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La-la-la we can't hear you: GOP response to children dying each day. Twitter photo

WTF GOP: Party of Ghouls Dodges Sick Fact of Kids Being Buried In Superman Coffins

Abby Zimet

In the clusterfuck of stupid, cruel, self-serving and homicidal that is their steadfast obstructionism even post-Uvalde, the GOP continues to blame doors, schools, fences, videos, godlessness, raccoons, hippies, moral rot and mental illness for the gun violence that after last year's staggering surge of 30% has become the leading cause of death for young people, with over 653 killed so far this year, or about four too-brief lives lost a day. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee met to consider a modest package of gun control laws that at least 80% of Americans support - and the Grim Reaper's Senate will probably kill - with basics like robust background checks and upping the age from 18 to 21 (like beer!) to buy the murderous assault rifles now ravaging the country. Lamely arguing gun laws won't work but it's too bad about all those small, mutilated, brown-skinned-not-that-we-noticed bodies of other people's children, they offered their own lunatic insights: This never happened in the 1960s, we need AR-15s to protect chickens from raccoons, and from literacy-challenged pedophile Matt Gaetz, it is "reflexive" to do anything right now. Topping them was Florida Rep. Greg Steube, who feverishly waved around his own arsenal of guns on Zoom while bitching about those he'd have to modify under the new rules just to save some stupid kids. When one colleague expressed alarm at the lurid display, he snarled, "I can do whatever I want with my own guns," which made us feel way better about the famously reasonable mindset of legal gun owners. 

In moving, heartening contrast, California Rep. Eric Swalwell called furious bullshit: "My Republican colleagues are here for carnival games." Swalwell excoriated the GOP's shameless, longstanding, often flamboyant hypocrisy, their only hallmark trait. "They say it's about mental health. We try and fund mental health, they vote against it," he said. "They say it's about schools. We try and fund the schools, they vote against it. They say it's about policing..." And they say laws don't work, he added grimly, "except when they're about controlling women's bodies." Then Swalwell got to the brutal, bloody, bottom line. "Dead kids are going into the ground today," he said. "19 kids are dead, and so to my Republican colleagues I ask, who are you here for? Are you here for our kids? Or are you here for the killers?" Turning to feckless yahoo Gym Jordan - who was pointedly chatting over Swalwell but earlier charged Dems who seek to save children's lives want to "dramatically change the country" - Swalwell retorted, "If trying to make sure no more kids are put in the ground with a Superman coffin means 'dramatically change the country' - guilty." Finally, Swalwell recalled a wrenching conversation he'd just had with a member of the gun-reform group Moms Demand Action; she described a volunteer whose six-year-old daughter, seeing the coverage, images, victim montages from Uvalde, asked, "Mom, what picture are you going to use for me?" "What picture are you going to use for me?" repeated Swalwell in pained wonder. "That's what children are asking their parents across America."

In the face of that and ever more madness - 33 mass shootings since Uvalde - a rabid right-wing continues to spew, rant, divert. As the willfully blind Fox News suggests 50 demented, non-gun-related solutions - trip wires! ballistic blankets! - to end the bloodshed, Tucker shrieks the goal of gun control is "to disarm people who did not vote for Joe Biden" in an imminent popular uprising. Says another Fox host, without irony, of Biden's call to end the carnage, "That really is an impeachable offense to talk this way against something so foundational to the country." "They're coming after us right now!" howls the American Firearms Association, urging gun fetishists to "prepare for battle" amidst debates in Congress bound to draw "thousands of Bloomberg-funded, red-shirt radical, commie mommies all over the Capitol." Still, for many Americans, neither pols not activists, the horror at Ulvade continues to afflict, resonate and galvanize. Athletes and coaches, including the great Steve Kerr, are speaking up. Local artists are undertaking projects serving as both tribute and discomfiting reminder that, "This is a real thing that happened to real children." And a father/son casket-making duo labored for days to create 19 achingly small, cheerfully kid-themed, deeply incongruous coffins for the victims - Scooby-Doo, Superman, dinosaurs, trucks, Tik Tok, Batman - in hopes of "making these lives matter."

Joining the chorus was actor and gun-owner Matthew McConaughey, an Uvalde native whose mother taught kindergarten near Robb Elementary. In a heartfelt speech from the White House, McConaughey called for "reasonable, practical, tactical regulations," and described fraught meetings with Uvalde parents whose "common thread," apart from anger and sadness, was "to honor these deaths by keeping (their) dreams alive." Wincing, he pointed out a pair of green sneakers, held by his wife Camila, like those worn by 10-year-old Maite Rodriquez when she was killed. Bodies were so mutilated by AR-15 exit wounds, he noted, "only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them. Many children were left not only dead, but hollow." Others, including Uvalde survivors and witnesses, continue to offer harrowing testimony. Arnulfo Reyes, a teacher who was shot twice and saw all 11 kids in his room killed, tearfully recounted one child yelling from under his desk, “Officer, we are in here!”; the gunman walked over and shot him dead. Reyes called the police "cowards," said, "No training gets you ready for this - we set them up to be like ducks," and vowed, “I will go anywhere, to the end of the world, to not let my students die in vain.” At ongoing hearings Wednesday, 11-year-old survivor Miah Cerrillo described smearing herself with the blood of her friend to play dead; her father Miguel said she's "not doing that good." And Uvalde's only pediatrician Dr. Roy Guerrero recalled racing to the hospital to "find something no prayer will ever relieve": Two children, their bodies pulverized, decapitated, ripped apart, "the only clue to their identities blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them. Clinging for life, and finding none." Let the ungodly ghouls see them.

"I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life," said a weeping Kimberly Rubio, mother of Lexi, shot and killed. "Somewhere out there, there's a mom listening to our testimony thinking, 'I can't even imagine their pain.' Not knowing that our reality will one day be hers unless we act now."


Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: azimet18@gmail.com

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