Ted Cruz demands we jail the mentally ill in Senate speech
As the nation begins to open up from a year of COVID lockdowns and restricted social interactions, the scourge of gun violence and mass shootings — which had quietly diminished during the worst months of the pandemic — has returned with a vengeance, as the recent shootings in Atlanta and Boulder so heartbreakingly demonstrate.
With the return of these condemnable deadly episodes comes the predictable partisan bickering, with Democrats and progressives calling for a ban on assault weapons like the AR15 used in the Colorado shootings, the closing of background check loopholes, and other sensible gun regulations and Republicans and rightwingers offering ineffective thoughts and prayers while decrying their opponents’ efforts as unconstitutional infringements on the 2nd Amendment rights of their gun-coveting constituents.
As if on cue, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the fatuous argument that any attempt by Democrats to restrict access to firearms would actually result in even more victims, presumably because additional gun restrictions would make it less likely that the proverbial “good guy with a gun” would be available to prevent the type of regular mass shootings that this mythical creature has been unable to intervene with to date.
"The Democrats who want to take away the guns from those potential victims would create more victims of crimes, not less…
Thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. We need action."
Sen @TedCruz calls for new gun laws that don't "scapegoat innocent, law-abiding citizens." pic.twitter.com/Byl8Z3u9p9
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 23, 2021
While Senator Cruz tries to seem like he is not merely obstructing new legislation on gun regulation reform with his admission that
“thoughts and prayers alone are not enough,” and his strident call for action, his clever stunt of turning the conversation around to an attack on Democrats’ lack of belief in the power of prayer proves the essentially political nature of his rhetoric.
Perhaps the most overlooked comment in Senator Cruz’s rant, however, was his inclusion of the mentally ill — along with “the bad guys, the felons,” and “the fugitives” — in the list of people that he believes should be thrown in prison and prevented from obtaining guns.
Besides bolstering the unfortunate concept that mental illness is a crime rather than a treatable disease — perpetuating decades of failure in this country to properly address the epidemic of psychological disorders among our citizens — Cruz’s diatribe does nothing to address the root cause of gun violence: the sheer number of guns present in our society and the ease with which unqualified buyers can obtain them.
One need only look at the nations where gun ownership is restricted or those that have banned the ownership of assault weapons and compare the number of gun-related deaths to prove that a lower incidence of gun ownership is directly correlated to fewer fatalities.
This is why people refer to the necessity for “common sense” gun regulations to be passed.
It doesn’t take much common sense to know that fewer guns mean fewer shootings.
As for Senator Cruz and his ilk, it doesn’t take much common sense to know that the argument he is making benefits his own political aims more than it is any real solution to the problem of mass shootings and gun violence.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.