But reality is grim on the education front. Today’s Republican Party is more focused on banning books from classrooms than passing gun safety measures to curb school shootings, all while its members portray themselves as protectors of America’s children.
Monday’s school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, was a clear illustration of the lunacy undergirding conservatives’ conversations about what actually constitutes danger at school. On the heels of last year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Republicans predictably tried to steer the conversation from one centered on gun violence to one scapegoating everything but guns — remember those ridiculous conversations about doors?
The GOP has doubled down on the distractions ever since, with Republican-led legislatures pushing measures that purportedly protect students from viewing drag performances, discussing social inequality and even talking about ways to cope with their feelings.
School shootings have continued (read about a few here, here and here) and the most noteworthy action to come since Uvalde was a bipartisan bill that’s largely toothless but incentivizes states to pass red flag laws that make it harder for people deemed dangerous to legally purchase guns.
Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., perfectly summarized the Republican Party’s delusion in brief remarks Monday from the House floor. He called his conservative colleagues “cowards” for refusing to challenge the ultraconservative National Rifle Association, which has fed the proliferation of guns, while just last week passing the Parents Bill of Rights Act, which would give parents authority to review, restrict and effectively ban certain parts of school curricula.
Take a step back and appreciate the national shame we ought to feel that Frost’s remarks were even necessary. A survivor of gun violence helped lead an advocacy group with fellow survivors and then ran for Congress to pass gun safety laws because federal officials refused to do so. Now he’s pleading with some of these same officials not to let his horrifying experience befall more Americans.
And if past is prologue, they will do just that.
Read Frost’s remarks and check out a clip of his speech below.
I rise today because I am furious. Angry that three kids died today in Nashville, Tennessee. Angry that hundreds of parents had to cry their eyes out today not knowing if their child would come home from school. And angry that we have to live day after day when we turn on the news to see rampant gun violence claiming life after life. And all of this is because politicians in this chamber that have been bought and paid for by the NRA, that put profits over people, over human lives. Cowards who wasted our time last week passing a ‘parental bill of rights,’ not giving a damn about the rights of children to be able to go to their classroom without the fear of being gunned down due to senseless gun violence. It is likely that at this moment, the next mass shooter is planning their shooting. What will this chamber do about it? I filed my last bill last week to simply create a federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Three kids are dead today, and every day that we wait, a hundred more people die. I pray to God that there are some Republicans in this chamber that can help support my legislation to save lives.
CORRECTION (March 28, 2023, 4:53 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the Florida shooting that Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., survived. It was a 2016 shooting in downtown Orlando, not the 2018 school shooting in Parkland.