Nobody expects Republicans to do anything about gun violence in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, just as the party has done nothing in the aftermath of every other deadliest shooting in modern American history since the Bush administration. Republicans may budge on the tiniest of concessions, but there won’t be political will to make any serious change until President Trump leaves office and Democratic majorities arrive in the House and Senate.
With meaningful action off the table, the only question for Republican lawmakers after a gun massacre is which one will offer a more depressing peek into the dystopian picture of America the party puts forth as the unfortunate but unavoidable price of freedom.
Leading the charge on Tuesday was South Dakota senator John Thune, who said in an interview with NBC News that, given the fact that there’s no way to stop a mass shooting from happening in an “open society,” citizens’ best hope to avoid being violently killed is to … duck. “I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions to protect themselves. And in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said — get small.”
It was the most depressing Republican response to the shooting until slightly later in the afternoon, when Oklahoma senator James Inhofe (famous for holding up a snowball to disprove climate change) pinned the responsibility for Sunday night’s massacre on sanctuary cities.