San Bernardino and the mantra of impotence

     An investigator looks at a black SUV that was involved in a police shootout with suspects, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. A heavily armed man and woman opened fire Wednesday on a holiday banquet, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    An investigator looks at a black SUV that was involved in a police shootout with suspects, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. A heavily armed man and woman opened fire Wednesday on a holiday banquet, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    As the BBC World News put it, “Just another day in the United States of America.” The feds said the weapons were purchased legally (of course they were). Fourteen people joined the ranks of the 10,000 Americans who are gun-murdered each year (more than twice the number of Americans killed in Iraq over the last 11 years). And all through the land, politicians in thrall to Second Amendment extremism tweeted the requisite mantra of impotence.

    Jeb Bush: “Praying for the victims, their families & the San Bernardino first responders…”

    Ben Carson: “My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families…”

    Chris Christie: “Praying for all those victimized…”

    Ted Cruz: “Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders…”

    Lindsey Graham: “Thoughts & prayers are with San Bernardino.”

    Mike Huckabee: “Praying for those impacted by the shooting…”

    John Kasich: “My thoughts & prayers go out to those impacted by the shooting…”

    Rand Paul: “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders…”

    Paul Ryan: “Please keep the victims…in your prayers.”

    House member Mike Bishop (R-Michigan): “Please pray for the victims and families…”

    House member Susan Brooks (R-Indiana): “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims…”

    House member Ken Buck (R-Colorado): “I’m praying for the victims in San Bernardino…”

    House member Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee): “My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the attack…”

    House member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida): “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families…”

    House member Renee Ellmers (R-North Carolina): “The San Bernardino shooting victims, their families & first responders are in my thoughts and prayers.”

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Our thoughts are with the victims & their families…”

    House member Todd Rokita (R-Indiana): “Thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their family and those responding…”

    House member Peter Roskam (R-Illinois, Benghazi committee sleuth): “Please keep San Bernardino in your thoughrs and prayers.”

    House member Ed Royce (R-California): “…my thoughts and prayers are with the people of San Bernardino…”

    House member Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana and Majority Whip): “Praying for peace for the state of California.”

    House member Steve Womack, (R-Indiana): “Praying for San Bernardino.”

    And so on. And so on. And so on. If “thoughts and prayers” could be monetized, America would be a bull market.

    I have no problem with prayer. If it helps to calm you, if it allows you to cope with the reality of 355 mass shootings in a single calendar year, then hey, go for it. My problem is that too many politicians in a certain political party, having sold their souls to the gun lobby, use prayer to mask their willful impotence.

    It’s just their way of saying: “We felt bad in our hearts about Sandy Hook and Isla Vista and the Washington Navy Yard and Santa Monica and Charleston and Roseburg and Colorado Springs and the others we’ve forgotten about, and we feel real bad now about San Bernardino — but rest assured, we don’t intend to lift a finger. So what if America’s gun homicide rate is nearly 29 times higher than in countries like Australia and Germany? We won’t enact universal background checks, we won’t lift the ban on gun research, we won’t crack down on careless gun dealers, we don’t believe in public-policy solutions, we don’t see the point of trying anything that might save a few lives. However, we do intend to feel bad about the next massacre. It’s already in our thoughts and prayers.”

    So next time, expect the same litany of tweets. Heck, it’s a wonder these pols can tweet at all, given the blood on their hands.

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

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