In the wake of the terror attack that killed eight people in New York City on Tuesday night, Republicans are losing their damn minds, up to and including Donald Trump.
During a pool spray before a cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump casually suggested shredding American due process rights after earlier blaming the attack on Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Another home-state legislator, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), explicitly recommended religious profiling in response to the attack, but it was his emotional dismount that caught my attention:
“We have to have extensive surveillance within the Muslim community because that's where the threat is coming from. And we have to, again, not be politically correct, not worry about what people are going to say about us. Our job is to save American lives.”
Over on “Fox & Friends,” Brian Kilmeade made a similarly forceful argument for legislators to take action following this attack:
“Lawmakers have to envision those eight people that lost their lives, and others struggling to keep them, as their family members and react accordingly. Don't be dispassionate and say, 'I have never been to New York,' or, 'I never ride a bike.' It's got to be about — it's got to be personal, you gotta pretend it's your family, and then how would you react.”
Those are compelling sentiments — although not compelling enough to shred the U.S. Constitution — but for some reason, Republican concern for saving American lives varies wildly depending on the skin shade of the attacker.
After 600 Americans were killed or wounded just a few weeks ago by a white guy, Republicans set about derailing the most minor of gun control laws by first lying about it and then just dropping the subject.
Even though the Constitution allows for extensive legislative action that would save American lives, and even though I'm sure most Republicans have been to a country music concert and/or existed in a crowd of people, they haven't envisioned those people as their family members and acted accordingly. More people were shot that day than there are members of Congress, yet they have done nothing.
Legislating out of fear is not a good idea under any circumstances, but Kilmeade's remarks, in particular, capture the spirit in which our government should tackle most problems. We have a simpler word for it: empathy. But that empathy cannot be limited to that which is politically convenient.
Banning refugees based on religion or shredding due process produces harm to innocent people that more than outweighs benefits that are nonexistent.
Banning accessories that allow anyone to possess the firepower of a machine gun and magazines that carry 100 bullets, on the other hand, doesn't hurt anyone except the really, really bad deer hunter and the mass murderer. Congress should be OK with that.
Watch the capabilities of bump-fire accessories and ordinary semi-automatics below.