Friday, 24 July 2015 17:00

Jindal, mass shootings, political crass and prayers

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jindal-cavutoAnother senseless mass-shooting. Another moment of madness occurring in a movie theater--where we go to be entertained.
In the past six weeks, the United States has mourned over the June 17 evening shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. During a prayer service, Dylann Roof, a 21-year old angry man committed a horrendous shooting-spree for apparent racial purposes.

Shortly after the incident, President Barack Obama said,
"Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear: at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."
Yet, within hours after Obama’s comment, the Louisiana Governor, and republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal, took the opportunity to make another appearance on Fox News to blast the president.  Here are some of Jindal's comments:
I think it was completely shameful,"

"Within 24 hours we've got the president trying to score cheap political points."

"Now is the time to be hugging these families, now is the time to be praying for these families, now is the time to be coming together". 

"For whatever reason he always tries to divide us, today was not the moment. This was not the time."

Fair enough.
Now fast forward almost one month to the day--July 16.
Within hours after another horrific mass murder, the conservative publication Breitbart announced it had a scoop. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is reacting to the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where four U.S. marines were killed, allegedly by Kuwaiti-born 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.
“This apparent act of terrorism has taken the lives of four American heroes, and our hearts and prayers are with their families,” Jindal said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “While it’s too early to know for sure what happened, it certainly looks like an act of terrorism. We must pursue justice on their behalf and stop at nothing to hunt down and kill these evildoers abroad before more of them come here to kill our people.”
“This shooting underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by radical Islamic terrorism every single day,” Jindal said.
It’s time for the White House to wake up and tell the truth…and the truth is that Radical Islam is at war with us, and we must start by being honest about that. There have been many bad things that have happened under President Obama. One that stands out to me was the horrible shooting at Ft. Hood…which was clearly an act of terrorism by a Radical Islamist. Yet the White House labeled that horrible act as ‘workplace violence.’ This is grotesque. You cannot defeat evil until you admit that it exists.

Somehow, while Americans and victims’ families are still in the dark as to the facts of this incident, not knowing whether the shooting was in fact an act of terror or a lone-wolf operation, not knowing any details about the shooter’s motivations, Jindal linked the shooting to Obama administration’s failure to utter the words “Islamist and terror” in the same phrase.

Now, Governor Jindal has a shooting incident occurring on his own turf, Lafayette Louisiana. Last night, a lone gun-man, for some unknown reason, began shooting in the movie theater.
Governor Jindal, who has been out of the state for most of this year and certainly since his June 24 presidential kickoff, took to the cameras to sooth the concerns and to reduce the fears that all of us have whether we send our kids to the movies, to a church or to a enlistment office at a strip mall.

He did so, however, not without some politics of his own. Before going to the scene of the crime, he tweeted using the twitter account he uses during his presidential campaign:
Here is reporting from

First, Jindal tweeted that he was in communication with police about the incident.

Then, Jindal said he was heading to Lafayette.





After Jindal arrived, he visited with victims at one of the three hospitals where people who were injured were being treated. He gave an interview with KLFY-TV that was carried nationally by CBS News and said the following:

"I want to thank our first responders. Did an amazing job, even while they were still hearing shots fired and running towards the theater, towards danger. Look, it's going to be a tough night for the families as they continue to get more information about their loved ones. I ask everybody: Keep these families in your prayers. Keep them in your thoughts. Shower them with love. The best thing we can do across Lafayette, across Louisiana, across our country is come together in thoughts, in love, in prayer. We're a resilient community. When one of us suffer, we all suffer. But I think this will pull us together."...
When describing the facts of the shooting to the media, a KLFY reporter also asked Jindal about gun control. Here was his response:
"Right now we're just learning the details of what happened. ... Let's focus on the victims right now. Let's focus on their recoveries. There'll be a time, I'm sure folks will want to jump into the politics of this. Now is not the time."
Then, at a news conference carried live after his initial comments, Jindal said this:
"Today is a day that not only angers but also saddens all of us. ... we never would've imagined it would've happened in Louisiana or Lafayette. ... (told story about teachers) ... We're going to hear about other acts of selfless heroism. ... I saw family members that were hoping for the best, waiting for information on their loved ones. ... They're praying and fearful and anxious. We've heard from folks all over the country. Now is the time to send them your thoughts, your prayers, your love ... (on first responders) They ran towards danger, not away from it. The first officers could literally still hear the gunshots."

