The gears of public opinion were already spinning before we even knew the name of the gunman who carried out Wednesday’s shooting at a Congressional baseball practice. It’s almost a well-rehearsed show by now, the immediate finger-pointing, the calls to ban guns, and the calls for more guns. Generally, however, we don’t see elected officials blaming anyone other than the actual perpetrator.
But that’s exactly where Republican Chris Collins of New York’s 27th District went, almost immediately. Appearing on Buffalo’s WBEN Radio 930 AM, Collins wasted no time zeroing in on who he thought was to blame for the non-fatal incident:
I can only hope the Democrats tone down the rhetoric. The rhetoric has been outrageous, of the finger-pointing, just the tone, and the angsts, and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. I can only hope maybe there’s something here that would say, ‘tone down the rhetoric.’”
Did I just have a bite of gold-flecked caviar? Because that is fucking rich.
One of the first Democrats to even weigh in on the shooting has a little experience herself: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day.
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) June 14, 2017
Giffords, of course, was shot in 2011 by a gunman just days after appearing on Sarah Palin’s website in a graphic depicting her district in the crosshairs of a gun. That’s not just violent rhetoric, Representative Collins — that’s rhetoric from an actual elected Republican official. Moreover, the wave of hate crimes that has reached tsunami status since the election of Donald Trump seems to indicate the violence comes from a source other than the mostly anti-gun Democrats.
But Collins didn’t stop with just one unhinged radio interview. Just hours later, he appeared via telephone on WKBW News, Buffalo’s local coverage station:
— Ali Touhey (@Ali2e) June 14, 2017
I can assure you from this day forward, I have a carry permit, I will be carrying when I’m out and about, which I have to tell you I have not been even though I have a carry permit at home.”
Now that sounds like rhetoric to me.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images