While President Donald Trump was ripped by critics for predictably announcing that the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas on Sunday that left 26 people dead does not represent a "guns situation," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was receiving widespread applause for speaking with impassioned frustration about the failure of U.S. lawmakers to address the "epidemic" of gun violence and murder that has gripped the nation in recent decades.
"None of this is inevitable," Murphy said Sunday in a statement that soon went viral. "I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate."
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) November 5, 2017
Meanwhile, Trump took the opposite approach on the subject, blaming the violence on the "mental health" of the gunman and suggesting it was too early to talk about gun violence as a political issue. As many noted, Trump himself signed an order earlier this year revoking a measure that specifically sought to make it harder for those with mental health issues to get a gun.
"We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn't a guns situation," Trump said during an overseas press conference in Japan on Monday. "We could go into it but it's a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldn't have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse."
“2nd Amendment Win as Good Guy With A Gun Keeps Mass Murder Down to a Reasonable 27 Dead”#SutherlandSprings
— ChristianChristensen (@ChrChristensen) November 6, 2017
Murphy, also rejected Trump's essential argument—familiar in pro-gun and right-wing circles—that "a good guy with a gun" is the best answer to "a bad guy with a guy":
Let's be clear - nobody "stopped" this shooting. 26 people, including little kids, are dead in one of our country's worst mass killings. https://t.co/MP2ZxrUEoo
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— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 6, 2017
Read Murphy's in full statement below:
"The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It's a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today's shooting in Texas. My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.
"None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.
"As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.
"My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."