Monday, October 2, 2017

Mass shooting at Las Vegas concert, on the heels of nuttiness in Alabama U.S. Senate race, shows Americans are drunk on the sacred purity of gun rights

One week ago, on the eve of Alabama's GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate, candidate Roy Moore whipped out a pistol at a campaign rally, in an apparent attempt to counter charges from opponent Luther Strange that Moore wasn't sufficiently supportive of gun rights. (See video above.)

Three days ago, after Moore handily had beaten Strange, the right-wing political site Yellow Hammer News said in a campaign analysis that Strange had made a mistake in questioning Moore's Second Amendment credentials -- that voters were enraged by any suggestion that "Judge Roy" might be the slightest bit "soft on gun rights."

Last night, more than two months before Moore is to face Democrat Doug Jones in the general election, a gunman opened fire from above a crowd of concertgoers at a country-music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. At least 58 people are dead and more than 500 injured, and it is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, apparently killed himself. He is believed to have been a "lone wolf" attacker and was found with at least 10 rifles.

Shots from an automatic weapon rang out as country singer Jason Aldean started a song on the main concert stage. (See video at the end of this post.)

Aftermath of Las Vegas shooting
The shooting comes as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is pushing a bill in Congress that would make it easier to buy gun silencers. It comes just months after Donald Trump made it one of his top priorities upon taking office to revoke Obama-era gun checks for people with mental illness.

Are Americans willing to tolerate slaughters like the one in Las Vegas in the name of Second Amendment purity? Have we become so averse to reality and riven with political differences that we value gun rights more than life itself? The answer to both questions clearly is yes.

Does anyone even recognize this irony? Attendees at a country-music festival are likely to be predominantly white and Republican, which means they probably are staunch supporters of gun rights. Well, 58 such folks now are dead, with at least 515 injured -- and those numbers are rising by the hour.

We have become a country that is willing to accept a seemingly unlimited number of mass killings in the name of Second Amendment purity. Consider this nuttiness from Yellowhammer News in its analysis of the Moore-Strange race:

Then later during the run-off, I had to listen to another ad supporting Luther, this time saying how strong he is on the Second Amendment (which indeed he is). But then they had to blow it with another unnecessary jab.

“Roy Moore,” the narrator said, “He’s a little soft on gun rights.”

Luther lost me in the runoff because of that ad. Permanently.

There’s plenty of truthful material to use against Moore, but claiming he’s “soft” on guns was the dumbest thing I had heard since … well … someone said Mo Brooks was in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi. Do they really think we’re that stupid?

Luther’s outside supporters meant well, but they couldn’t have caused a worse reaction with the voters they were seeking to influence. I saw otherwise calm people grow red-faced with anger about those ads.Not because of where they came from. Not because they were negative, per se. But because they were taking cheap shots at well liked, and well known, conservatives.

It seems like Alabamians know Mo Brooks and Judge Moore much better than the people who created those ads. We not only felt they were being unfair to two of our movement’s most unwavering conservatives, they were insulting our intelligence by claiming they were liberals or gun grabbers.

Gee, we wouldn't want to have any "liberals or gun grabbers" -- not when we can have corpses strewn on the major thoroughfare in one of our most vibrant cities.

As for the politics of gun nuttery, it's no better in Alabama among Democrats than it is among Republicans. Consider this report about Doug Jones' recent interview on NBC:

Todd asked Jones a series of questions in the 7-minute long interview, televised nationally. On gun rights , Jones said he is “a Second Amendment guy.”

“We’ve got limitations on all constitutional amendments in one form or another,” Jones said. “I want to enforce the laws that we have right now. The biggest issue, I think, that’s facing the Second Amendment right now is that we need to make sure we shore up the National Crime Information System, the NCIC system for background checks, to both keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but at the same time, cut down on error so that law-abiding citizens can get those.”

Jones said he loves to hunt and has a case full of his own guns, but wants to make sure regulations are “smart.”

Translation: A so-called "progressive" supports the gun culture that led to last night's massacre in Las Vegas. That's what serves as a "profile in courage" in a gun-saturated postmodern America.

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