Joe Scarborough Says the Sandy Hook Massacre “Changed Everything”


Today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough came out forcefully against the gun lobby, saying that Friday’s horrifying shooting in Connecticut changes everything including his past views on gun control.

Scarborough said that while he once viewed gun control as a “powerful, symbolic” struggle between big government and individual rights. Now he sees the issue as a matter of public safety.

“The ideologies of my past career are no longer relevant to the future that I want, to the future that I demand for my children, ” Scarborough said in his eight-minute monologue on the tragedy.

Scarborough added that it’s time to stop fighting endless wars overseas while we face shooting after shooting here at home, in theaters, schools, and other public places.

As Andy Kroll noted earlier today, Scarborough joins a rising chorus of conservative voices no longer content with the status quo, including conservative Democrat Joe Manchin.

I don’t agree with everything in Scarborough’s monologue. 

Mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be addressed along with the broader issue of access to health care and public health, but mental illness is widespread in other nations which have no similar history of mass shootings. The same is true for violent images in pop culture and violent video games which are played across Europe and Asia with no similar impact on public safety.

In other words, the real problem is that America has been saturated with far too many assault weapons and other militarized weapons, and these weapons are far too easy for people with mental illness to gain access to.

I’m glad to see Scarborough and other conservatives come out in favor of better gun control laws and attention to mental-health issues, because those two issues ought to be front and center following this latest shooting. 

Censoring speech rather than regulating assault weapons, extended magazines, and access to firearms would fail to address the core problems that lead to so many tragedies and so many lost lives in this country, year after bloody year.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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