Some members of Washington State's Republican congressional delegation—Dave Reichert (WA-8) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5)—have offered nothing but their thoughts and prayers to the victims of yesterday's mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., which resulted in the deaths of 17 kids and adults. Some—Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Jaime Herrera Buetler (WA-3), and congressional candidate for WA-8 Dino Rossi—have only offered their silence.
Rep. Dave Reichert, a man who's held a seat in Congress for the last 14 years, suggested we must "focus on how we can put an end to such violence and hate" without proposing any ideas about how he might do that. There have been 188 school shootings in the United States since 2000, and a vast majority of them happened while Reichert was in office. If he really wanted to focus on putting an end to school shootings, he could—at the very least—push for a vote to repeal the Dickey amendment, which prevents the Centers for Disease Control from researching gun violence. But he hasn't yet. He's banked $3,000 from the National Rifle Association over the years, written an op-ed for the Times, and has offered platitudes as he's watched people mow down students with AR-15s at school. Good lord I wish that was hyperbole.
The only thing that brings me any sense of satisfaction at all are the comments on Reichert's Tweet:
Today’s events in Parkland, FL are tragic beyond belief. It’s impossible to comprehend. It’s a direct attack on the heart & soul of America. As we come together as a country to support the community of Parkland, we must focus on how we can put an end to such violence and hate.
— Dave Reichert (@davereichert) February 15, 2018
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the third most powerful Republican in the House. The NRA gave her an "A" rating in 2012, and she's taken thousands of dollars from them over the years. Like Reichert, she also only offered her prayers to victims of the shooting. The ratio on the following tweet brings me a modicum of satisfaction, but so does the fact that her Democratic opponent, Lisa Brown, might be closing in on Rodgers's substantial lead.
School should be a place of joy and friendship– not fear and terror. My heart is breaking for the Parkland community and today’s victims. It’s an horrific day for so many. We have more to learn and as we wait, my prayers are with those who were killed and with their families.
— CathyMcMorrisRodgers (@cathymcmorris) February 15, 2018
Newhouse did not respond to my request for comment, nor did Herrera Beutler. When the Seattle Times asked both members of Congress about gun control back in October of 2017, just after Stephen Paddock shot 600 people from a hotel room in Vegas, Herrera Beutler stayed silent and Newhouse talked about his support for a bill that did nothing to address gun violence.
Dino Rossi, the only Republican candidate running to replace Reichert, also didn't respond to my request for comment. No surprise there. But as I mentioned shortly after the Vegas shooting, Rossi sports an "A" rating from the NRA. In previous elections, he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from gun lobbies. In the coming months, I won't be surprised to see more ads like this one from 2010: