As details emerge about the mass shooting in Las Vegas and its perpetrator — like alleged ISIS ties that officials say don't exist and a death toll that has now reached 58 — reactions to yet another deadly attack by an American on U.S. soil are running the gamut.
Fans of the Second Amendment are bemoaning gun control advocates' assertions that it is not too soon to talk about gun control (hey, Australia did it, and guess which country doesn't have near-weekly incidences of literal toddlers literally shooting people?).
Pledging of "thoughts and prayers" and jokes about the futility of pledging of thoughts and prayers ensued.
Well, at least the gun manufacturers are having a good day...their sales had dropped since a certain Tuesday last November.
Here in Florida, which had held the record for largest death toll since the Pulse nightclub shooting led to the senseless deaths of 49 and the shooter in June of 2016, reactions to the horror were just as mixed.
State Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat whose Orlando district includes the Pulse site, said to not act is to basically ensure future massacres.
“Just one year ago, it was the people in my district, and the people of Florida, who bore witness to the Pulse nightclub massacre, and what was then the worst mass shooting in American history. Last night’s horror set a new standard, testament to the sheer evil unleashed by one man armed with multiple high caliber automatic weapons, intent on provoking death and injury to so many," she said in an emailed statement. “I have no doubt that the hand-wringing will quickly follow. As will the many offers of thoughts and prayers. But what we will not see, and what we will still await, is any kind of meaningful action from our national and state leaders to stem this bloodshed once and for all. Undoubtedly, some will criticize speaking of curbing gun violence so quickly after these killings. To them I say, if not now, when? How high does the body count have to climb before we finally act?"
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa, said she was "shocked and saddened" and that there's no reason lawmakers can't come together to pass laws that could prevent such mass killings without making it impossible for eligible Americans to buy guns.
“Day in and day out, too many American families suffer the consequences of our country’s gun violence epidemic," she said in a statement. "Certainly, we can come together to pass common sense safety requirements such as background checks and limits on civilian use of military-style weapons, and to enforce the laws on the books. The sorrow that I and so many around the country feel for the innocent men and women whose lives were cruelly cut short by this heartless act of domestic terrorism is immeasurable. We will never allow these acts of terror to control us – but after so many lives lost around our country for so long by public acts of gun violence, we must ask ourselves why this is allowed to continue. We owe it to the victims of these horrible acts of gun violence to take steps that will ensure more innocent lives are not lost to future tragedies.”
Governor Rick Scott, a staunch Republican who signed a bill that forced cities and counties to allow guns on public property, including in parks, told reporters on Monday he was reminded of his interactions with inconsolable families in the wake of Pulse, but did not speak to possible measures that could have prevented such a shooting.
U.S. Sen. from Florida Marco Rubio, a Republican with a B+ rating from the NRA, said we don't know enough about the shooter to come to any conclusions, but it appears the gun control advocates' proposed policy changes might not have prevented massacres like Sunday night's.
"We’ll learn more in the days to come, and if there’s public policy that could have prevented an attack like that, then we most certainly would consider it. The problem with many of the recommendations I’ve heard in the past is that frankly they would not have prevented any of the attacks," he said, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.