It turns out Senator John Thune does have more than useless thoughts and prayers for victims of the Las Vegas shootings. He also has tactical advice for Americans caught in future hails of gunfire at schools and country music festivals:
It sounds like he used conversion kits and other things, you know, to make these weapons more lethal. Like I said, we’ll look at the facts when we get them all in here. I think that all of us want to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like that from happening again. You know, it’s an open society. And when somebody does what he wants to do, it’s going to be hard to prevent anything. But I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions to protect themselves and in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said: get small [Senator John Thune to NBC reporter Hallie Jackson, as transcribed and Tweeted by producer Frank Thorp, 2017.10.03].
Rebecca Schoenkopf of Wonkette wonders if handsome John’s advice will work for folks trying to avoid armor-piercing bullets, on which pending Republican legislation would ease restrictions.
We South Dakotans are supposed to be loads smarter about guns than those silly city slickers, but Gary Legum of the Independent Journal Review explains quite seriously that Thune sounds tactically clueless about the Las Vegas shooting:
Stephen Paddock was shooting at a crowd of people from more than 500 yards away and 32 stories up. It would be hard for anyone to present a smaller target, even if he was using sniper scopes.
Paddock was shooting into a crowd of 22,000 people packed closely together, with guns that may have been converted to fully automatic. In those circumstances, just bullets ricocheting off the ground will have a good chance of striking someone — even if they curl up into a ball on the ground to present a smaller target [Gary Legum, “Republican Senator Has Worst Solution Ever to Mass Shootings,” Independent Journal Review, 2017.10.03].
Salon‘s Charlie May points out that Thune’s “open society” shrug at the notion that he could use his power to “prevent anything” doesn’t sound like the tough can-do talk he uses in response to terrorism:
But it’s not as if Thune has failed to act on issues regarding homeland security. On his website, Thune makes it clear that he is more than willing to stand up to terrorism — so long as it stems from an international organization.
“The attacks of September 11, 2001, forced us to change the way we think about national security and how we protect our country here at home. Unfortunately, there have been numerous reminders in the United States and abroad that the threat of another terrorist attack is still very real,” the website reads.
He also pledges to “strive to make sure our armed forces and law enforcement officials are provided with the tools they need,” but only when fighting the war on terror.
“As long as there are forces in this world who oppose the democratic ideals on which our country was founded, we must remain vigilant as a nation in striving to preserve liberty and stand up to aggression,” the website reads. Apparently those principles don’t apply to those who fall victim to random, senseless acts of gun violence at the hands of someone who doesn’t fit Thune’s vision of a “terrorist” [Charlie May, “GOP Senator John Thune to Shooting Victims: To Survive, ‘Get small’,” Salon, 2017.10.03].
If death and destruction gives Thune the chance to stand with the troops and deficit-spend on guns and bombs, he’s all about big-government solutions. But when a red-blooded American man uses his legal rights to buy guns and ammo to wreak murder and mayhem, well, golly gee, you can’t fight fate, so duck and cover.
Mike Henriksen pre-empted Thune’s feigned helplessness quite aptly this morning:
Senator Thune is promising to respond to Las Vegas the same way he responded to Orlando, San Bernadino, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Chattanooga, Charleston, Isla Vista, Fort Hood, the Washington Navy Yard, Newtown, Brookfield, Minneapolis, Oak Creek, Aurora, Oakland, Seal Beach, and Tuscon—by doing nothing. One of the most powerful politicians in the country says that when it comes to avoiding gun violence, you’re on your own.