Ohio, Kentucky Politicians 'Heartbroken' over Latest Mass Shooting, Despite Signing Pro-Gun Legislation

Our political leaders have so many "thoughts and prayers."

click to enlarge "Thoughts and prayers" don't stop bullets, unfortunately. - Photo: ripster8, Unsplash
Photo: ripster8, Unsplash
"Thoughts and prayers" don't stop bullets, unfortunately.

On May 24, an 18-year-old man walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and shot 21 people dead, including 19 children. He did this after shooting his own grandmother, who remains in serious condition as of May 25. Data shows that it is the deadliest school shooting since December 14, 2012, when a 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticuit.

But it won't be the last. Below are some of the United States' deadlier, more widely reported gun violence incidents in the last two weeks alone:
  • May 15 - Laguna Woods, church: one dead, four wounded.
  • May 15 - Houston, flea market: two dead, three wounded.
  • May 14 - Buffalo, supermarket: 10 people dead, three wounded.
  • May 13 - Milwaukee, downtown streets: 16 people wounded.
In 2002, there were three active-shooter, multiple-victim incidents in the United States. In 2020, there were 40, data shows.

In 2020, firearms were the leading cause of death for children throughout the nation, research shows.

Small Arms Survey, a research project in Switzerland, estimates that there are 390 million guns circulating around the globe. It also estimates that the United States has about 120.5 firearms per 100 residents. Yes, the United States has more guns than people. The country next on the list is conflict-ridden Yemen, which has "just" 52.8 firearms per 100 people.

Gun murders continue to climb throughout the United States. "The 19,384 gun murders that took place in 2020 were the most since at least 1968, exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 recorded by the CDC in 1993. The 2020 total represented a 34% increase from the year before, a 49% increase over five years and a 75% increase over 10 years," Pew Research Center says. Research from Johns Hopkins University backs that up. And BBC reports via CDC research that 79% of homicides in the United States in 2020 were performed with guns. That's again higher than anywhere else in the world, with Canada at 37% and Australia at 13%.

In Ohio, nearly 1,800 residents died via firearms in 2021 – almost as many as in 2020, the state's reigning record year.

With the May 24 shooting fresh on everyone's minds (at least until the next one, which statistically could happen any day now), politicians are sharing their "thoughts and prayers" over the "heartbreaking" tragedy that's frequently called "senseless." Many of them are Republicans who claim themselves to be "pro-life" but repeatedly sign legislation removing gun restrictions because they frequently are backed by powerful pro-gun organizations (they've also repeatedly blocked or lifted COVID-19 public health protocols even during virus surges, including at schools; more than 1,000,000 people in the United States have died from COVID since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 and countless others have sustained "long COVID").

Yet 90% of adults – these lawmakers' constituents – are in favor of more gun restrictions, polling shows.

Let's see what some Ohio and Kentucky politicians have to say:

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)

"Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent school kids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers and staff and the first responders on the scene."

McConnell has long thwarted gun control efforts. In 2020, McConnell received more than $16,000 in contributions from the National Rifle Association. The Republican Party of Kentucky received $2,500 from the NRA.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

"Fran and I are heartbroken over the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. The last place we should be afraid to send our children and grandchildren is to school. School safety and law enforcement intelligent gathering are key efforts within our Ohio Department of Public Safety, and we offer any assistance to Gov. Abbot and Texas law enforcement that they may need. Fran and I will keep the victims and their families in our prayers, and we ask all Ohioans to do the same."

In March, DeWine signed a bill removing training, background checks and the permitting requirements to carry a concealed weapon in Ohio.

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)

"My heart goes out to the families of the victims in this horrible tragedy in Uvalde. Our nation mourns for the innocent children, teacher, and all those affected by this senseless act of violence."

In 2016, Portman received $9,900 in contributions from the NRA.

Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio's 4th District)

Jordan has not yet directly tweeted about the Uvalde shooting, instead preferring to post about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alleged wiretapping, Major League Baseball and gas prices. He did, however, retweet a Louisiana politician and a Texas politician, who both were "heartbroken." Jordan also tweeted "God Bless our Border Patrol and law enforcement officers" on May 25.

In 2020, Jordan received nearly $6,000 in contributions from the NRA.

The thoughts and prayers aren't enough without action, says Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, Ohio, who is running for governor against the incumbent DeWine. Whaley was the mayor of Dayton when, in August of 2019, a 24-year-old man opened fire in Dayton's Oregon District, killing nine people and wounding dozens. 

"None of us are talking about responsible gun owners here. What we’re seeing is extreme actions that are killing innocent people and making our communities less safe," Whaley tells CityBeat exclusively. "I took Mike DeWine at his word that he was willing to do something after the Dayton shooting where we lost nine people and 27 were injured in 32 seconds, by someone who had no business having an assault-like weapon. Never in my worst nightmare did I think he would do something to make it worse, which is what he’s done, making our communities less safe with permit-less concealed carry, something even police officers are against."

"Mike DeWine is afraid of extremists, is unwilling to do what needs to be done to keep communities safe," Whaley continues. "Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ this happens again in Ohio. Mike DeWine can give his thoughts and prayers and put the flag at half-staff and do all kinds of bullshit action, but the fact of the matter is, when it was time to do something, he cowardly went to the back and let extremists run the state."

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