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Video screenshot, Politico on Twitter

The House of Representatives yesterday held its first hearings on gun violence since 2007 (or since 2011, depending on whether you count a Chicago forum that wasn't in the House chamber), and it was a chance for Congress to finally hear from activists, survivors, and relatives of those who've been sacrificed on the altar of the Holy Second Amendment. And by golly, the mean old gun-grabbing Dems didn't even look at all the times Armed Citizens prevented Barack Obama from becoming an absolute tyrant. New member of Congress Lucy McBath, a Democrat from Georgia, spoke about the 2012 murder of her son, Jordan Davis, by a Florida man who thought loud music was a reason to stand his ground. (It wasn't.)

Instead of appearing as a witness, McBath was there as a legislator, sent by the people of Georgia to do something about the slaughter. (Note: You may need to turn up your volume for this vid; remember to turn it down after!)

As Politico notes, the fact that the hearing happened at all is news.

Democrats had the conversation Wednesday that they've wanted to have since the elementary school shooting in Newtown — and the theater shooting in Aurora, the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, the nightclub shooting in Orlando, the concert shooting in Las Vegas and the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. [...]

For nearly four hours and counting, the hearing room was packed with advocates who had lost family members, friends or classmates, or had survived gun violence themselves. In all, more than a dozen Democrats spoke in favor of tighter policies, including background checks and assault weapons bans.

The hearing was formally connected to HR 8, bill that would require federal background checks for all gun sales, although Mother Jones notes the discussion wasn't limited to that bill. Perhaps the relatively open topic of the hearing was why Florida Man Matt Gaetz decided it was a dandy opportunity to explain WALL is the only way to really reduce crime in this country. This is because he is A IDIOT.


Here's Gaetz grandstanding, then being loudly protested by Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, and by Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg. Their children were shot to death last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Shame on those very rude grieving fathers for interrupting a perfectly reasonable anti-immigrant rant just because their kids were killed by a citizen.

"Manny stood up and said, 'That's a lie. That's not true,' and I yelled out that our children were killed by an American male," Guttenberg told HuffPost. "Mr. Gaetz didn't care for the truth and made an inquiry to see if we could be kicked out."

Where's their sense of perspective? While guns are involved in more than 30,000 US deaths every year (we almost broke 40K deaths in 2017; so much winning!), crimes by undocumented immigrants are what gets you on Fox News.

Once committee chair Jerrold Nadler restored order, Gaetz continued with his very important points about his cherry-picked examples of bloodthirsty killers streaming across the border (they always stream, usually in hordes), and how that's way more dangerous than guns.

The greatest driver of violence in the circumstances that I indicated was not the firearm! It was the fact that we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently --

At that, Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, broke in with a parliamentary inquiry about just how much utter bullshit is allowed in House hearings:

Is there any committee rule that prevents a member of Congress from reciting false statements in a committee hearing that are unsupported by the evidence? Are members of Congress allowed to just make things up?

And lo, there was applause. Nadler noted that members have the right to debate reality, but no, there's no absolute prohibition on fibs. After some back and forth, and a reminder from Nadler to the audience that they're supposed to stay quiet, Gaetz got his time back. He had an inquiry of his own: Pointing at Oliver and Guttenberg, he asked if the chair could please remove the mean grieving dads who keep interrupting his important diatribe about dangerous immigrants? Nadler warned the dads to simmer down or he'd remove them, but Gaetz was still pouting and pointing out they'd interrupted him three times and Nadler still hadn't sent them away. Assured that his 20 or so seconds had been restored, Gaetz proceeded to go Full Pagliacci because Cicilline didn't honor the sufferings of people harmed by immigrants, because surely they count too? Here's the whole awful mess, surely a touchstone of bad faith and logical fallacies.

While I have great personal affection for the gentleman from Rhode Island, it is deeply troubling to me, and hurtful, that as I share the experience of people who've lost sons and daughters, lost friends and neighbors, at the hands of violent illegal aliens who have illegally acquired firearms, that my colleague was somehow lying or making misrepresentations to the committee [...]

Please don't demean or diminish the pain and suffering, the humanitarian consequences, the violence, the bloodshed, that has occurred because we allow illegal aliens to come into our country, receive the veils of protection, benefit from policies of catch and release that my friends on the other side of the aisle have supported, and then come here and act like that is the great challenge of our day, to deal with gun violence. If we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border, and we would do it posthaste.

Oh, boo fucking hoo, you goddamned snowflake, fuck your hurt feelings. Yes, of course those families' grief matters. Albeit in a statistically tiny fraction of the pain felt by families of the tens of thousands killed with guns.

While there are no good statistics on how many murders might be committed annually by undocumented immigrants, but Politifact offered a very rough guess of between 200 and 600, but cautioned even that estimate is highly debatable. Yes, that's tragic and terrible. But even if the high estimate is right, maybe it's worth noting that in 2015, 2,824 children died by gunshot. Requiring guns to be kept locked up when not in use might have more effect on violence than a goddamned wall. And making guns less available would almost certainly reduce suicide rates, too.

Mr. Gaetz, we say this all due respect: Go take your bloody shirt and stuff it up your ass, you lying shit.

[Politico / HuffPo / Mother Jones / Guardian / Politifact / Children's Hospital of Philidelphia Research Institute / RAND]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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