How many times do we have to live through this cycle? Mass shooting. TV networks rush to the scene. Wall-to-wall coverage. Cries of “it has to be different this time.” Questions about why Congress doesn’t do something. Mitch McConnell makes noises about maybe doing something. TV networks move on. Public attention moves on. McConnell does nothing. Another mass shooting happens and we do it all again.
Look at the last six years:
58 killed in Las Vegas
49 killed in Orlando
32 killed at Virginia Tech
26 killed in Newtown, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 six- and seven-year old children
26 killed in Sutherland Springs
22 killed in El Paso
17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
14 killed in San Bernadino
12 killed in Virginia Beach
12 killed in Thousand Oaks
12 killed in the Washington Navy Yard
12 killed in Aurora
11 killed in Pittsburgh, at the Tree of Life synagogue
10 killed in Santa Fe, Texas, at Santa Fe High School
9 killed in Dayton, 13 hours after the El Paso massacre
9 killed in Roseburg, Oregon, at Umpqua Community College
9 killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina
That’s in just six years. The mass killings have been unrelenting for decades, and with every single one we hear the same lament: “this must be the last straw, this must finally be the one that changes things.” But now there’s a new refrain that follows shortly after. “This should be the last time, but it’s not, because Congress will refuse to act.” A variation is “Congress is too scared to act,” or “there aren’t the votes.” Then the nation’s collective attention fades away, because the traditional media moves on to the next story. Until next time.
That’s a pattern Mitch McConnell counts on, every time. He takes some heat for a few weeks, but knows that the NRA will stay by him, and bides his time until it blows over. And there’s a collective sense, bred by the traditional media that this is the only way it can be and that we’re powerless. McConnell has taken the nation hostage.
Every national reporter and every national camera crew that’s now in Iowa should head for Kentucky. They should be camping outside of McConnell’s house and they should be asking him every goddamned day when he’s going to allow the Senate to do its job. And when he refuses to answer, report that. There’s too much at stake to let him get away with it once again.