There is nothing wrong with wanting to pray and meditate on the horrific massacre at Pulse Orlando from Saturday night. There is nothing wrong with reflecting and sending good thoughts to the loved ones of victims from the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
But there is something very wrong with sending your prayers out to those affected by Saturday’s violence when you are a politician who is in bed with the NRA, and when you have voted against gun control that could prevent tragedies like this mass shooting. While most of the votes against banning assault rifles come from the right side of the political spectrum, notably ex-presidential bidders John McCain (R-AZ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), they do stray over to the left as well. In Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana, states with Democrat-controlled Senate seats, both senators in each state voted down the 2013 bill to reinstate an assault weapons ban.
Here is the reaction Tom Udall (D-NM) the day after the shooting at Pulse:
Udall is ranked D- by the NRA—he's generally pro-gun control, and these are nice words, but what do they accomplish tangibly? He too voted against the bill that would prevent suspected terrorists to access guns, a policy that would have prevented Omar Mateen from accessing an assault rifle because he was on the FBI’s radar. This is a major issue of money. For example, ex-Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK) voted against several bills that were pro-gun control; however, after he voted for one of those measures, the NRA waged war with him in the next election cycle, essentially pushing him out of office.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Senator Thom Tills (R) of North Carolina sent out a statement:
These are such nice sentiments—words of resilience and strength of faith. But was Thom Tills elected to pray away the hate exhibited on Saturday evening? No—he was plopped in office to take actions that show tangible effects on pressing issues in this country. Unfortunately, Tills was also elected on almost 2.5 million dollars of campaign contributions from the NRA, making him another hypocritical naysayer to gun control legislation restricting the sale of assault weapon firearms:
We’ve been following @igorvolsky on Twitter since the shooting at Pulse, watching him expose politicians who are sending out their warmest wishes and prayers to those affected by the tragedy while sitting cozy in the pocket of the NRA.
Here, they call out presidential-bid-dropout Ted Cruz on his unfortunate statement regarding the shooting:
House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t escape criticism either:
There are far too many people in Washington who are bankrolled by the gun lobby to discuss in one article, so here is a list of fifty of those people contributing to the ever-increasing number of mass shootings in the U.S., including that at Pulse—the worst in American history.
Finally, @igorvolsky lays out just a few things that might just be better than prayers in protecting the country from enduring more horrors like that of Saturday night:
Pray and reflect, if you're a praying person, but let's also take action. If the empty sentiments of these politicians with power over our nation's free-for-all gun control policies anger you like they do us, there are many things that you can do. First and foremost, vow to do more to fight gun violence; next, contact your senator and representative here. Finally, we cannot forget that this was a hate crime. You can look up LGBT-centered non-profits by state here to get actively involved in improving marginalized people's lives.
Images via Facebook, Twitter
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Let's talk about queerness, comics, and shutting down systems of oppression. Carbs enthusiast with a lot to say about living femme in this world and staying positive. Contributor to the zine Clitorally and founder of Static zine. Catch me looking for dogs to pet around town.