To the Editor:
Thoughts and prayers. In the decades since the Columbine massacre, the GOP/NRA have been simply killing us with their thoughts and prayers.
But I’ve realized, partly because of their inaction on gun control and partly because of the actual evil and insanity of their positions on guns, that ‘thoughts and prayers’ is a type of code, like a mantra, shorthand for what they dare not say aloud every time a gun owner kills our kids.
When any member of the GOP says their thoughts and prayers go out to shooting victims, this is what they are really saying:
“We may think about your dead kid and we might even pray about your dead kid, but never, ever make the mistake of thinking we will actually feel anything or do anything about your dead kid.
“See, even though we are capable theoretically of passing common sense gun reform, ostensibly being law-makers and all, we are in reality wholly-owned and operated by the NRA, which in turn is wholly-owned and operated by gun manufacturers, not the gun-owning NRA members who actually support background checks and limits on gun ownership.
“No, gun manufacturers realize that school shootings are good for their bottom line. Every time we have one, the stock price goes up and there is a run on ammo and guns by men who are, at heart, just little cowards afraid to walk in public without being strapped. We fed them fear and they lapped it up like puppies and milk.
“And when their profits go up, that gives them more money for their lobbyists to funnel into my campaign, and that’s way more important than your dead kid.
“After all, it doesn’t really affect me. It’s not my kid. My kids go to private school. My house has a state-of-the-art security system. I can afford around-the-clock bodyguards for my kids. It’s your problem if you can’t protect your child from the guns we’ve allowed to flood into your neighborhoods.
“And if you don’t like it, tough. You’ll never vote me out. I’m untouchable thanks to decades of gerrymandering. We don’t let voters choose their politicians. Gerrymandering lets politicians choose their voters.
“So go out and buy a gun, because all I’ve got to sell you is fear, not solutions. Be a good guy with a gun, not because that’s an actual solution but because it’ll increase my donor’s profit margin.
“But meanwhile, stop talking about who’s to blame for your dead kid. It’s always too soon to talk about this. And you’re making it ‘political.’
“I’m not to blame. Wasn’t me. I’m not responsible. I didn’t do it.
“I just let it happen and took the NRA’s money. I just took the damn money and didn’t do a damn thing.”
It’s insane that these conservatives spent months “protecting kids” from the non-existent dangers of Critical Race Theory, but can’t protect kids from actual danger. Seriously, the next time a Republican claims they’re pro-life and protecting kids, I may just lose my ever-loving mind.
You can choke on your prayers and shove those thoughts where the sun don’t shine.
James L. Hartley,


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