Deflection is a major political strategy when Republicans are forced to face the realities of gun violence. There’s always something else to talk about — they’ll pull out such dog whistles as “Chicago” and “gang violence,” or insinuate that other problems, like drugs and immigration, are more serious and relevant.
That’s exactly, in fact, what Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) did during a Senate hearing on mass shootings on Wednesday.
Below is the type of testimony that was shared at the hearing — Nancy Rotering, Mayor of Highland Park, Illinois, where a Fourth of July parade was interrupted with gunfire that killed seven people, leaving dozens more injured.
Highland Park, IL Mayor @NancyRotering: "Less than a minute is all it took for a person with an assault weapon to shoot 83 rounds into a crowd forever changing so many lives, and the most disturbing part; this is the norm in our country." pic.twitter.com/GPvEHrUqtZ
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 20, 2022
Rotering describes the devastation, including small children clinging to life only through medical intervention, and individuals attending the funerals of loved ones while still suffering the effects of their own wounds. She emphasizes that because of the weapon the shooter was able to obtain, legally, it took him less than a minute to enact so much destruction and suffering.
Here’s what Senator Cornyn has to say — that instead of discussing mass shootings, at a hearing on mass shootings, in the Senate, where he was elected to serve, he’d rather hear about Chicago, gangs, the southern border, and drug overdoses.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) deflects to drug cartels and gang violence during congressional hearing on mass shootings:
"I don't hear any commentary about the 108,000 Americans who died of drug overdoses last year alone. All of those drugs come across the southern border." pic.twitter.com/S0wV90LKLS
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2022
“…the focus on the firearm, that we’ve heard so far, deflects our attention from other places where I think we could make a substantial difference. Things like focusing on the criminals that comitted 836 homicides last year in Chicago alone…I don’t hear any commentary about the 108 thousand Americans that died of drug overdoses last year…all those drugs come across the southern border…We have an open border…And it is the criminal gangs in cities across America that commit most of the violence using guns…”
Notably, while suggesting that a “substantial difference” could be made by addressing these issues instead of mass shootings, Cornyn did not offer any legislative suggestions to do so.
Statista has recorded 51 deaths and another 61 injuries in mass shootings in approximately the first half (up through July 4) of 2022. There are no statistics to accurately and completely count the number of victims traumatized by their proximity to these mass shootings.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com