Today, columnist, Bob Mann, a vocal critic of Jindal, in his weekly column, wrote about Jindal’s inconsistent reactions during these times of national mourning.

Further, Mann blasted Jindal for doing little to protect Louisiana citizens from gun violence and for being a pawn of the NRA.  The columnist also discussed the Jindal administration’s response to raising questions about gun control:

When it comes to doing something about the gun violence that afflicts Louisiana, Jindal also offers shrugs. In Jindal's world, it's never the right time to debate gun violence or talk about how government should address the problem. And with a mass shooting almost every week, it will never be time in Jindal's estimation to talk about it. Only hugs and shrugs.

Jindal's press secretary on Thursday night accused me of politicizing the situation. Among other things, I had taken to Twitter to suggest that Jindal's sympathy for the victims and their families was cold comfort to a state for which he had done nothing to make us safer from gun violence. If anyone was politicizing the situation, it was Jindal and the NRA leaders he has shamelessly courted for so long.

Frankly, I don’t know the answer to how to stop these rampant killings. Surely, we as Americans must address the mental health issue and determine if and how we can properly reduce guns in the hands of the mentally ill and the violent.

This column will not address those issues. Hopefully during the election processes, both in Louisiana and while the candidates are on the campaign roads and debate halls, we can work together to find solutions, not just regurgitate political talking points from political parties and lobbyists.

However, what is particularly timely at this moment is when and how do we discuss acts of violence, whether they might occur in Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina or anywhere USA.
When the focus was upon shootings at a black church, an event that launched the debate about confederate flags, only hours after President Obama raised the guns and violence issue, Bobby Jindal on a Fox news-opt, blasted the president for politicalizing the very sad and emotional event. Perhaps Obama did and maybe the moment was not ripe. This we can debate among us.

Yet, weeks later, and only hours after the terrible killings of our military men, and before anyone knew any real details, the same presidential hopeful, Jindal, planted his anti-Obama tirade in a choice-conservative publication. This time, he linked the uncertain killing to one of his pet political attacks on the administration, Islamic terror.

Unfortunately, the ongoing American horror story has now hit home. Jindal not only doesn’t want to talk about guns or how we can deal with these kinds of singularly American horrific acts of anger, his press secretary also wants time out.

Sorry, Governor Jindal, can’t have it both ways.

He can’t campaign on Fox blasting Obama for discussing a sensitive issue that he and conservatives don’t like discussing--and then a mere month later--before our dead soldiers’ blood is dried, campaign on Breibart claiming Obama is indirectly at fault because he won’t say "Islamic terror".

If it is crass politics to discuss blame and solutions after a shooting in Carolina, it surely is crass politics to do the same after a Tennessee shooting spree, too.
And, last night, what did Jindal do to inform the world that he would be on the scene of the crime?  He took to his twitter account—the same account that he uses on his presidential campaign when blasting Obama and Hillary Clinton.

So, hours after a mass murdering occurs, please forgive us if we don’t know if Governor Jindal wants us to pray and hold our kids tight or if he wants us to watch him on Fox News or on the pages of Breitbart, campaigning for President.

After these types of shocking events, it is time to mourn. However, it is also time to reflect how America can deal with guns, violent crime, first and second amendment rights and indeed--mental health.

Above all, it is way beyond time for Governor Jindal and candidates to stop their grief and politics cherry-picking.

Americans, individually, can decide if (and when) it’s time to pray or if (or when) it’s time to scream in the movie theaters—“stop the madness”  “Stop the politics”.

"We've had enough". 

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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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