Thursday’s shooting at Saugus High in Santa Clarita, CA left two students dead and three wounded, and is just the latest atrocious act of mass gun violence in America. The sad truth is that these incidents have become expected, and while the reasons for their recent frequency are multi-faceted, there’s no doubt that the impact of such attacks could be curtailed by stricter gun laws.
Which brings us to the U.S. Senate. In a dark irony, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted this:
Here's video of Murphy's speech on the Senate floor:
As it happened, Murphy’s original tweet came about ten minutes before the Santa Clarita shooting. And as he predicted, a Republican senator did emerge to scuttle his attempt to pass a bill calling for universal background checks. That Senator was Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), who blocked the motion and halted consideration. Her move came just as students at Saugus High were huddled in classrooms, waiting to see if they’d be attacked by a gunman, while elsewhere two of their classmates lay dead.
The bill, which was passed by the House, has stalled as Mitch McConnell has refused to consider it in the Senate, and Murphy’s attempt to get it passed by universal consent was more of a symbolic gesture than anything. Hyde-Smith could have been any other Republican senator; it was apparently her turn to take one for the team.
“Many questions about this legislation need to be answered before it’s forced upon law-abiding gun owners,” Hyde-Smith said.
Murphy’s incensed retort:
“You’re in the majority! You have the ability to pass legislation that you support, that Democrats can support as well,” Murphy said to his Republican colleagues. “And the idea that we are just going to sit here and twiddle our thumbs week after week as 100 people are killed by guns … it’s an abdication of our basic responsibility as United States senators,” he said.
Hyde-Smith is just a cog in the Republican machine that continually stifles any change in gun laws at the behest of the NRA and other interests, but today, like it or not, she’s the face of her party’s intransigence in the face of mass shootings across America, including the one that took the lives of two students in California as she was engaged in the latest GOP bout of obstruction.