Crooked Media - What A Day: All shock, no action

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

 -Herschel Walker, on gun control

The death toll in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, TX, has risen to 19 students and two teachers, all of whom were murdered in the same classroom by an 18-year-old with a legally purchased weapon of war. Seventeen other people were injured.

  • The gunman, Salvador Rolando Ramos, shot and critically injured his grandmother before driving to the school, and posted on Facebook about his plans minutes before the attack. He legally bought two AR-style rifles just days after his 18th birthday this month, and used one of them in Tuesday’s shooting. Ramos encountered armed law enforcement officers before entering the school, but made it past them; while initial reports said he had worn body armor, authorities said Wednesday that he was wearing a plate carrier vest with no protective armor inside. 
  • In an emotional address to the nation on Tuesday evening, President Biden pleaded for action on new gun control measures: “As a nation, we have to ask: When, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When, in God’s name, will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” On Wednesday, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) confronted Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) during Abbott’s press conference, laying the blame for the massacre at his feet before being escorted out: “This is on you.” (In Abbott’s defense, he was so heartbroken about the shooting that he, let’s see here, attended a fundraiser for his re-election campaign hours later.)
  • Whereas the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting seemed, in the awful aftermath, like it might shock Congress into action, Republicans have this week wasted no time in reaffirming that they believe elementary school massacres to be (generously) not preventable via gun control, or (realistically; sickeningly) the bearable cost of unfettered gun rights. Top Texas Republicans have instead blamed mental health issues, and called for arming the teachers that they’ve been framing as shifty indoctrinating perverts.

Broad legislative action to prevent future mass murders will require Democrats to reform the filibuster, and the esteemed gentle-demons from West Virginia and Arizona still can’t quite see the need. 

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Tuesday that he would do “anything” he can to pass “common sense” measures, but ruled out changing the filibuster. (“I will do anything to put out this fire except pick up a hose!” Thank you, sir.) Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) hasn’t budged either. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the Senate will start holding votes on gun safety amendments, but noted that Republicans have been clear about where they stand, and vaguely invited Americans to haul their anguish to the polls: “Americans can cast their vote in November for senators or members of Congress that reflect how he or she stands with guns.”
  • The upshot: Our long national nightmare continues. In 2020, guns became the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S., overtaking car accidents, which had been the leading cause for over 60 years. Sometime in the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision that would force states to lift restrictions on carrying guns in public. It’s a grim path we’re trapped on, and in the short term, appallingly, it doesn’t appear that the second-deadliest school shooting on record will change that.

The slightly longer term could be different, but as with codifying abortion rights, it will require Democrats to get specific: “You voters elect two more Democrats to the Senate, and we will immediately reform the filibuster and pass gun control legislation.” That path to action needs to be clearly marked; without it, we’re on the one headed straight towards the next all-too-imaginable tragedy.

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As expected, disgraced former president Donald Trump’s ego received a swift kick in the pants in Tuesday’s Georgia primaries. (Egos wear pants, many people are saying this.) Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) crushed the Trump-endorsed former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) in the GOP gubernatorial primary, and will once again face Stacey Abrams in the general election. More surprisingly, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger won an outright victory over Trump endorsee Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), avoiding a runoff after a year of relentless MAGA threats over his refusal to steal the 2020 election. Former NFL star and current anti-abortion extremist Herschel Walker easily won the GOP Senate nomination to take on Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in November.

In Texas, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) has declared victory over progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros, but the race is officially still too close to call. The last anti-abortion House Democrat, who also has an “A” rating from the NRA, is currently ahead by just 175 votes, suggesting that Democratic leaders’ decision to back him made the difference. So that sucks! Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton defeated George P. Bush to win the GOP nomination for a third term in office, allowing Bush to spend more time with his family-disowning campaign koozies.

Wednesday marked the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, which might have commanded more attention if the scourge of police violence wasn’t momentarily eclipsed by the (overlapping) scourge of gun violence. But it didn’t go overlooked: President Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at improving policy accountability, in the absence of legislative action. The order directs federal agencies to revise use-of-force policies, forbidding chokeholds and limiting the use of no-knock warrants, and requires the Justice Department to create (and use) a new “national law enforcement accountability database,” which could help prevent officers who are fired for misconduct from finding a new police job in another jurisdiction. The order also reinstates Obama-era restrictions on federal transfers of military equipment to local police and calls for a new national standard for accrediting police departments. An executive order won’t accomplish as much as Congress could—Biden can’t order local police agencies to abide by the new federal rules—but it’s a start. 

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Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and California Democrats have pledged to expedite more than two dozen bills aimed at reducing gun violence in the state. 

Gunner DeLay, a right-wing, anti-abortion candidate for Arkansas Supreme Court, lost big-time against the moderate incumbent justice he sought to replace. 

A new cancer vaccine that recruits the immune system to attack cancer cells could be the first step towards a universal cancer vaccine. 

Researchers in the UK have used CRISPR to genetically edit tomatoes that can produce high levels of vitamin D.

. . . . . .

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