This country, especially its “pro-life” Republicans, hates its children.
What else can you conclude upon learning of yet another tragic, senseless mass school shooting—this time in Uvalde, Texas—where an 18-year-old man walked into an elementary school and killed (at a minimum) 19 students and 2 adults?
In other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, a tragic mass shooting prompts outrage, shock, and action. The adults in charge say, “Never again,” and immediately enact gun reform.
In America, even though many studies consistently show that an increase in available guns leads to more shootings and suicide, we simply say “again and again please.”
In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data revealed that guns became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers in 2020. So, naturally, a federal appeals court recently ruled in a 2-1 decision that states can’t ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles to those under the age of 21. A Trump appointee wrote the opinion.
Gun sales in America have also skyrocketed in the past year. We have more guns than people in America, a country of 330 million. The Texas shooting—which reportedly killed children from 2nd to 4th grade - was the 27th school shooting of 2022. It’s still May.
In other countries, kids are preparing for their summer break. In America, our kids are worried about surviving the rest of the school year. When I was growing up, we had fire drills. Now, our kids have shooting drills.
But, Republicans in particular love telling ourselves and the world that we’re “pro-life.”
The violence and utter disregard for our children’s health is overwhelming, so you shouldn’t be blamed for forgetting that just yesterday four teenagers were shot and killed in South Carolina.
But, we should take comfort in knowing that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is currently mourning this “horrific loss.” It’s not clear yet whether his grief will lead him to cancel his scheduled appearance at an NRA conference next week. A 14 percent increase in shootings in Texas also did not deter him and other Texas Republicans from passing a pro-gun law in 2021 that allows most Texans to now openly carry firearms in public without obtaining a permit or training. Even though law enforcement said this law will make it harder for them to protect the public from gun violence, Republicans across the nation applauded the move.
They realize there’s no political cost to engendering this violence. Whenever there’s a mass shooting, especially involving children, they’ll simply outsource the work to the Thoughts and Prayers Department.
Right on cue, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stepped up and tweeted that he was “lifting up in prayer the children and families” after this latest horrific shooting. However, he and other Republicans refuse to lift a finger to enact gun control. In fact, they have used their minority rule and control over courts to block any meaningful gun reform in this country.
Three months ago, I wrote “we have officially reached the ‘fuck them kids’ stage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and I concluded Republicans were “fine sacrificing our kids’ health if it means their dead bodies will pave the way to Republican control of congress and fuel their unending counter-majoritarian culture war.” That piece was in response in part to the GOP’s call to end mask and vaccine mandates in schools. In the meantime, we’ve learned about a Supreme Court draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that will end Roe v. Wade and roll back constitutionally protected rights, triggering draconian laws in red states that will have zero exceptions for rape and incest, and even punish women for using contraception.
Controlling women’s bodies, removing fifty years of hard-earned rights, and transforming America into Gilead is rationalized by the right-wing as a necessary sacrifice to save children, otherwise known as “the domestic supply of infants.” In 1996, George Carlin criticized these hypocrites in an HBO stand-up special, saying, “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.” Same as it ever was.
I judge people by their actions and their behavior, and you can tell a lot about a country based on its investment and priorities.
After this latest shooting, I’m convinced this country, especially Republicans, aggressively hates its children.
In 2022, it’s easier to get a semi-automatic rifle in the U.S. than it is to get paid parental leave or baby formula. Meanwhile, Republicans (along with their favorite Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin) refused to fund the child tax credit that briefly lifted millions of children out of poverty. As a nation, we have a shamefully high maternal mortality rate. And we make life cruelly difficult for new parents (especially mothers), by being the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave. Don’t even think about subsidized child care.
But once the kids are ready for school, they can look forward to getting some much-needed exercise during active shooter drills.
In America, we’ll use our fingers to point and shoot our guns, but we won’t lift a finger to protect children once they’re out of the womb. With such callous disregard, how could a reasonable person come to any other determination?
Not only do we not “think of the children,” we don’t collectively care much if they even make it out of fourth grade alive.