House Republicans just skipped the traditional moment of silence for the Florida school massacre victims

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The U.S. House of Representatives today at the last minute canceled the traditional moment of silence after a mass murder like the one that took place yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Lakeland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, reports The Hill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan had announced that there would be a moment of silence during a press conference yesterday as has been done after other shootings.

“There are a lot of worries that come with being a parent of teenagers,” Ryan said at his weekly press event. “But this is, this is the nightmare. this is pure evil.”

The reason there was no moment of silence today was the presence of protesters in the House chamber who were there because of anger over pending legislation that would make it much more difficult for disabled people and their advocates to file lawsuits against business that violate the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

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Another reason was the absence of Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fl) who had gone home to Lakeland to be there with his constituents after the terrible mass killing.

The moment of silence has been rescheduled for Feb. 26, after the House members, return from a President’s Day recess.

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The long wait to pay honor to the victims is symbolic of the lack of urgency the Republicans who control Congress – and President Trump –  feel about the need to do something concrete about gun violence in America, no matter what touching rhetoric they spin out after a tragedy.

Democrats, who are in the minority in Congress, but in the majority of all Americans in their renewed calls for gun control reforms, tried to at least raise the issue.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Ca.) raised a “point of parliamentary inquiry” to applause from fellow Democrats to ask the presiding officer “Can you tell us when the House may muster the courage to take up the issue of gun violence?”

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Rep. Randy Hultgren of Illinois, the Republican presiding over the House, replied that “the gentleman is not stating a proper parliamentary inquiry,” and moved on to another vote.

As usual, the Republicans are saying that in the heat of the moment after a maniac with a gun kills a mass of people is not the time to discuss gun control, which in fact the NRA-backed politicians never want to address.

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So it was no surprise when at his press conference when Ryan was asked if law enforcement should be able to confiscate weapons from people who show signs of mental illness, he responded: “This is not the time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts.”

This is a game the Republicans play over and over. Delay, deny, ignore and move on, while the NRA continues to spend huge amounts to lobby Republicans to do nothing about a huge problem that multiple polls show people want to be addressed in a meaningful way.

So there is no quick moment of silence and there will be no quick action to take guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, at least, and that will not change until the voters wake up and replace these bought and paid for politicians with Democrats who will get it done.

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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