Republicans Yawn as a Mass Shooting Event Hits Allen

May 6, 2023

On Cinco de Mayo, Mississippi hosted the daily mass shooting event. While the body count was low (1 dead, 6 injured), it still was terrifying for the people just trying to enjoy a local restaurant. Earlier in the week, Georgia had hosting duties with 1 dead and 4 injured in an Atlanta medical center waiting room. Today’s mass casualty event was (of course) in Texas at an outlet mall in Allen. There are at least 9 people dead, including children.

I imagine the United States is the only country that must specify a “mass shooting event” (4 or more people shot) in order to differentiate from the gun violence happening daily. If we actively covered and discussed the number of people accidentally and purposefully killing themselves with guns and the gun violence with a smaller victim count, people might actually believe we have a problem. Can’t have that!

The Allen shooting came a week after a gunman killed 5 members of a family in south Texas and less than a year after the Uvalde school shooting tragedy. Of course, Texans are no strangers to gun violence. We are home to the Sutherland Springs church slaughter, the El Paso Walmart carnage, the Santa Fe High School murders, and two (!!) shootings at Fort Hood. Lucky us.

It’s hard to know what to say anymore. Oh, excuse me, I was talking about rational people who care more about people than guns. Texas Republican politicians had plenty to say. Governor Greg Abbott courageously spoke out against gun violence saying, “Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas tonight during this unspeakable tragedy.” I don’t believe him; you need to have a heart in order to share it with others. Our Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, was equally brave, eager to focus on preventing the next event. He invited people to “join us in prayer for the victims’ families and friends along with the residents of Allen.” If prayer were going to help stop gun violence, it would’ve done so already.

The clear futility of thoughts and prayers didn’t stop our U.S. representative – the appropriately named Keith Self – from jumping on that bandwagon. A reporter from CNN finally pushed back (it’s about freaking time!) by asking, “What is your response to the people who say thoughts and prayers are not enough?” Self was unmoved. In a stunning display of legal and Constitutional knowledge, he said, “Well, those are people that don’t believe in the Almighty God who is absolutely in control of our lives.” He then threw in the usual scapegoat: mental health.

As a psychologist, I assure you that Republicans care about mental health as much as they care about gun safety. Mental health providers are overworked, underpaid, and often ignored. Many are leaving the field and there aren’t enough potential counselors in the educational pipeline to replace them. Mental health facilities are also understaffed and underfunded. Waitlists are long. Yet we few are somehow going to save everyone from gun violence. After decades of blaming gun violence on mental health issues yet doing nothing substantive to help solve the problem, the Uvalde massacre finally prompted a few Republicans to help Democrats pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act but we have yet to see a big impact from it. This will be the same.

The CNN reporter continued to press Self, asking several times in a row what he plans to do legislatively in response to major gun violence in his area. In a surprising twist, he refused to answer. I’m sure his silence has nothing to do with an overall lack of solutions but is instead indicative of a deep contemplation of how he can best serve his constituents. Just kidding! Self-less, he is not. After the interview, the CNN commentator said, “he needs to get off his knees and get off his butt and do something.” Amen. But mark my words, the only thing Self will do is show up and look sad.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Based on this, the United States is clearly insane. We’ve been doing the same damn thing (mostly nothing) about gun violence for decades and it’s only increasing. Others have noticed. Seven countries have issued travel advisories for the U.S. due to gun violence. I don’t blame them. I hope their citizens heed the warning and vacation elsewhere because it isn’t safe here. We live in a war zone. If foreign tourism dollars dry up, maybe Republican donors will start pressuring their bought politicians to pass gun safety legislation. Maybe. But don’t hold your breath.

What’s it going to take for things to change? Obviously, people must stop voting for Republicans but, to do that, Republican voters have to care about stopping gun violence. They usually don’t, at least not until it directly affects them. In Allen, some are already talking about getting guns to protect themselves. This attitude would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. This is Texas. Of course, there were some people at the outlet mall carrying guns! But it did them no good. It hardly ever does. Why do we keep focusing on individual solutions to what is clearly a systemic problem? But that’s the United States for you. We’re short-term thinkers, so nothing will change.

My practice is in Allen, so I’m preparing to help those suffering from this latest trauma. I’ve already had people reach out for help. They won’t be my first patients struggling to deal with gun violence and, sadly, they won’t be my last. I wish I could say I had hope for change but, given the state of our country, I don’t. Instead, I’m only left with only two questions.

Who will host tomorrow’s mass shooting event? And when will Republicans care enough to stop the insanity?

Comments 1

  1. A-freaking-men. I am SO SICK of this. My daughter was JUST THERE at the outlet mall. I was JUST THERE a few days before that. It could have been us. Really, it could be any of us at any time at any place because this state (and country) loves its guns more than it loves anything else. So, so, so SICK.

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