Seth Moulton’s Attack on Moment of Silence Is An Abandoning of America

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As after ‪#Orlando, I will NOT be joining my colleagues in a moment of silence on the House Floor that just becomes an excuse for inaction.

— Seth Moulton


What is it about a moment of silence for victims that so irks U.S. Representative Seth Moulton?

Obviously it’s not the 60 seconds or so that it takes away from official business.

If you take his tweet at face value, the Salem Democrat finds a moment of silence an “excuse” for what he calls “inaction.”

What is the action he wants?

He was vague about what he would do in the minute-plus video statement he recorded Monday, but specific in his demagoguery:

“We can protect the Second Amendment. We can protect our constitutional rights. And we can still do something about this public health crisis that is gun violence in our communities. These guns have no business in our schools, or in our streets, or in our concerts.”

He can’t be talking about automatic weapons like the ones the Las Vegas shooter fired — killing, at this writing, 59 people. Automatic weapons are already illegal. The Las Vegas shooter took legal rifles and altered them.

So Moulton must be talking about the guns themselves.

So much for “We can protect the Second Amendment.” That’s the one that says “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What’s worse than gun control? Being for gun control and lying about it.

But there’s something even worse than that in Moulton’s statement. Bodies were still being removed when Moulton took a national horror and turned it into a cheap political stunt.

The truth is:  There is no liberal political solution to a mass killing like this. Laws banning the weapons this guy had wouldn’t have prevented him from getting them. And, as a local sheriff said, there’s nothing law enforcement could have done to stop this guy from getting a room on the 32nd floor of a hotel and firing at will on a massive crowd watching a concert nearby.

Ban high-rise hotels?  Ban concerts?

There is no conservative political solution to a mass killing like this, either. Conservatives often say, “If only someone in the crowd had had a gun, this killer wouldn’t have slaughtered so many people.” In some cases, that’s true. It isn’t in this case. No one could get an angle on him or even, for some time, figure out exactly where he was.

In other words, this isn’t a time for partisans on any side to try to score political points.

That leads to the worst aspect of Moulton’s statement.

In June 2016, after the mass-shooting in Orlando, Moulton took to the pages of The New York Daily News to make a point similar to his post-Las Vegas statement Monday, but in expanded form. He called offering thoughts and prayers “a hollow tradition” and then called for more gun control.

“So, spare these innocent victims your thoughts and prayers,” Moulton wrote. “Instead, let’s honor their memory by vowing to do everything we can to prevent another senseless slaughter.”

Let’s leave aside the fact — and it is a fact — that Moulton’s prescriptions would do nothing to prevent such slaughters. That’s a policy disagreement. What’s worse is Moulton’s approach.

“Thoughts” in the thoughts-and-prayers formula represent empathy. Thinking about someone necessarily implies thinking about someone outside yourself. It’s a sign that you care about other people, and that you wish them good things and no harm.

In other words, it’s the sort of activity that prevents mass shootings.

“Prayers” in the thoughts-and-prayers formula are more important still, because they recognize that we are not in control. Is there anything the people at the country music concert did wrong? Is there anything they could have done to prevent the shooter from shooting? Of course not.

We cannot prevent mental illness, or natural disasters, or spiritual voids, or depravity in the human heart.

Only God can fix these things. And only God can take a horrific event and bring some measure of healing to survivors and their loved ones and a shaken country.

But not if we walk away from Him.