I want to share a brief story in light of the school shooting that happened today in Florida. This is from several years ago. Long enough, in fact, and in a horrible enough situation that I can't honestly remember which school shooting it was directly after.
In my mind, it was after Sandy Hook. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. Enough of these fucking things have happened that it doesn't matter much, outside of timeline. I was on one of those calls Dean Heller does with constituents. As a registered Republican, I tend to get those calls from my dimwitted senator on occasion. After Sandy Hook, when we all thought that there was no way we could continue as a nation without implementing some sort of reasonable laws that might reduce the number of guns that are accessible to, say, everyone (meaning those who definitely shouldn't have them at least have fewer of them), I was on one of those calls.
I always loved those calls. I put the phone on speaker and made dinner, generally. I never had occasion to ask questions. It was mostly entertaining to listen to the cranks who wanted Senator Heller to help them get the city to remove broken down cars from their neighbors' yards, etc. But on this call I was pissed. I knew that there wasn't much I'd hear from Heller about any sort of gun control at all. If I asked, he'd deflect and play to the deranged base. But I pushed the button to ask anyway. Maybe I'd at least have confirmation that he had no plans to act upon behalf of Nevadans and the American people to stem this public health crisis. That would satisfy me, because I'd know that I had cast the last vote I ever would for him.
I waited. I listened to some caller perform what I had learned over the years to be a great propaganda trick on these sham calls. He mentioned how the Mexican army was coming into America for some reason (I think drug cartels), went on for about a minute about how Obama didn't care about protecting the United States because he allowed this and didn't invade, then asked what Heller planned to do about Obamacare. Heller, of course happy to allow the absolute bullshit this man had read on some fucking nonsense news site to go unchecked, answered only that he planned to fight his ass off to repeal Obamacare (another position that makes him a disaster masquerading as someone with a brain). The Mexican army thing was just left out there unchallenged by someone who knew that it was absolutely nonsense. It was a disgrace.
Anyway, I waited anxiously to get my very first shot at asking a question. Over an hour passed, and the call ended. I didn't get to ask anything, but I was sent to a voicemail inbox. I was told I could press 1 or something to ask a question. If I did, I would get a response from Senator Heller (please, the whole point of the calls is to avoid facing the public) or his staff. I pressed 1.
I asked Heller what it would take to get him to support any legislation at all that might do something--anything--to prevent the type of shooting that had happened (again, I'm pretty sure, but does it really matter?) at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I mentioned that there had been too many before the Sandy Hook one, and that he already should have taken action, but that surely this one would be the catalyst that got him moving. He couldn't possibly ignore it. Heck, maybe he could even introduce legislation that showed he cared even a little bit about this issue. I was angry, a bit upset that I hadn't gotten to ask the question live, and frustrated by the asinine questions he was asked during the call.
I mostly forgot about the call in the days, weeks, and months that followed. But after about a year or so, I realized that I hadn't gotten any of those calls in a while. They normally happened every few months. But it had been way longer than that. I laughed to myself that I probably had been blacklisted.
Then it was two years.
Then it was five years.
Then it was 2017, and I finally got one again. And that call was a doozy. Heller was dragged from every direction. Sure, about every other question was from an Ethel from northwest Reno or Herman from Sparks wondering how we can get punk kids from skateboarding in the parks. But the rest of those questions came from people who were pissed. They were pissed that Dean Heller supported racist policies, still insisted that Obamacare be repealed (clearly his signature issue, because he's dumb), and was basically willing to rubber stamp anything that Donald Trump, the losingest winner of the presidency ever, wanted to get done.
The whole call was cathartic. It was great to see Heller get called out by what I can only assume was a shitload of Republican constituents (I assume this because only I get the calls, not Christy, who is a registered Democrat). But he didn't ever answer a question about actually pursuing reasonable, responsible gun control. Nope. It wasn't directly in the news at the time, so he could deflect and get back to talking points about Obamacare and tax cuts without having to hear the cacophony of boos that would have pelted him during an in-person town hall instead of this phone bullshit that he controlled.
The man is a coward.
So, consider the shooting today. Dean Heller, who takes money from the fucking gun lobby (and holy cow, read this, "the details of the bill"), after skirting real questions from real constituents about how he might be able to do something to stem the flow of guns onto the street, tweets this horeshit:
Fuck off, Senator Heller. You've had your chance to make something right about this. You could have supported small efforts to curb the amount of violence that can happen with a gun in someone's hand, but you have actively chosen to neglect that duty. Instead, you let Dennis from Spanish Springs go on about the Mexican army operating freely in Texas and said nothing.
You deserve zero votes when November rolls around. Zero. But, sadly, you wear a bolo tie and jeans, so it'll be a real race in this state.
In the meantime, my wife and both kids have signed up to volunteer for Jacky Rosen. I'm not far behind.
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