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Sat, May

Why Are We Even Talking About Guns? Dr. Gaetz Will See You Now

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SAY WHAT? - In a stunning display of stupid merged with hateful, Matt Gaetz, aka "Dr. Rapey McForehead," the creepy MAGA carnival barker who barely evaded charges of sex trafficking minors so he can now focus on repeatedly voting against mental health support and other programs to help children, just had the "courage" to argue the carnage of our school shootings is the regrettable result of godless kids on medication - who also, just sayin', should be kept separate from "normal" kids. And what guns? 

Gaetz aired his "argument" on neo-Nazi Steve Bannon's War Room podcast, though we still don't understand why Bannon isn't in jail for his countless crimes against democracy, human decency, financial accountability and fashion. After slamming Tennessee's GOP Gov. Bill Lee for his "collapse" on gun reform - in the wake of the Nashville bloodshed, Lee actually moved to slightly tighten background checks and red flag laws - Bannon praised Gaetz for asserting that America's more than 400 million guns have nothing to do with this year's 146 mass shootings to date, including the Covenant School shooting that killed 6 people, three of them children. "You've had the courage to come out (and) say, 'Why are we even talking about guns?'" said Bannon. "There's a deeper issue here about big Pharma and the radicalization of the mental health profession." Gaetz, famed for evidently prowling high schools looking for dates but sure it's Dems who are pedo-groomers, fervidly chimed in about a "world where the biggest pill mill is the school nurse's office." Meanwhile, Bannon proffered helpful asides: Gaetz: "So you have a kid who's a little wired up..." Bannon, smirking: "It's called being a boy."

Blasting big Pharma - fine if you offer a lucid accounting of its ruthless lies, deep corruption and obscene profits - Gaetz argued his generation was "the first that started getting chemically addicted to these mind-altering substances." LOL: Talk to a hippie. Then he plunged into his word salad of a theory: Pharma has "figured out they could monetize adolescence" but meanwhile "we've gotten away from the things God has given us, like nature, camaraderie, patriotism, public service" and "now we see this violence erupt at schools (which are) the place of trauma" and "instead of dealing with that trauma by growing up and learning sometimes you get scrapes and bumps and you have to work through these challenges in the absence of some sort of chemical ailment," "you see more and more people returning to their place of trauma to do violence on others." Wait, what? So troubled kids are in a place of trauma where they get medication to help them but then after they take their meds they go back to school to slaughter their classmates because....they got help? Also, let's do segregation! "The parents who reject (those medications) shouldn’t have their kids in school with the most doped-up generation in all of human history."

This dazzling scrap of Socratic reasoning and parental wisdom comes from a pill-popping, NRA-funded “party boy" who was investigated for trafficking a 17-year-old girl across state lines for sex at coke-and-ecstasy-fueled parties, paying her with cash and drugs, and charges from sexual misconduct to violating finance laws by using campaign donations to pay soaring fees to his lawyers, who also represented Jeffrey Epstein and El Chapo; who was arrested on a DUI but mocked Hunter Biden for the same offense; who is "childless" but has a live-in,  newly revealed 19-year-old Cuban "son" Nestor who "is my life" and he "adopted" though there's no paperwork and Nestor has a present, biological father; who tried to eject two parents of Parkland victims from a hearing on gun violence, mocked and posted photos of a political opponent's autistic son, vowed to raise "4,000 shock troops" to take over government once Trump wins in 2024. He also scored an "F" from the Children's Defense Fund for 29 votes "against the interests of children," including votes against background checks, multiple mental health initiatives, an assault rifle ban, an Improving the Health of Children Act, a Protecting Our Kids Act, and re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

In his performative outrage, thus does Gaetz, a man "absolutely repulsive in every way humanly possible," represent the malignant essence of the GOP - "Gaslight, Obstruct, Project" - when it comes to acknowledging, never mind ameliorating, our epidemic of gun violence, turning instead to the age-old, right-wing strategy of scapegoating a vulnerable population while mumbling banal maxims. Meme: "Guns aren't the problem - people are the problem. So why do you want the problem to have guns?" And on discriminating against people with disabilities: "I think I've heard this one before." In stark, useful contrast, four Dem lawmakers just gathered in support of John Fetterman, expected to return to Congress next week after hospitalization for depression. Sen. Tina Smith, Reps. Ritchie Torres, Ruben Gallego, Seth Moulton told their stories of similar struggles - the first two with depression; the last two with PTSD after serving in Iraq - as "a form of public service...to confront the culture of stigma and silence and shame" around mental health. And all praised Fetterman for his "courage" - real, in this case. Meanwhile, in the wake of a mass shooting at a Louisville bank earlier this week that killed five, the city saw two more men murdered on Thursday. Both were killed by guns, not meds.

(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. This article was first published in CommonDreams.org. Email: [email protected].)

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