March 3, 2018

KIDS-R-US:

Parkland shooting has changed politics-as-usual in Florida (Scott Maxwell , 3/02/18, Orlando Sentinel)

[I]n the wake of the Parkland high school shooting, Republican leaders have joined Democrats in calling for action on guns, mental health and school security -- issues they have flat-out rejected for years.

Florida's governor is even taking on the NRA, calling for new gun restrictions and opposing ideas like arming teachers.

Things like that simply don't happen in Florida.

So what's different this time? At least three things:

1) The gunman committed his massacre smack dab in the middle of the legislative session.

2) Rick Scott is running for higher office.

3) The Parkland kids actually look and sound like the kids of the legislators ... so their cries have resonated more.

Those explanations may seem cynical and even distasteful. So is politics all too often.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat, said there's no denying that Tallahassee politicians are reacting differently this time.

With Parkland memorial ribbons on legislative lapels everywhere (compared to Pulse rainbow ribbons, which Smith said were few and far between), legislators are vowing fast action.

"That's a big change," he said. "Usually after a mass shooting, it's: Offer thoughts and prayers. Divert attention. Delay. And then do nothing."

This time, though, they couldn't divert or delay, because the slaughter took place five weeks into a nine-week legislative session.

That's normally a time when Republicans are advancing the NRA's bills -- often ludicrous ones like the 2011 one that tried to ban patients and doctors from freely discussing firearms or the 2014 one that guaranteed schoolchildren the right to carry pistol-shaped Pop Tarts -- so they can earn good grades on the NRA's annual report cards.

Posted by at March 3, 2018 7:03 AM

  

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