It’s been just over a week since four students were killed and seven people were injured after 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire at Oxford High School in Michigan. Sandy Hook quashed the idea that any particular school shooting has the power to inspire Congress to enact common-sense gun reform, but one would think Republicans could at least refrain from going out of their way to glorify guns in the immediate aftermath of these tragedies.
They’d be wrong.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Tuesday night posted a photo of her four young children posing in front of a Christmas tree with military-style rifles. “The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie!” she wrote.
The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie!
(No spare ammo for you, though) pic.twitter.com/EnDYuXaHDF
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) December 8, 2021
The nod to Massie comes after the Kentucky Republican posted a photo of his family wielding military-style weapons. “Santa, please bring ammo,” he wrote. Massie was criticized sharply for the photo, which he posted just four days after the shooting in Michigan. He refused to apologize. “I’m going to double down,” he told conservative radio host Todd Starnes. “I’m never going to delete that picture.”
Boebert, and her children, have his back. The weapons both families are holding in the photos are not hunting rifles. They are military-style long guns designed to kill people.
Merry Christmas! 🎄
ps. Santa, please bring ammo. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/NVawULhCNr
The photos are sick representations of the modern GOP, which responds to tragedies — from a pandemic that has killed nearly a million over the course of two years, to a teenager shooting and killing his fellow students over the course of a few minutes — with a middle finger.
If they’re not raising a middle finger to grieving families, they’re pointing one at Democrats. Jeanine Pirro of Fox News smugly and explicitly blamed the shooting in Oxford on “liberal school personnel” who “should have known” Crumbley had access to a gun. She didn’t elaborate on how the school knowing Crumbley had access to a weapon would have prevented anything, only implying that the school should have suspended him after teachers observed Crumbley looking a pictures of ammunition and drawing graphic images prior to the shooting. School officials tried to get Crumbley’s parents to take him home on the day of the shooting, but they refused.
Jeanine blames Oxford school shooting on “liberal school personnel” pic.twitter.com/Rm8O3ZQYpE
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 5, 2021
Schools are going to have to start suspending a lot of students, then, because the more elected leaders condone guns in the house — and in Boebert’s case, in the hands of young children — the more kids are going to be looking at gun-related images online or otherwise fantasizing about using them. Advocates will preach that teaching children to love guns is fine as long as they’re raised responsibly and taught proper safety, but not every parent is going to do this. Crumbley’s have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their potential negligence, and the punishment they may or may not face doesn’t change the fact that four kids are now dead because their 15-year-old son had access to a gun designed to kill people.
Raising children responsibly and teaching them gun safety doesn’t guarantee anything, either. Fred Guttenberg, a gun reform activist whose daughter was killed in the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, made the point that putting military-style rifles in the hands of young children is pretty damn irresponsible in itself, regardless of whether the parent is teaching them how a safety works. “Gun safety = Gun Responsibility,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “@laurenboebert, the monster who murdered my daughter and 16 others was inspired by photos like this.”