“Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.”
At 2:09am on yesterday morning, the Pulse Facebook page was updated with those words as Omar Marteen, armed with a pistol and an assault rifle, opened fired on a crowd of LGBTQ patrons at the Orlando club. Many were able to heed that call, but today we mourn the 49 who were murdered, and continue to monitor the progress of the 53 who were injured.
In the face of such tragedy, we often are unsure of how to respond. The emotions surrounding these catastrophes range from deep sadness to profound anger, and finding appropriate words in those times can be difficult. For many of us, we fall back on the tried and true, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of those affected by the shooting in Orlando.” We hashtag it, and we move on, because for those of us removed from the situation, what else can we do?
Often politicians will add their condolences to the mix, sharing their own thoughts and prayers. And while it is gratifying to know that the victims and their families are not forgotten in the moment, those words often ring hollow when these same politicians are in the pockets of the gun lobbies. Words certainly have the ability to bring comfort, but when the actions do not match the words, they become empty.
This list is the top 10 recipients of money from pro-gun groups in 2016. Much thanks to Igor Volsky for his diligent work on this. Be sure to check out his Twitter feed for a comprehensive list of politicians and the money they received.
1. Ben Carson (R) – $37,622
In an interview on Fox News yesterday, former presidential candidate Ben Carson said, “It’s very concerning. As I’ve been saying for many months, we have to get much more serious about the way that we look at potential terrorist activity.” However, when he was interviewed following the Paris attacks about banning the sale of weapons to people on terrorist watch lists, he said, “there are a lot of people on that watch list and they have no idea why they’re on that list and they’ve been trying to get their names off of it, and no one will give them information.”
2. Ted Cruz (R) – $36,229
Today, all of America stands in solidarity with the people of Orlando: https://t.co/cXRNXVKcrT
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 12, 2016
Former presidential candidate, and Senator from Texas stands with the people of Orlando today, but he has also said, “I have never and will never support banning guns.” And let’s not forget that he was happy to speak at a conference hosted by someone who moments prior to his introduction recommended killing LGBTQ people.
3. Rand Paul (R) – $29,574
Horrific and tragic news out of Orlando, Florida. Kelley and I join the rest of the nation in praying for the victims.
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 12, 2016
Rand Paul has long been a supporter of gun rights. He has said, “I will not support any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens.” Yet, he voted against the ban on gun sales to the mentally ill, terrorists, and felons.