Josh Marshall wrote this a few hours after the Uvalde shooting, and, regrettably, he's right:
The inability of the U.S. to do literally anything about the scourge of mass shootings is itself one of their greatest draws, the magnetic heart of their attraction. Mass shootings are fundamentally about losers, rage and the draw of total power. For a few minutes a school shooter holds the power of life and death. That power speaks for itself. But that’s only part of it. Nothing reinforces the power of the gun like the way a whole country remains in thrall to them. The gun — and all the fetishes and cultural baggage surrounding them — is the one totally unassailable, unchallengeable thing in American society.
It doesn’t matter how many kids get shot or what new turn of perversion is added to the stale choreography of the latest mass school shooting: Literally nothing happens. That is power.
... That power is so total it’s no surprise that angry losers flock to become part of it.
Right -- given the way our politics are structured, it's impossible to enact any reforms that could prevent the next massacre, so every potential mass murderer knows he really will leave us flailing and powerless.
But I don't think mass murderers are the only ones who revel in that sense of absolute power. Look at the GOP:
In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey unpacked lipstick, an iPhone and something else from her purse in one campaign advertisement — “a little Smith & Wesson .38,” she said....
In Nevada, an ad for former Senator Dean Heller, now a Republican candidate for governor, bragged about his wife’s shooting skills. And in North Carolina, a spot for Representative Ted Budd, a Republican Senate candidate, boasted that he owned a gun range.
... more than 100 television ads from Republican candidates and supportive groups have used guns as talking points or visual motifs this year.
... Republican primary candidates are often competing to show how conservative they are in a polarized landscape ever more defined by white-hot cultural battles. And guns are an easy visual shorthand.
“You basically have Republican primary candidates trying to explain to Republican primary voters that they are going to be on their side when it comes to the cultural cold civil war that’s being fought right now,” said Robert Blizzard, a Republican strategist.
It's a signal to fellow Republicans, but it's also a way of taunting liberals -- Yeah? What are you gonna do about it? The ad shown above, from Brian Kemp's previous gubernatorial campaign, is a good example. It's just a series of taunts, on guns and other issues.
The message is: Liberals think they run the country, but they can't stop me. And on guns, at least, we can't. On several other issues as well, of course -- abortion, taxes, the minimum wage, voting rights....
The ability to leave large groups of people powerless is intoxicating -- for mass shooters and Republicans.
Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog.