On Sunday, August 4, Matt Gaetz, the 37-year-old lawyer who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district tweeted the following:
“As horrible news comes in from today’s shooting in Texas, it is hard to imagine why anyone would resort to such senseless violence. Americans should not have to fear that schools, malls, concerts and regular outings are unsafe. It is a deeply sad day.”
To which one can only say: enough. Please stop the faux bewilderment. Please cease the faux consternation.
America needs no more caterwauling.
America needs no more hypocrisy.
America needs character and commitment in its politicians.
Mr Gaetz is a Republican and his tweet was in line with the faux sympathy, the synthetic “thoughts and prayers” expressed by his party leader, Donald Trump, and other prominent Republicans.
Along with many of his fellow Republicans, Mr Gaetz is against background checks for gun-buyers. He doesn’t want a ban on assault rifles. And he has reportedly said that immigrants kill more people than guns in the US, which incidentally is a grotesque and dangerous lie.
It’s of a piece with Mr Trump’s constant use of his office to spew hatred about Hispanics, immigrants, Muslims and people of colour. And it’s in line with Mr Trump’s repeated declaration that gun control is a violation of American rights and liberties.
That someone in El Paso or anywhere else in America would put those two dangerous things together – racial hatred and a loaded gun – is tragic and unsurprising. It’s not “senseless”, as Mr Gaetz said in his tweet. It makes dangerously good sense. And that is America’s tragedy.