The clear minded Democracy lovers amongst us have yet to find a way to get through the “mental wall” politicians like trump & co. have been able to build with their lies and by engendering fear in their followers.

That is our job for this moment in history.

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It's more than cynicism they are WARPED! Who can hear about a child having her face blown off and say "oh no big deal" ? I mean - seriously -they are inhumane

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Nothing will happen until SCOTUS reverses Citizens United (and related) rulings regarding campaign finance regulations, and enough caring legislators are elected to develop reasonable laws. It requires long-term hard work: organizing, voter registration, get-out-the-vote campaigns, fundraising, and discussing specific issues rationally and repeatedly. It will also require appointing more progressive judges. Diane Feinstein’s decision to remain in office is having an inordinate negative influence on appointing judges right now and will set back solution attempts, perhaps by years.

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I write this not to offend, but, if after all the Republican thoughts and prayers nothing has changed, the Being to whom they pray must not be very powerful or effective.

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There is only contempt for the lawmakers in Red states. There should be a warning from the DOJ about the dangers of traveling to these states. “Red Flag Warning” The states of

1. Alabama

2. Alaska

3. Arizona

4. Arkansas

5. Florida

6. Georgia

7. Idaho

8. Indiana

9. Iowa

10. Kansas

11. Kentucky

12. Louisiana

13. Maine

14. Michigan

15. Mississippi

16. Missouri

17. Montana

18. Nebraska

19. Nevada

20. New Hampshire

21. North Carolina

22. North Dakota

23. Ohio

24. Oklahoma

25. South Carolina

26. South Dakota

27. Tennessee

28. Texas

29. Utah

30. Vermont

31. Virginia

32. West Virginia

33. Wisconsin

34. Wyoming

Not safe to travel within these states due to current mass shootings. Travel at your own risk.

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The GOP shows the banality of cruelty in their insistence of every person owning an arsenal large enough to wipe out small towns, and yet feigning sympathy with “thoughts and prayers.” The total lack of empathy of one party in this country is a socio/psychopathic disease that has infected the body politic and is especially toxic to those who already are narcissistic and deem themselves victims who carry out these “fantasy or performance acts” to get attention.

We lose nearly as many people killed by gun violence each year as were killed during the entirety of US service members killed in Vietnam over a decade. That is just mind boggling.

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Anything to avoid real action. And then Republicans vote to weaken (or outright eliminate) every gun law which prevents those who shouldn't have any guns (let alone assault weapons) from getting their hands on them.

"Thoughts and prayers", indeed.................

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Mr. Beschloss, your July 2022 letter “Can a Photograph Change Minds?” Is an important piece of this puzzle. Without photographs graphically showing the results of the horrendous gun violence, many people just tune it out. When Covid first descended on our country, I was at a loss to understand why I saw no pictures or videos of the impossible chaos in the hospitals. We were told about how dire it was but never SHOWN to my knowledge. I believe that fact alone was responsible for the right wing to pretend it was a made up emergency which led to the conspiracy theories around the vaccines. Donald Trump knew the value of the TV screen and took full advantage of it. People against gun violence must do the same. There are pictures from the Holocaust showing emaciated bodies piled on top of one another and worse. Who are we protecting by not showing the crime scenes?

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The US ranks 2nd in the world for homicides, beaten only by Brazil.

Serbia's president states he will eliminate guns from that country after only 2 mass shootings.

Germany , only 2 of every million are killed by homicide.

In Japan:

"While handguns are outlawed across the country, obtaining a shotgun or rifle requires a full-day every three years, passing a shooting range test with at least 95% accuracy, a background check that includes interviews with family members, as well as mental health evaluations, drug tests and a report of where the guns and ammunition will be stored."

My questions are: Why didn't the Democrats do something when they controlled

the executive and the legislative branches?

If the majority of people here are against guns, why do they continue to elect those who do nothing about them?

Some states are making it a crime to go across state lines for an abortion. Are we headed for the need of passports between states?

There is something sadly wrong with this country.

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Thoughts and prayers are the GOP’s deodorant when these things happen. Because they have trained the media and public to show so much deference to religion in general they get to pretend that we are attacking their “sincerely held religious belief” when we point out that their pleas to their diets of choice haven’t had any measurable impact on the body count being racked on his watch. This is the alleged human who represents those people in the People’s House.

‘’In response to the shooting, U.S. Rep. Keith Self, a Republican who represents Allen, emphasized mental health, saying during an interview with CNN’s Paul Reid that “many of these situations are based on” the closures of mental health institutions. He added he wanted to “stay away from the politics” and focus on prayer for the families of the victims.

When Reid asked for his response to the common criticism that prayer is not a replacement for meaningful gun safety legislation, Self responded: “Well, those are people that don’t believe in an almighty God who is absolutely in control of our lives.”

