untold number of lives are shattered.
We know that the AR-15 and other assault-style rifles are the weapon of choice in mass shootings.
We know that three years ago, 44 out of 45 Senate Republican voted against reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban.
We know that an Assault Weapons Ban was introduced in the House nearly six months ago, where, under the bold leadership of Paul Ryan, it has languished ever since.
We know that Omar Mateen had been on a terrorist watch list at one time … but even had he remained on that list, he still would have been able to purchase his weapons because last year Senate Republicans voted to allow potential terrorists to buy guns.
We know these things yet, thanks to the financial largesse of the gun manufacturers through their corporate front group National Rifle Association (NRA), we are, apparently, impotent to do anything – anything at all – to stop it. It’s our national shame.
I leave you with this spot-on tweet from Michigan Democratic State Representative Jeremy Moss:
I literally never want to hear again that LGBT people in the bathroom are a threat to public safety.
— Jeremy Moss (@JeremyAllenMoss) June 12, 2016
[Image from Pulse Nightclub Orlando Mass Shooting Facebook page]