BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"You're waving still-warm bodies around to shill for your pet projects that have zero to do with and would have in no way prevented the Las Vegas shooting... Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" a conservative friend wrote me after my column ("Post Las Vegas Massacre, Prayers and Condolences Are Not Enough: Stop The Gun Madness in This Country") about the murder of at least 59 and the wounding of more than 500 at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, was posted online line Monday morning.
After mass shootings -- "477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress." according to the Editorial Board of The New York Times -- it is inevitable that some Americans will try and explain them away by turning toward other explanations, except the proliferation of guns in the country. Some comments are worth hearing and trying to understand, despite how ridiculous or opportunist, or caught in a maelstrom of denial.
On his "700 Club" program on Monday, televangelist Pat Robertson said: "There is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect."
"When there is no vision of God, the people run amok. And we have taken from the American people the vision of God, the whole idea of reward and punishment, an ultimate judge of all our actions, we’ve taken that away. When there is no vision of God, the people run amok."
Robertson’s remarks were eerily reminiscent of when he nodded his head vigorously while the Rev. Jerry Falwell, appeared on his "700 Club" after 9/11, and told viewers: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked," he said. "And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle…all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.'"
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, is considered a somewhat more measured religious right voice than Robertson. In a statement, Perkins pointed out "There will be calls for greater restrictions on guns and gun ownership. While the victims’ families try to pick up the pieces of their lives, the last thing they need is to be in the middle of a national gun rights debate. And is that really the solution anyway?"
After noting that ISIS had claimed responsibility (nice diversion Tony), he went on to state: "Gun control is merely dealing with the symptom. What about the real problem -- the fact that we’ve gotten to a point in our "civil" society where people are seen as disposable? What has brought our country to a place where we no longer value human beings created in the image of God? A God, I might add, that some Americans are punished for even invoking." Talk about opportunism; Perkins has a habit of playing the Christian martyr card regardless of the circumstances.
In a column posted by The Christian Post, Dr. Michael Brown, the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program, asked: "Does the Second Amendment guarantee our right to own assault rifles or machine guns, weapons that can murder 50+ people and injure hundreds of others in a matter of minutes?"
He wrote: "But to focus on this now is to miss the point, just as it was a mistake to focus on questions of global warming during the hurricanes (although these are certainly debates we will have). No, we must ask bigger questions at a time of such agony: Why are these tragedies occurring? Where is God in the midst of this? How can America be healed?"
People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported that "American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer said on his radio show … that the problem at the heart of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas is that too few people had guns."
Right Wing Watch also noted that On his "Pass The Salt Live" webcast … Religious Right activist Dave Daubenmire said the mass shooting "was just the latest example of ‘the wrath of God" being unleashed on America for being such a wicked nation."
Slice and dice these responses any which way you want and you come up with at least two conclusions: a) These folks will not initiate or likely participate in any meaningful discussion about gun control; and, b) they will take every opportunity to push their own agendas.