Year after year, bullet after bullet, burial after burial, we hear the same pathetic, empty statements from those whom we have chosen to lead our country. From their privileged offices in our nation’s capital, we’ve seen no action. Instead, consider what we’ve witnessed in just a few short years.
December 14, 2012 — Newtown, Connecticut: Twenty elementary school children and six of their teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Mitch McConnell’s response: “We are all crushed by the news of today’s horrifying massacre in Newtown. I invite everyone to lift their hearts in prayer for the victims and their families and to unite around the hope that there will soon come a day when parents no longer fear this kind of violence in our nation again.”
September 16, 2013 — Washington, DC: Twelve people killed at the Navy Yard.
McConnell says: “We’re all thinking about today’s tragic shootings at the Navy Yard, about the victims and their families…Many people in the area – and across the country – will be directly affected by this terrible tragedy. We pray for all of them”
May 17, 2015 — Waco, Texas: Rival motorcycle gangs kill nine at a restaurant. There were over 170 arrests made after the incident.
McConnell says: “We’re all thinking of and praying for the victims and their families. Given the horrendous event at the Boston Marathon on Monday, followed by the event near Waco last night.”
June 17, 2015 — Charleston, South Carolina: Dylann Roof kills nine worshipers at a historic black church.
“The depth of loss these families must be feeling is simply awful. So I want the American people to know the Senate is thinking of them today and the victims that they love. We’re also thinking of the entire congregation at this historic church. We’ll continue to do so as more about this about this tragedy is learned in the hours and days to come.”
June 12, 2016 — Orlando, Florida: Omar Mateen kills 49 people at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub.
Mitch McConnell says: “The nation’s prayers are with the victims and their families in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We thank the citizens and first responders who helped rescue and save lives amidst horror and chaos.”
October 1, 2017 — Las Vegas, Nevada: Steven Paddock kills
fifty-eight fifty-nine people on the Vegas strip, firing automatic weapons from an upper floor of a resort hotel. In addition to the fatalities, over five-hundred people were injured.
McConnell says: “What happened in Las Vegas is shocking, it’s tragic and for those affected and their families, it’s devastating. It’s hard to even imagine their pain. I hope they know we are praying for them now, I hope they will find strength in the love and kindness of those around them in this hour of darkness and pain.”
Hundreds of lives senselessly lost, and these are just some of the major mass shootings that have occurred in the past five years. The United States has witnessed about one incident of gun violence with three or more victims per month throughout these past five years. With the additional lives lost through gun-related crime, domestic violence, and suicide, the death toll is staggering. The inescapable conclusion is that we need solutions.
And all Mitch McConnell has to offer is thoughts and prayers.
I am not calling attention to McConnell’s inaction because he is a Republican and I am a Democrat. I am not singling him out because he is an outlier among his Senate colleagues. He is not the most rabidly pro-gun Senator, there are many others vying for that title from both major parties.
I am singling out Senator McConnell because he is the leader of the majority party in the Senate, perhaps the single most important position responsible for writing the laws we live by. I am addressing his inaction because he is in a unique position to act, on behalf of his constituents and the American people. History has tragically afforded him ample opportunities to provide some corrective measures to address gun violence.
Yet at every opportunity, he gives us more thoughts, more prayers.
Even in these politically polarized times, there are reasonable compromises that address the concerns of law-abiding Americans. Poll after poll shows broad support for a variety of solutions, all requiring a legislative champion, leadership, action. Perhaps there are market-driven solutions that we should consider.
Senator McConnell, spare me your thoughts and prayers.