Florida State Sen. Kelli Stargel was one of the 20 Republicans who voted against an assault weapons ban yesterday because she doesn’t give two shits about the kids who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School… or, in her mind, she genuinely thinks easy access to military-grade weapons has nothing to do with why 17 kids are dead.
Making matters worse, during her pre-vote speech, she offered a real solution to school shootings: Thoughts and prayers. (Literally.)
If I thought for one moment that if we banned assault weapons, that all of these tragedies would end, you would have me. I would be with you. But are we going to ban fertilizer, which is what they used in the Oklahoma City bombing? Are we going to ban pressure cookers, which is what they used in the Boston massacre? Are we gonna ban the multiple handguns that were used in other assaults? Are we gonna ban the sawed off shotguns [that were] used in Columbine?
It’s not the weapon. It’s the evil from within.
And unfortunately, Senator Stewart said at the very beginning of her debate, when we say “thoughts and prayers,” it’s frowned upon. And I take real offense at that because thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s gonna stop the evil from within the individual who is taking up their arms to do this kind of a massacre.
So I will continue to do the thoughts and prayers…
… in my opinion, the one thing that will actually change this the most, is the one thing that has become fighting words, which is to say “thoughts and prayers.” So that’s something I’m gonna continue to add to my comprehensive plan, that we can hopefully stop the evil that is happening from within our world.
After 20 GOP senators voted down the assault weapons ban, they held — no joke — a moment of silence for the kids who were murdered in the shooting. Because silence is really the only thing Republicans have to offer those victims. It sure as hell isn’t action.
As for Stargel’s question about whether we should ban everything used in attacks, tell you what. Let’s start with guns and work from there. It worked in other countries. We also started making people take off their shoes at airports after someone tried sneaking explosives in there, and we haven’t had that problem ever since.
By her logic — and Sen. Marco Rubio‘s — we can’t stop all attacks, therefore there’s no need to do anything to prevent even the most obvious weapons of attack. At least fertilizer and pressure cookers have other actual uses. The only reason people have AR-15s is because they want to kill.
And if she’s genuinely concerned about “the evil within,” then here’s a thought: Don’t let evil people have access to weapons. Since we don’t know who’s evil and who’s not, better to play it safe and not let anyone have access to them. Will some people be upset by that? Too fucking bad.
(If you haven’t read it yet, the New Yorker published a jaw-dropping story last week about Marion Hammer, the NRA lobbyist who basically has an iron grip on every one of these pathetic Florida Republicans.)
If the Parkland kids have taught us anything, it’s that we can keep this momentum going, and these people don’t have to stay in power forever. But it requires more people speaking out against irrational Republicans like Kelli Stargel who think meaningless appeals to God will do more to prevent school shootings than getting those weapons out of everybody’s hands.
(Thanks to @GfreshNclean for the link)