After a mass shooter used high-powered guns to murder at least six people in a Nashville elementary school on Monday, one Republican Tennessee congressman—a person who has the power to pass laws—says there’s really nothing he can do.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told reporters on the steps of the Capitol Monday that it was “a horrible, horrible situation,” but as lawmakers, “We’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”
His stunning defeatism and apathy continued: “My daddy fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese, and he told me…‘Buddy...if somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.’”
A reporter asked a sensible follow-up question about the role Congress could play, and he responded, “I don’t see any real role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly...like I said, I don’t think a criminal’s going to stop from [getting] guns, you know, you can print ‘em out on the computer now, 3D printing.” It’s quite hard to see how Congress passing a gun control bill could make things worse than they currently are, but I digress.
When a different reporter asked what could be done to protect people like Burchett’s own daughter, and the lawmaker responded, rather unhelpfully, that she’s homeschooled.
Homeschooling, of course, isn’t a solution to the nearly 400 million guns in the United States. Not only can many families literally not afford a stay-at-home parent, but gun violence happens at home, too. In fact, there are strong connections between domestic violence and mass shootings.
Sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom noted on Twitter that Burchett’s implied solution relies on the uncompensated labor of women, and his acknowledging that it wouldn’t work for some families is “politico speak for ‘you beta males can’t afford a homeschooling wife.’”
But beyond simply keep children away from schools, the best help Burchett could offer is the suggestion that the country needs to come to Jesus. “I don’t think you’re gonna stop the gun violence, I think you gotta change people’s hearts,” Burchett said. “As a Christian, as we talk about in the church, and I’ve said this many times, I think we really need a revival in this country.”
This is, notably, the same congressman who said of a state law banning drag performances: “Daggamit, we don’t put up with that crap in Tennessee and we shouldn’t. And the rest of the country should follow suit.” So he does believe in legislative solutions, but only for certain issues. Interesting.