Shooters, Background checks, and hypocrites

by guest blogger Mark Waid

First: like everyone with a soul, I condemn the shooting of the Congressmen in Alexandria. It is horrible, it is unacceptable, I wish those wounded the best. I am genuinely sympathetic towards them. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.

That said: Mo Brooks.

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cartoon by Dan Martin

The victims were, to a one, among the very same representatives who fight tooth and nail against even the slightest, most basic common-sense gun control measures or closing of loopholes, who serve the NRA more faithfully than they do their own constituents, and who throw up their hands (“What’re you gonna do, amirite?”) every time someone dares suggest that maybe, just maybe, an entire nation of reasonably intelligent people might be able to figure out some way to help stop the murders of Sandy Hook children besides, or even simply in addition to, insisting that every civilian be armed at all times. At least one of the Congressmen who was there, Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia, present on the field, eyewitness to the horror, has since told us that if they’d only been allowed to bring their own guns, they’d have been safer, because everyone knows that the first and most natural thing you do when you take to the diamond is strap on your gun holster. Just remember not to slide.

Yet as incomprehensible as I find these Congressmen’s priorities to be, let’s give them the enormous benefit of the doubt that they really, sincerely do believe that arming everyone regardless of whether or not they’ve had the slightest bit of firearms training truly is the best and only way to fight the problem and not just what the NRA pays them to say. Let’s go wide and assume they’re voting 100% with their conscience. All of them. Except for the one totally devoid of a conscience when it comes to you and your children.

Let’s turn our attention to Alabama representative Mo Brooks.

Of the men on that field, Mo Brooks is a uniquely vomitous waste of carbon. A representative who has repeatedly campaigned against any sort of stricter background checks at all — any — at all — in any form — had this to say about the shootings right after he doubled down on his absolute, unwavering conviction that our founding fathers were talking about SKS 7.62 assault rifles when they drafted the Second Amendment:

“With respect to this particular shooter, I’d really like to know more about him — whether he was an ex-felon, by way of example, who should not have had possession of a firearm — I’d like to know other things about his background before I pass judgment.”

You know what, Mo? WE ALL WOULD. Gee, IF ONLY THERE’D BEEN SOME SORT OF PROCESS IN PLACE THAT WOULD HAVE PROVIDED THAT SORT OF INFORMATION BEFORE SOMEONE GOT SHOT. THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HELPFUL.

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there’s some way I’ve overlooked that Mo Brooks didn’t suddenly get around to changing his mind about the usefulness of background checks until someone pointed a gun at him. But it wouldn’t seem so.

Absolutely nothing I’m saying here is a call for Second Amendment repeal. Not my point. And background checks would not have stopped the shooting. Hodgkinson apparently purchased his assault rifle legally. We know this. Likewise not relevant to what I’m saying unless you want to deliberately and willfully miss my point.

My point is about naked, “I deserve better than you because I’m a Congressman” hypocrisy.

My point is that Mo Brooks, who steadfastly opposes more informative background checks at every turn, just told us that he wants a more informative background check on the shooter. Not on any of the shooters involved in any of the 152 other 2017 mass shootings thus far, mind you. Just this guy. The one who was an immediate threat to Mo Brooks, not the others who threaten you or me. Because for Mo Brooks, when it comes to the ones who shoot at us and our kids because he won’t tighten background checks or do anything to make obtaining guns the slightest bit more difficult for those who we know after the fact should not have had them because of various mental health problems or histories of violence … well, y’know, who could have known?

Mark Waid is an Eisner Award-winning American comic book writer, known for his work on titles for DC Comics such as The Flash, Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright, and for his work on Captain America, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil for Marvel Comics

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