On Wednesday, Milwaukee became the site of the latest mass shooting. Anthony Ferrill, a 51 year old electrician and long time employee at the Molson Coors brewery chose to bring two handguns - one equipped with a silencer - to his job site. He shot and killed five coworkers before turning one of the handguns on himself, committing suicide.
Authorities have not given an official motive, but it is known that Ferrill was a gun nut and was often seen going around the neighborhood carrying a gun. We also know that Ferrill had an ongoing dispute with one of the victims and felt that he was being discriminated against due to being African American. It also appeared that he had a dysfunctional thought process:
About a year ago, the co-worker said, Ferrill started saying he believed brewery workers were coming into his home, bugging his computer and moving chairs around.
"I was: 'Are you serious, Anthony? What?' We all kind of joked about it, saying we should maybe get him an aluminum hat. Things just started getting weird. But he was dead serious about it," the co-worker said.
The usual suspects on the right have started their normal litany of excuses including that Ferrill was evil, that it wasn't the right time to discuss guns, etc.
However, those are mere excuses to distract from the fact that Republicans have been willfully refusing to take any action to pass even the most common sense gun laws. Mitch McConnell has been sitting on such a bill for over a year now.
Likewise, Wisconsin Republicans, under the thrall of the NRA, have been even worse. They have systematically dismantled almost all the gun laws in the state. Not coincidentally, Wednesday's shooting was the eleventh mass shooting in the state since 2004.
But there's more. There's always more.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had called the legislation to a special session to pass two common sense gun laws - one to stop the loophole in background checks and a red flag law. In a poll, more than 80% of Wisconsinites supported these two bills.
Not only did the Republicans refuse to have an honest debate about these laws, but State Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, went beyond the pale to avoid any such debate, much less pass these two laws:
But it wasn’t until 8 p.m., after most of the activists had gone home, that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, called the session to order with no other lawmakers in the room. He adjourned the session a few seconds later, avoiding debate or a vote on the gun control measures Democratic lawmakers had been advocating for throughout the day.
“I think if there are bills that would make sense to Republican legislators, that we would call ourselves into regular session or extraordinary session to take those up,” Fitzgerald said. “I think the governor knows the bills that he’s offered are not going to pass the Legislature … As they’ve been presented by the governor, there’s no momentum for them.”
You can almost see the NRA's hand sticking up his backside.
On Wednesday morning, Evers again implored the state legislature to review and reconsider the bills. About an hour before the shooting occurred, Fitzgerald again absolutely refused to even entertain the idea:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, early Wednesday afternoon made clear that the state's gun laws would not change under a Republican-controlled Legislature despite a call for a review from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
"We’re going to have that discussion about the Second Amendment forever," Fitzgerald told reporters in Franklin, about an hour before the shooting at the Molson Coors brewery. "A lot of the provisions that are in place already, people are satisfied with."
His comments came just after Evers again called on lawmakers to take up legislation aimed at keeping guns away from people who are dangerous, underscoring the deep divide between Evers, Democrats and Republicans on the issue of gun restrictions.
It should be noted that while most politicians on both sides of the aisle only offered the perfunctory thoughts and prayers, one politician showed that he truly gets it and has the courage to say it as it is. Shortly after the shooting, State Representative Jonathan Brostoff issued a statement that read in part:
“But in times like this, thoughts and prayers are not - and never have been - enough. In the past 16 years, Wisconsin communities have suffered ten mass shootings, and countless other fatal and near-fatal incidents involving firearms. Time and again, public opinion polling shows that Wisconsinites are in favor of common sense gun reform legislation. We have committed community groups like Moms Demand Action and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort who have organized their communities and continue to keep these issues at the forefront. We have a governor who specifically called a special session of the Legislature this session in order to address gun violence. And yet, time and again, bought-and-paid-for Republican politicians in this state do everything they possibly can to block simple and popular reform measures from making their way through the political process, all while more and more Wisconsinites die as a direct result of their antipathy and inaction. So today, I have one question for any politician who continues to block these life-saving reforms: how many NRA dollars are Wisconsin lives worth?”
It should also be noted that Fitzgerald is running for Congress, to replace the retiring James Sensenbrenner, which goes a long way to explain why he is so ready to bend over backwards for those NRA