These white Christian Nationalist religious zealots are demented and dangerous.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic writes, How many kids must die before the Arizona Legislature takes up gun reform?

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Several Republican legislators took to the Arizona Senate floor on Wednesday to lament the wholesale slaughter of a classroom full of Texas children and to explain the many reasons why those kids had to die.

Long story short: Blame abortion, transgender people and the removal of God from America’s classrooms.

Absolutely not to blame for Wednesday’s massacre: The ready availability of high-powered assault-style weapons to any Tom, Dick or Dirty Harry who wants one.

Sens. Gray, Townsend were quick to blame

Sen. Rick Gray took to the floor to explain that God is absent in today’s anything-goes society.

“We’ve been teaching our children, ‘there is no God …’,” the Sun City Republican said. “All they’ve been taught is they’re animals. There are no absolutes.”

Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Apache Junction, echoed Gray’s comments.

“When we don’t value life, when we celebrate abortion, when we don’t acknowledge science when it comes to gender, when it comes to who you are and what you want to be and you can just do whatever. When we bastardize childhood, what do you expect?

“What do we expect to happen? When you say there is no God, that we rose from science and evolution and God doesn’t exist, then remove what God is. God is love. That’s what God is supposed to be and when you remove love you replace it automatically with what, hate, and you see events like this.”

If we can’t prevent shootings, can we cut the carnage?

What do I expect?

Well, I certainly expected better than yet another classroom full of children executed by a creeper with an assault rifle and a backpack full of 30-round magazines.

I expected God-fearing leaders who would embrace the horror of what happened in Uvalde, Texas, rather than the National Rifle Association.

I expected leaders who would at least consider tightening up some of Arizona’s lax gun laws.

Oh, I know and I readily concede the point that Republicans so eagerly make: We will never be able to end the kind of tragedy that struck deep in the broken heart of Texas.

But surely, we could cut down on the carnage, if only our leaders were not so busy touting their NRA ratings as they campaign for reelection.

I expected our state’s political leaders of goodwill [???] to be shaken by the events of Tuesday and to emerge from their respective political foxholes in search of common ground to at least try to minimize what is far too often blood-soaked­­­ ground.

Especially when that blood-soaked ground is an elementary school classroom.

Bills exist that could help; they’re DOA

Instead, we got a few floor speeches that ignored the heavily armed elephant in the room: Too many high-powered guns too easily obtained by too many people we all know should never have access to them.

“We knew this was coming,” Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, told her colleagues. “We knew this was inevitable.”

We did. And in a few days or weeks, it’ll happen again. And again.

So where are the bills to limit the size of magazines — the big ones that are the accessory of choice for mass shooters across the country?

Where are the red flag bills that would give parents and police the power to petition a judge to temporarily confiscate guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others? Repubilcan Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed such a plan in past years, only to run up against a brick wall in the Legislature.

Don’t give this doucehbag any credit.

Where are the bills to strengthen background checks or to require the safe storage of guns? While neither of these would have prevented Tuesday’s tragedy, there are plenty of other times when they might have saved a life or two or 10.

When will the price become high enough that we will demand action. Will it require the death of my child? Of yours?

Maybe we should protect people, not guns

These bills to reform Arizona’s gun laws do exist. Democrats have been proposing them for years, but as usual, they were dead on arrival at the Arizona Legislature this year.

In fact, the only gun bills I recall coming up for a vote thus far this year are bills to exempt used guns and ammunition from sales taxes, to allow guns on university campuses and to protect the firearms industry from banks and such that no longer want to do business with them.

What do we expect, Sen. Townsend?

How about leaders who are more interested in protecting people than guns?

This white Christian Nationalist response to the massacre of innocent children in Texas is a thing. One of the worst of the white Christian nationalists, Mike Huckabee, is all over it, of course.

Phil Zuckerman writes, Mike Huckabee ties mass shootings to an absence of faith in God. Social science proves him wrong:

In the wake of yet another and another and another mass shooting in America — with at least 34 dead in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton — Mike Huckabee, the former governor turned pundit, repeated his go-to response: Gun violence in our country is all about waning belief in God.

As he piously proclaimed in a recent televised interview: “The common denominator in all of this is … disconnecting from God. … A lot of our country [is] utterly disconnected from any sense of identity with their creator.” Huckabee was even more explicit after the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012 that killed 26, including many young children. Such violence occurs, he said, because “we have systematically removed Godfrom our schools.”

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is far from alone in holding this view. After the latest mass shootings, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on “Fox and Friends” that if Americans don’t adequately praise God, the result will be continued carnage.

So there you have it: Mass shootings in America are the direct result of people not having enough active faith in God.

The interesting thing about this hypothesis is that it is easy to test. You’ve got an independent variable (faith in God) and a dependent variable (gun violence). The hypothesis put forth by Huckabee and other Christian moralizers comes down to this: When a given society has a higher amount of faith in God, the rate of gun violence should be correspondingly lower. Conversely, the lower the amount of faith in God, the higher the rate of gun violence.

But social science finds the exact opposite correlation.

The facts show that strong faith in God does not diminish gun violence, nor does a lack of such faith increase gun violence.

Here’s one crystal-clear example: Faith in God is extremely high in the Philippines. One study found that the country “leads the world” in terms of its strength of faith in God, with 94% of people there saying they have always believed in God. Comparatively, the Czech Republic, is one of the most atheistic nations in the world, with only about 20% of Czechs believing in God. According to Huckabee’s hypothesis, violence and murder rates should be much worse in the Czech Republic and much better in the Philippines.

