House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 10, 2017.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

GOP rep connects school shootings, access to pornography

In the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, opponents of gun reforms came up with quite a few culprits to blame for the bloodshed. None of them, of course, included easy access to firearms.

The public should blame the number of doors at the school, for example. And abortion. And video games. And Ritalin, secularism, Common Core, and trench coats.

And while some of this was expected – the right consistently tries to steer public discussions away from guns after mass shootings – Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) broke new ground when she tried to connect school shootings and porn. The HuffPost reported yesterday:

During a meeting last week with local pastors, Black raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening. “Pornography,” she said.

“It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there,” she continued. “All of this is available without parental guidance. I think that is a big part of the root cause.”

While that quote may seem hard to believe, the report included an audio clip of her comments.

Her argument raised a variety of questions, though I’m inclined to start with this one: where exactly is Diane Black buying her groceries?

All joking aside, there’s no evidence to suggest the massacre in Santa Fe had anything to do with pornography, and social scientists haven’t made any effort to warn policymakers about a correlation between porn and mass shootings in schools.

What’s more, Black, a leading Republican gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee this year, didn’t explain why she thought the two were in any way connected.

In fairness to the congresswoman, she also pointed to a series of other cultural issues – including violence in popular culture and the “deterioration of the family” – when assigning blame for school shootings, so her case was not limited exclusively to pornography.

Black did not, however, blame guns.