Following the fatal shooting of three 9-year-old children and three school staff members at Nashville’s Covenant School on Monday by Audrey Hale, who identifies as transgender, Newsweek has published an article condemning the state of Tennessee for banning drag shows for children and not firearms.
Newsweek blasted lawmakers for banning drag shows for kids but not guns, as though some equivalency exists between the two.
Earlier this month, Tennessee’s state Senate passed a bill that prevents drag shows from happening in public or near children. The law is set to go into effect July 1, which will ban drag shows from appearing within proximity to schools, public parks, or places of worship.
However, critics of the Republican lawmakers, cited by Newsweek, have focused almost exclusively on assault rifles instead of the individual who carried out the horrific act. These critics also leave out the report that the transgender perpetrator had written a full manifesto leading up to the tragic incident, including details on how to carry out the attack.
These critics also failed to address the violence suggested by trans activists in the wake of Tennessee passing its bill. On Twitter, users appeared to threaten Tennessee lawmakers, with one Twitter account rhetorically asking, "[L]et me know where I can get my hands on ricin then we’re in business." Ricin is a highly potent toxin naturally found in castor beans.
Just hours after the shooting, President Joe Biden took that time to urge Congress to ban assault weapons. "We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart," the president said, adding: "I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban."
However, it appears that the president has not looked at the statistical breakdown of gun violence in the US in recent years. According to Pew Research published in 2022, handguns were involved in 59 percent of US gun murders and "non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available" in 2020. Rifles, oftentimes referred to as “assault weapons,” were involved in just 3 percent of gun murders in the country. And lastly, shotguns were involved in just 1 percent of gun deaths in the US.
It appears that Press Secretary Karean Jean-Pierre is equally unaware of the minuscule percentage of deaths caused by so-called assault weapons. She said: "How many more children have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the assault weapons ban?"
The leading causes of death for America's children are drowning and accidents.
There was no national condemnation by the president or his staff of Antifa members brandishing rifles during a drag show in Texas in August 2022, with the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club (EFJBGC) writing that their objective was to "[promote] and [assist] marginalized communities in organizing community defense against white supremacists [and] fascism," according to its Instagram, per Fox News.
If lawmakers and politicians are going to criticize the ownership of assault weapons in the US, they must do so unilaterally. There cannot be special groups who are exempted, and every group that brandishes assault weapons as a mode of civilian intimidation need to be both criticized and condemned.
It's sheer hypocrisy to do otherwise—but Biden, and Newsweek, seem very okay with that.