But the reality is different: The murder rate in the Philippines is nearly 10 times higher than it is in the Czech Republic, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

This same correlation holds true for nearly every country in the world: Those with the strongest rates of belief in God — such as El Salvador, Columbia, Honduras, Jamaica, and Yemen — tend to experience the most violence, while those with the lowest rates — such as Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, New Zealand and Australia — tend to experience the lowest levels of violence.

Are there exceptions? Yes. For example, New Zealand experienced a horrific mass shooting in March. Norway did as well, in 2011. But when looking at averages and correlations over time, the statistical relationship they reveal is unambiguous: Huckabee’s hypothesis doesn’t hold water.

By any standard measure, the safest countries in the world are highly secularized nations like Iceland, Denmark, Canada, Slovenia and South Korea — where faith in God is very low. And the most dangerous countries include fervently faithful places such as the Central African Republic, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela and Belize — places steeped in faith in God.

But the analysis can also be applied closer to home, to the 50 states. According to the Pew Religious Landscape survey, the states with the strongest levels of faith in God include Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Those with the lowest levels of belief in God are Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, Oregon and California. And, as expected, when it comes to homicide rates and violent crime rates in general, the least faithful states in America tend to experience far less than the most faithful.

Of course, there are many different reasons that some nations — or states — have higher rates of violence. For instance, higher rates of gun ownership have been tied to higher rates of domestic homicides. Factors like economics, politics, culture and a host of other aspects of social life also play their part.

But that’s the point. People’s relationship with the divine doesn’t have much, if anything, to do with it. Huckabee’s hypothesis needs to be rejected not only because it is statistically incorrect, but because it’s also inhumane: By blaming mass shootings on a lack of God-worship, he is implicitly asserting that the many victims of gun violence, well, deserved it.

On average, about 13,000 Americans are killed by guns every year. And every day, approximately seven children are killed by guns. Such endless carnage and horror will only stop with sane laws and ethical policies.

Faith in God will do nothing to end the epidemic of mass shootings in America, save perhaps to serve as a balm for the souls of the many Americans forced to weep at funerals for victims of gun violence.

Insurrectionist Coup Plotter, Teabagger Sen. Mike Lee, also wanted in on this bullshit talking point. Mike Lee Wonders If ‘Fatherlessness’ Is Behind Mass Shootings:

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wondered aloud Wednesday whether “fatherlessness” is driving young men to get guns and kill lots of innocent people.

“Every time one of these tragedies occurs, I think we, for far too long, fail to look back at the root causes of rampage violence,” Lee said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, referring to Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

“Questions involving things like, why is our culture suddenly producing so many young men who want to murder innocent people?” continued the Utah Republican. “It raises questions like, you know, could things like fatherlessness, the breakdown of families, isolation from civil society or the glorification of violence be contributing factors?”

The idea that mass shooters hail from fatherless homes, and that that is a reason why they turn to gun violence, has been floated for years by conservatives ― and it is simply false. There are no studies that clearly support a connection been fatherlessness and a tendency toward gun violence. And while details are still emerging about the 18-year-old male Texas shooter, the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, last week was carried out by another 18-year-old male who had a mother and a father.

It’s not a big mystery why the United States has so many mass shootings compared to virtually all other countries, and it’s not because of a missing dad. The research is clear: it’s the astronomical number of guns in the United States, paired with some of the weakest controls over who can buy a gun and what kinds of guns you can own.

Lee made his remarks during a confirmation hearing for Steven Dettelbach, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. If confirmed, Dettelbach would be its first permanent director in seven years. The agency has been subject to near-constant attacks from the National Rifle Association and its GQP allies in Congress, and as such, has only had one Senate-confirmed director in the past 16 years.

Given the timing of Dettelbach’s hearing, a day after another mass shooting, Lee took the opportunity to criticize gun control groups for responding to the Texas massacre by urging people to pressure lawmakers to do something about gun violence.

It is “outrageous” that groups like the Brady Campaign and Everytown are “attempting to profit” off of the Texas school shooting, Lee said, backing up his claim by reading aloud from an email sent out by Everytown that didn’t sound particularly outrageous: “This crisis will only end if we band together and demand action from our lawmakers. I need you in this fight.”

Lee took issue with a fundraising button at the bottom of the email, asking for help to end gun violence. He then turned to Dettelbach.

“You’re endorsed by Everytown, is that right?” he asked. “Are you willing to disavow their shameless, immediate fundraising off the Texas tragedy just hours after this tragedy occurred?”

Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor and former U.S. attorney previously confirmed unanimously by the Senate under President Barack Obama, said he hadn’t seen the Everytown email. But he said that politics have “absolutely no place” in law enforcement or in an ATF director’s job.

Soon after, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) erupted at Lee’s complaints of gun control groups urging action after the Texas school massacre.

“With all due respect to my friend from Utah … I’m getting concerned by hearing a number of people being critical of gun control advocates who are speaking out,” Leahy said, his voice rising as he hit the desk with his fist. “It’s almost a case of blaming the victims and not blaming the person who is able to walk in and buy a weapon that should be used on a war zone, not in a school zone.”

The Vermont senator, who is the longest-serving member of the Senate, said he’s tired of hearing “empty thoughts and prayers and, ‘Oh, isn’t it awful’” from Republicans who remain unwilling to put any real restrictions on guns.

“We’re the only civilized nation on Earth that watches our citizens, our children, gunned down, and we do nothing to prevent it from happening again,” Leahy said. “We’re cowards if we don’t act. Cowards.”

Republicans only have a bad faith response to mass shootings. They don’t intend to do anything about it because of their gun fetish, gun worshipping culture.




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