Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called out the National Rifle Association after the New Zealand mass shooting on Thursday, claiming their use of apologetic rhetoric is a strategy to deflect from policy conversations.
In the midst of the massacre, the congresswoman shared her opinions on Twitter, calling for the togetherness of community, and condemning the NRA while relating the incident to those similar to the religious mass shootings that happened in the U.S.
“At [first] I thought of saying, ‘Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore,'” she tweeted. “But I couldn’t say ‘imagine.’ Because of Charleston. Pittsburgh. Sutherland Springs.”
“What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”
This is a time of great vulnerability for our communities.
We must come together, fight for each other, & stand up for neighbors.
Isolation, dehumanizing stereotypes, hysterical conspiracy theories, & hatred ultimately lead to the anarchy of violence.
We cannot stand for it.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 15, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez followed up her statement by diverting to the vulnerable states for communities and encouraging people to unite.
“We must come together, fight for each other & stand up for neighbors. Isolation, dehumanizing stereotypes, hysterical conspiracy theories, & hatred ultimately lead to the anarchy of violence,” said the congresswoman.
“We cannot stand for it,” she added.
When questions arose of who Ocasio-Cortez’s statements were directed towards, the congresswoman clarified that she was not referring to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, but rather the National Rifle Association’s passivity to addressing gun policy.
“‘Thoughts and prayers’ is a reference to the NRA’s phrase to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies,” she added. “Not directed to [Prime Minister] Ardern, who I greatly admire.”
Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken critic of the NRA since before being elected to public office tweeting in 2018, “The NRA doesn’t work for gun owners. They work for gun companies. They’re a marketing and lobbyist organization that’s full of hot air and dirty cash.”
The NRA doesn’t work for gun owners. They work for gun companies. They’re a marketing and lobbyist organization that’s full of hot air and dirty cash.
We’ve banned the sale of assault weapons before. We can do it again. Weapons of war don’t belong in our neighborhoods. https://t.co/yQL2FCqUgD
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2018
Last month Ocasio-Cortez signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 8, a bill calling for mandatory background checks, along with over 200 other House Democrats.