There really isn’t any low that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal won’t stoop to in order to somehow rise above 1% in the Fox News primary polling. This is a guy who spends as little time in the state as possible, and has done so for the last couple of years as he makes trip after to trip to Iowa in an attempt to win over the fringe elements of the Republican Party. When he’s not courting evangelical Christian home-schoolers, Duggar fans, homophobes, gun fanatics and the few people left who still give a damn about Duck Dynasty, Bobby Jindal is on any conservative media channel that will give him a couple of minutes in front of a microphone.
A couple of days ago, a domestic terrorist shot up a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. This was an attack motivated by race and this suspect, who should have never had a gun, confessed to this crime while admitting that his attack was indeed about race and segregation. President Obama then reiterated what many of us have been thinking and saying for years, that we have a serious issue with gun violence that needs to be addressed.
Of course, Republicans were quick to rush to the defense of guns and say, as usual, that this isn’t the time to talk about the problem we face. Bobby Jindal went on Fox News Thursday morning and blasted President Obama for pointing out the obvious, that it was too easy for the shooter to get access to a gun.
“I think it was completely shameful, within 24 hours of this awful tragedy, nine people killed in a Bible study in a church,” Jindal said. “Within 24 hours, we’ve got the president trying to score cheap political points. Let him have this debate next week. His job as commander in chief to help the country begin the healing process.” (Source)
Bobby Jindal then went on to blame mental health issues and stated that in Louisiana, he made it easier to access mental health records, as if this was the real issue. He also claimed that a lack of God was a problem, and that gun violence happens in other countries, not just here in the United States.
There are problems with Bobby Jindal’s claims, and now it’s time to dissect them with some facts. To begin with, yes, mass shootings do happen in other countries. Norway, France and other nations have seen acts of gun violence, but those incidents are rare, not the norm. Here in the United States, they happen on a regular basis and every time someone mows down a bunch of kids in an elementary school or shoots up a Bible study, gun fanatics rush to blame mental illness and talk about how we shouldn’t blame the easy access to guns. They’ll also try to ignore or whitewash the fact that some of these shootings, like the recent one in Charleston or the one last year at a Jewish community center in Kansas City, were perpetrated by people who hate minorities – especially since many of these gun apologists are blatant racists themselves.
Politicians like Bobby Jindal will run to Fox News and blast anyone who dares to suggest that the United States has a gun problem. Part of his shameless argument was that we are a country that needs a “spiritual revival” and that he had just attended a prayer rally called The Response in South Carolina. When a school shooting happens, religious conservatives also like to say that it is because America has kicked Jesus out of the classroom, but if it is a lack of Jesus that causes shootings, then why were nine people killed in a Christian church where they were praying?
If it is a lack of religion that is to blame for gun violence in the United States, then why does Louisiana, the state Bobby Jindal governs, have the highest murder rate and deaths by guns in the entire country? Yes, you heard that right. Louisiana is a very religious and conservative state, and it’s the murder capital of the United States. Louisiana has a rate almost 50% higher than the runner-up Mississippi, followed by Alabama, which is also an extremely religious state. All of these states also have extremely lax gun laws; for example, here in Louisiana, you can walk around nearly anywhere you want with a handgun openly displayed, without a permit of any kind. Just this morning, I saw a guy with one strapped on his hip in Starbucks, and it’s not uncommon to see a couple of guys in Winn-Dixie or Albertsons doing the same thing. In case you’re wondering, every person I’ve ever seen openly carry a weapon in Louisiana that wasn’t a law enforcement officer, they were white.
Bobby Jindal and other people who want to claim that mental health problems or a lack of religion are to blame for America’s gun violence problem are wrong. They know that there is still a serious issue with racism in this country and that more guns aren’t the answer – they just don’t care.
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