GOP ignores family values after Michigan school shooting

David Pakman
Liberal Opinion

David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show
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After the latest school shooting, Republicans are showing their true colors. On November 30, 2021, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley allegedly shot and killed four of his fellow students and injured seven at Oxford High School in Michigan. Typically in these situations, the right wing will stand on the principle of family values and shout: Where were the parents? In this case, the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are accused of enabling their son and are now charged with involuntary manslaughter. The Crumbleys are also big Trump supporters, so instead, the right is taking aim at school administrators and teachers. So much for principles.

Now, lives are lost and another community is traumatized nearly a decade after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. At that time, the majority of Americans supported new gun safety regulations after the gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff members before taking his own life. However, lawmakers failed to pass legislation calling for universal background checks for every person buying a gun. Has anything changed since then?

I think it’s unwise to assume that there’s going to be no progress made now, because there was no progress made nearly a decade ago. Because although we still have all of the same elements within the Republican Party that don’t want any additional gun safety regulations and will do everything they can to stop it, public perception has changed to some degree. 

And although I’ve said many times before, it seems like unwise political strategy for Democrats to run on gun safety regulations, because it does very little to energize the Democratic base. But it does a lot to energize the Republican base against the Democratic candidate when it comes to state level pushes to actually make changes, whether it’s universal background checks, magazine capacity limits, waiting periods, psych eval, mandatory insurance. I mean, there’s you know, 10 or 12 different things that could be done.

We have another, almost 10 years of these mass shootings under our belt, which hopefully has reduced the tolerance for them among the American public. 

We also have different elected officials now, and if we don’t try to make changes in gun laws, then nothing will happen.

The recent school shooting in Michigan has exposed a number of different hypocrisies once again, where the right states, a principle, states that they sincerely hold a value, and then once that value conflicts with the facts on the ground, it’s abandoned completely. 

Now at a very sort of superficial level. There’s the absence of thought and thoughts and prayers in this particular time when the parents of the shooter who have also been charged were open and ardent Trump supporters, right wingers, and sort of a different perspective here where, when it is a shooter of a certain political orientation or identity, it’s, well, we really couldn’t do too much to stop this, but we send our thoughts and prayers. 

In this particular case, the ire has instead been directed at school administrators and teachers, if you can believe it.  

And that’s the second sort of hypocritical angle, which is that for a decade, two decades, really actually going back to the Ronald Reagan era, there was this focus on the family, so to speak, and that’s also the name of a conservative group, but it’s also a principle, which is you’ve gotta look to the parents. You’ve gotta look to the family. And so often when talking about gun violence or other incidents of domestic terror carried out by individuals of non-white identity or non-conservative identity or non-Christian identity the reaction is well, where were the parents, where the single family households, what we need to be looking or single parent households.

In this particular case where it is not just the vague notion of where were the parents, it’s the parents made it possible for the shooter to get and access the gun. And the parents have actually been legally charged. If there’s any instance where we should be saying, oh, now we actually should be blaming the parents. The right doesn’t want to do that anymore. 

And I played a clip on my program of Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, former judge, saying it is liberal school personnel who are to blame in this particular case.

Jeanine Pirro: “Liberal school personnel should have known Crumbley had a gun or at least had access to one but never bothered to ask.”

And the principle of “look to the parents” has been completely abandoned because in this particular case, the parents not only enabled access to the firearm, but the mom also wrote sort of a glowing love letter to Donald Trump, thanking him for the letting her carry guns while she works as a realtor and praising him for his attempt to build the border wall, which she seems to think he built, even though he actually didn’t. 

So this is one of the reasons that for a long time, I’ve said, you know, engaging on principles is fine, and we should all understand how we came to believe the things that we believe. But when these folks on the right are so willing to immediately abandon their principles, as soon as the facts contradict the principles, it’s really what we sometimes call a philosophical blackhole into which not much time should be put.

Now, in terms of gun safety regulations, there’s been a reaction from some to this incident that was similar to that after the Sandy Hook school shooting. And as a result, many people have said, listen, even after the Sandy Hook school shooting, nothing was really done. So certainly nothing is going to be done in this case. 

Now I share that frustration. If you go back to Sandy Hook in 2012, when Barack Obama was president on something as fundamental, as simple, as seemingly uncontroversial as universal background checks, meaning, even if you sell a gun personally, to someone you know, the gun, you get one at a gun show, whatever, every transaction, every transfer of ownership has to have a background check attached to it. 88 to 90% of the country supported that. And it still wasn’t passed. And that was horrible. And that was frustrating.

I think it’s unwise to assume that there’s going to be no progress made now, because there was no progress made nearly a decade ago because although we still have all of the same elements within the Republican Party that don’t want any additional gun safety regulations and will do everything they can to stop it,  public perception has changed to some degree. 

And although I’ve said many times before, it seems like unwise political strategy for Democrats to run on gun safety regulations, because it does very little to energize the Democratic base, but it does a lot to energize the Republican base against the Democratic candidate when it comes to state level pushes to actually make changes, whether it’s universal background checks, magazine capacity limits, waiting periods, psych eval, mandatory insurance. I mean, there’s you know, 10 or 12 different things that could be done.

We have another, almost 10 years of these mass shootings under our belt, which hopefully has reduced the tolerance for them among the American public. 

And number two, we do have different elected officials.  Some of them will react in the exact same way to any approach at reducing these shootings. And in fact, we’re already seeing that there. This is maybe the most uninformed response I’ve heard to this shooting and you hear it after every shooting it’s well, it’s because the school was a gun-free zone. If guns were allowed at the school, not necessarily the students they say, but maybe the teachers and the staff, students like the shooter would never think to do this because they’d know there are armed people at the school. And of course the facts absolutely don’t bear that out. Very often, these individuals are planning on being killed.

In this case, it’s not the way it went, but in many cases, the individuals are planning on being killed. And they’re not thinking rationally.  If you are in a state of mind where you’re gonna do something as dangerous and irrational as going and shooting people, there is no evidence that you’re calculating and saying, well, but is it a gun-free zone or is it not a gun-free zone? So that, that’s maybe the silliest reaction that we’ve seen.

So overall, another tragedy, no sign that these are going to abate anytime soon, the right abandoning its principle of look to the family and the parents in this case because the family was gun-toting, Trump supporters, and then number four, let’s not assume nothing can get done because if we don’t even try, that guarantees that nothing changes.


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