What a hideously anti-democratic statement. Keith Self was elected to represent his district in the legislature that writes the laws that govern our nation. The folks of Allen Texas CHOSE him to represent them when those laws are written, not the Levantine war god the Bronze Age Hebrews settled on, nor the Holy Trinity of my Catholic upbringing. We’re American’s, we don’t have “Lords,’ not even a “King of Kings,” like so many tedious Christian Rock bands harp on. We are supposed to be a nation of laws crafted by people, not handed down on stone tablets. If thoughts and prayers are all you have to offer, go be a priest or nun, step aside and let a person do your job.

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One thing we can all agree on - gun violence in America is epidemic. Guns and gun violence have proliferated like a virus. And Republicans have actively stood in the way of treating this sickness, or even trying to understand it a systematic way that would reveal insights and actionable ways to address the disease and save innocent lives (right to life anyone?).

One of the latest examples - "House Republican appropriators Wednesday rejected a proposal to designate millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gun violence research, voting 32-20 to keep the language out of a fiscal 2019 spending bill." It was a party line vote.

Substituting their useless 'thoughts and prayers' for real understanding and a sincere desire to save some lives has to be a slap in the face to whoever they are praying to. It's like Covid coming ashore and saying, "nah, we don't need to study it and try to design a vaccine for it. We just need to pray harder and it will just go away like a miracle".

Refusing to even study the problem at the epidemiological level is a clear signal that Republicans do not want to end the carnage. They KNOW, as we all know, that what would be revealed would implicate both their complicit role in the insane proliferation of the most lethal weapons but also in their fear and hate mongering rhetoric designed to keep their base agitated and angry, resulting in the radicalization of a dangerous portion of their followers.

Republicans want to keep the status quo because that has kept them in power, despite the unspeakable human costs. Until we manage to vote every last soulless Ted Cruz and Gregg Abbot out of office the carnage will continue unabated.

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I know this is redundant and obvious, but I feel better verbalizing it. Tone-deaf R's insist that benign migrants are "terrorists," despite the country's need for them to have cheap labor for agricultural industries. Tone deaf R's want the book thrown at homeless people. But they want to insist that there's no way to protect Americans from American citizens who wage a type of war on the country. Evil flourishes when enough tone-deaf, willfully blind, men (who lust after contributions from the rifle lobbyists), do nothing. Their priority: full coffers even if that means coffins full of children. There's a fine line between observers (those helpless to do anything) and accomplices (those who aid and abet in that they could do something to prevent the carnage, but refuse to do so), Willful blindness.

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I just wrote this to President Biden:

"Adapted from a letter in a Substack comment:

Dear President Biden,

U.S. flags are at half staff once again because of another mass shooting tragedy. With the rate we are experiencing mass shootings practically daily now, let me suggest that you declare U.S. flags be flown at half staff until the U.S. Congress bans assault weapons and their ammunition. Make it be a constant reminder to the citizens and to their Congressional representatives that action must be taken to save lives.

I'm also wondering if there should be an "Emmett Till Movement," with family members agreeing, as did his mother, to share gruesome photos of their murdered loved ones, so that the horror of their deaths might impel people to take action to ban the weapons of war that are killing our innocent citizens, so that we no longer have to fear that no matter where we are, we could be slaughtered.

Respectfully and with great sadness,"

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Unfortunately you will continue to write similar pieces until enough voters wake up and bring in super majorities of politicians who vote with their heart and head before their wallets. Only then can we civilize our gun laws and increase the number of Justices who put the consensus of our nation before their religious dictates.

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May 8, 2023·edited May 8, 2023

Thank you Steven, for your very powerful words. I cringe, as the mass shootings in the United States are covered on our Canadian TV platforms. It definitely dulls any desire to cross the border, something we used to do on a regular basis. It seems to me that calling out the pawns like Ted Cruz and the Republican denialists does nothing to change their fixed mindset. They bow at the altar of the NRA gun lobby. It is absolute INSANITY that any citizen should be able to own a military-grade assault weapon. And the deference to the Second amendment rights, is an utterly bizarre premise. When the Constitution was drafted, weapons were largely muskets and flint-lock pistols. The Second Amendment reads 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' How does this square with the fact that the perpetrators of mass shootings are generally one wolf actors. Their intent is NOT to secure the State. The narrative perpetuated by the gun lobby is egregiously flawed. Turn the tables on this warped view held by gun aficionados. Applaud the Republicans for aiding and abetting murder. Send invoices for the funerals of all victims of mass shooting, to the NRA. Congratulate the gun manufacturers for the efficiency of their murder-machines. And never fail to remind them, that on any day,, at any time and in any place, they, or a member of their family could be the next target. And don't forget to 'sing the praises' of any ecumenical or other individual who claims to be 'pro life', but merely offers up prayers and condolences, as if that is sufficient homage for mass shootings. If these hypotheticals sound jaded, they are. BUT, the characteristic lame responses to rampant gun violence are as empty as the shell casings littering the crime scenes. These dark days for America require the piercing light of logic, reason and empathy. The travesty is accepting the unacceptable, and living in a state of denial. Glory to guns in the highest, is NOT acceptable.

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