“I absolutely believe he has no right to be lecturing the rest of us. Gun control’s not going to solve this.”
-Bobby Jindal speaking about the Oregon shooter’s father to ABC’s News
Leave it to Bobby Jindal, the GOP’s least charismatic and most desperate Presidential candidate to inject himself into the gun debate in America in the least helpful way possible. Speaking to ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Jindal doubled down on his earlier comments that Oregon shooter Chris Harper-Mercer’s father Ian Mercer – a gun reform advocate – was the real problem behind mass shootings in America.
“Passing more laws to take away the rights of law-abiding Americans won’t solve this problem,” said Jindal. “[Gun laws] won’t stop the next massacre, won’t stop the next tragedy. Jindal had previously called Mercer “A complete failure as a father, he should be embarrassed to even show his face in public,” on his website.
It goes without saying that Jindal is not only demonstrably incorrect in his assertion that gun control laws “won’t solve this problem,” but wildly off base when hurling accusations at Ian Mercer – a man he knows absolutely nothing about.
Firstly, the fact is that gun control does prevent gun massacres. The clue is in the word “gun”. When guns are banned or tightly controlled, there are far fewer gun related deaths, as we’ve seen so starkly in Australia after stringent anti gun legislation was passed in the wake of a gun massacre in Tasmania. Again, this is something that should not need to be brought up given how self evident it is. To believe that gun laws won’t stop gun crime you have to be either an idiot or a politician. In Bobby Jindal’s case, he appears to be both.
Secondly, the emerging profile of Harper-Mercer indicates he was deeply troubled young man with serious psychological issues. We don’t know a great deal about his psychological state, but to blame his mental illness on his father is simply unconscionable. If Jindal knows anything about mental illness, he would understand that causality is incredibly complex and difficult to isolate. Harper-Mercer may have been abused by another family member. He may have been abused by classmates. He may have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. We simply don’t know, and for Jindal – a man with no background in psychiatry to weigh in on something as sensitive as this is a disgrace.
Along with a serious gun problem, America has an alarming mental health crisis that is not going to be solved by Americans adopting Bobby Jindal’s hardcore Christian fundamentalism. Jindal told ABC that America needs “a renaissance of decency,” and “a spiritual revival,” – or in other words, no action from politicians whatsoever. Spirituality and moral decency are not actionable policies that prevent mental illness or gun massacres in a large industrialized democracy. Access to proper mental health care and serious legal restrictions on buying guns are, and until Jindal comes to term with this he needs to shut the hell up.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.