The Second Amendment is treated as a sacred edict from the heavens

Jamila Bey asks some pointed questions about yesterday’s terrorist mass shooting in Alexandria.

The talk of mental illness is immediate when a white man takes up his arms and turns them against innocents. Despite that, the overwhelming majority of people who have mental illness never become violent, terroristic killers.

But even if we are to grant that this particular shooter in the Alexandria incident did suffer from mental illness, there is still a main question to be answered. And it should be laid at the feet of Scalise and his similar-voting colleagues on Capitol Hill. We have to ask legislators, “Can we talk about protecting Americans from the proven threat that is domestic terror?”

Scalise holds an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association. He also was on Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, which wants to make it easier for residents of the District of Columbia to obtain guns. He has also fought to do away with provisions restricting mentally ill people from buying guns. Scalise co-sponsored the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which aimed to remove restrictions on interstate firearms transactions.

While the Second Amendment is treated as a sacred edict from the heavens, never to be touched, these are legislators who are happy to change laws about voting rights, equal access to women’s health care and mental-health care as well.

Why is that? It’s hard not to think it must be because at bottom enough people want it to go on being possible to shoot people with ease.

These legislators, and much of the media, too, are far too comfortable with the status quo that white men with guns are the prime illustration of what it is to be an American—no matter on whom they turn those weapons.

It was almost a year ago when GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted:

Paul was uninjured Wednesday as he and other legislators fled the hail of gunfire while another lone-wolf white man with a gun unleashed his fury at unarmed people who couldn’t defend themselves.

It’s time to do more than wring our hands and talk about how futile it is to even make a request for a real conversation about this issue.

Congress must absolutely get in line with medical professionals, who explain that gun violence is a public health issue, just like clean water and safe food.

And we must all do a better job in calling a terrorist a terrorist. Even if he’s a “normal looking” white man.

No one, not even GOP legislators, should be scared of being shot down in the outfield.

Will this nudge Republicans into a different view of the Second Amendment? I’d love to think so, but I doubt it.

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