When a tragic, preventable massacre like the mass shooting in Oregon last week happens, as a politician you can choose to respond by asking the American people to do what's necessary in order to prevent another such incident from happening.
For Democrats like President Obama, that means asking the American people to do their duty to push lawmakers to implement real gun safety laws to protect them. For Republicans like Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, that means asking the American people to do their duty as Christians to start packing heat 24/7.
Responding to a mass shooting at an Oregon community college that left 10 people dead, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on Friday encouraged fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to consider getting a gun.
Ramsey, R-Blountville, made those remarks in a Facebook post Friday, one day after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., left 10 people dead. The suspect, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, reportedly asked victims to name their religious affiliation during the massacre.
In his Facebook post, Ramsey links to a New York Post article with the headline "Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage." Ramsey groups the Oregon shooting with other recent mass shootings in the nation. "Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West," Ramsey said.
"While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare," he later adds. "I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.
"Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."
Mind you, this is an elected official, the Lieutenant Governor of a state, who sees some of his fellow Americans as "our enemies" and that he is openly encouraging citizens to be willing to use deadly force.
His comments elicited a written statement from Tennessee Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, who said Ramsey's comments "reek of fear-mongering and religious crusading."
"Rather than lead the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts to improve public safety by removing guns from the hands of criminals and addressing the serious mental health issues confronting many in our state, Senator Ramsey unfortunately chose the road most traveled by the radical right," said Clemmons, who introduced a bill earlier this year that sought to amend the state's "guns-in parks" legislation.
"Senator Ramsey’s inciting statements in the face of a national tragedy are all the more alarming when you consider them in their historical context," he added. "Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith. This type of rhetoric is counter-productive to our efforts on so many levels."
I'm glad that Democrats in the state were willing to call Ramsey out, but this "armed Christian militia fantasy" that the right wing has is dangerous as hell. Always more guns, until everyone has a dozen and then, well, why do we need laws anyway when we all have guns, right?