This is the elevated “thoughts and prayers” statement posted on Gov. Phil Scott’s Twitter feed in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. It follows a trajectory parallel to statements by other Republicans elsewheres. Scott is more moderate than they are, but not in a way that will make a material difference.
The statement hasn’t aged well, considering that we’ve seen two Vermont schools locked down following threats of mass shootings in the ensuing two days. In one case, the principal had to postpone a student walkout over gun violence because of the threat of gun violence. If that’s not a Catch-22, I don’t know what is.
Scott says he “struggled to find the words.” I can understand why: He has nothing to offer besides a shattered heart and a wrenched gut, both metaphorical. He has nothing because he wants to do nothing. It’s clear he opposes any further state legislation. Instead, he wants the nation to follow Vermont’s alleged example.
Yeah, that’ll fix it.
Problem is, Vermont isn’t terribly distinguished in this area.
A rating of all 50 states by Everytown, which supports tougher gun legislation, puts Vermont right in the mediocre middle. We’re one of 11 states listed as “Missing Key Laws,” which might give one the idea that we need stronger laws. Everytown says Vermont’s gun laws are “weak,” and that our rate of gun violence is “Near Average,” which surprised me. I mean, isn’t our positive gun culture supposed to insulate us from gun violence without restrictive laws?
The Uvalde shooter bought his two semiautomatic murder weapons on May 17 and 20. On Tuesday May 24, he shot and killed 21 people. Keep those dates in mind.
There was a bill before the Legislature this session that would have barred gun purchases without a federal background check for up to 30 days. In current law, that waiting period is only three days. Scott refused to consider anything longer than seven days, and lawmakers capitulated.
Now let’s check the calendar. The shooting took place four and seven days after the guns were bought. The purchases would have been barred in Vermont under the proposed law, but could have been permitted under the version that Scott insisted on.
This particular shooter wouldn’t have been able to legally buy the guns in Vermont because he was under 21. But still, a waiting period would have blocked the purchases regardless of age, and Scott wanted none of it. Still doesn’t.
A lot of Democrats are calling for immediate action on gun laws. Great. First thing they should do, if they’re not just performing for the cameras, is go all-in on defeating Phil Scott in November. And, as I keep saying, any Democrat who votes for Phil Scott doesn’t care about their party’s own priorities. And they’re not serious about taking further steps to limit gun violence.
I expect a lot of ’em to vote for Scott anyway, because they’d rather have a Nice Guy in office than new legislation that would make Vermont safer. Notwithstanding all the wrenched guts and shattered hearts.