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Tom Reed: Profile In Cowardice

It was only two short weeks ago that Dayton and El Paso suffered horrific back-to-back mass shootings. For a second there, we thought this tragedy might finally stir Congress into taking some action to address the gun violence-slash-mental health epidemic in this country. Sadly, we were given the same run around we get every time.

To tackle the issue of guns in our streets combined with angry violent rhetoric inspired by the president will require a heavy dose of political courage; a trait Mr. Reed and his empty-suited colleagues lack. If you did not know any better you’d be forgiven for thinking they don’t really care about the thousands of people who die from gun violence each year, or mental health.

The president’s flunkies and the gun manufacturers’ toadies use the same playbook after every one of these highly publicized mass tragedies–to great success unfortunately. First, they talk vaguely about mental healthcare despite voting dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act which provides access to mental health services. Then, Mr. Reed and the others smugly disparage citizens who suffer from mental illnesses. Nearly 50 percent of Americans will suffer from one in their lifetime and none of them will commit a mass shooting. They know the issue has more to do with easy access to guns but that would be more politically risky to address, you see. It might provoke a call from Dear Leader Trump or an angry lobbyist.

They will recite these few talking points until the clock has run out and the news have moved on to another topic. Nothing will get accomplished and we will inevitably experience another one of these shootings before long. Lather, rinse, repeat.

These Congressmen deserve a lot of credit for their deceptive skill. They can speak forever without ever actually saying anything. They will retain their seats in Congress without ever actually changing anything.

They’ll continue to strut around, pounding their fist over potholes, giving the appearance to constituents they actually care about the issues facing our country (of which gun violence is probably foremost.) They’ll retire happily to a cushy lobbying job and be forever remembered as Congressman x. Despite never accomplishing a damn thing.

Derek Smith is a Frewsburg native.

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