Thursday, June 02, 2022

That's Not It, Mr. President

Surprisingly- if one attributes any credibility to Mitch McConnell- Uvalde, Texas was an outlier.

On Monday, President Joe

Biden, speaking to reporters after his return to the White House, was asked if he believes talks between Republicans and Democrats could produce bipartisan gun legislation after the latest tragedy. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tapped Texas Sen. John Cornyn to work with Democrats on the legislation.

“I don’t know, but I think there’s a realization on the part of rational Republicans — and I consider Sen. McConnell a rational Republican, and Cornyn is as well,” Biden said. “I think there’s a recognition on their part … that we can’t continue like this. We can’t do this.”

Two days later, responding to a question (video below) from a local television reporter in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

We have, uh, led by Senator Cornyn, and Senator Murphy on the Democratic side, discussing how we might come together- target the problem, mental illness and school safety.

We've found the problem- but it's not that too few Republicans are rational, as seemingly understood by the second tweeter of the two  below.


Republican leadership, centered on the Senate Minority Leader, is rational. McConnell understands that ultimately, Republicans and conservative independents are going to vote for GOP candidates because Democrats are perceived as unpatriotic, weak, or excessively favorable toward blacks, immigrants, or elections.

Following the horrific event in Uvalde, McConnell needed only to project the message "we care." That could do with the magic phrases "mental health" or "school safety," the latter popular with conservatives because it conjures up the image of a police state (black lives matter, indeed). And so, mental health and school safety.

There is no standard definition of mass shooting. According to this chart, however, in 2022 there have been in the USA 13 instances in which ten individuals, not including the perpetrator, have been shot and ten instances in which four or more individuals (again excluding the perpetrator) have been killed.

"School safety," emphasizes the Minority Leader, and the massacre in Uvalde did in fact take place inside a school. However, in no other of those ten cases was a school involved in any way.. For those keeping score at home, that makes 9 out of 10, or 90%, which could not have been prevented or mitigated by anything related to school safety.

Of the 17,813 murder victims in the USA in 2020, 13,663 occurred by rifle, handgun, or some sort of firearm. There were 3,167 victims of murder by all other identifiable causes, with 983 not clearly identified. Thus, at least 76.7% of the deceased succumbed to someone wielding a firearm, with those outnumbering persons killed by other means by a factor greater than four.

It's difficult to outlaw hands used in strangling (58) or suffocating (71) people, and law enforcement already aggressively addresses narcotics (113). But we can do something about people getting blown away. Mitch McConnell knows that, and his unwillingness to engage effectively is not irrational but a conscious, rational decision made to enhance the chance that "Minority" in his title will be replaced after November by "Majority."

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