MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough opened “Morning Joe” today with a moving, 10-minute monologue in which he urged lawmakers to push for stricter measures on gun control, saying they can “no longer be allowed to defend the status quo.”His soliloquy came in response to the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and seven other adults. He blamed the influx of mass shootings in the U.S. on a “toxic brew” of a violent popular culture, a mental-health “crisis” and a mix of “combat-style weapons.”
Some excerpts of his address below:
“From this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again. We’ve said this before after Columbine, after Arizona, after Aurora, after so many other numbing hours of murder and massacre. But let this be our true landmark: Let Newtown be the hour after which, in the words of the New Testament, we did all we could do to make all things new. Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo. They must instead be forced to defend our children. Parents can no longer take “no” for an answer from Washington when the topic turns to protecting our children. […]
“Though entrenched special interests are going to try to muddy the cause in the coming days, the cause of this sickening mass shooting — like the others — is no longer a mystery to common-sense Americans. And blessedly, there are more common-sense Americans than there are special interests, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.
“I say, good luck to the gun lobbyist. Good luck to the Hollywood lawyer who tries to blunt the righteous anger of millions of parents, by hiding behind twisted readings of our Bill of Rights. … But perhaps, just perhaps, now is the time they start obsessing on how to stop the next attack on a movie theatre, or on a shopping mall, or on a college campus, or in our children’s first grade classes. The battle we now must fight, the battle we have to win, is for the safety and the sanity of your children and mine. That is a war at home that we must win. […]
“You know me. I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA’s highest ratings over four terms in Congress. I saw this debate over guns as a powerful symbolic struggle between individual rights and government control. And you know what? In the years after Waco and Ruby Ridge, the symbolism of that debate seemed even more powerful to me. But the symbols of that ideological struggle — they’ve been shattered by the harvest zone from violent, mind-numbing video games and gruesome Hollywood movies that dangerously desensitize those who struggle with mental-health challenges. And then add in military-styled weapons and high-capacity magazines to that equation, and tragedy can never be too far behind. I’ve always taken a libertarian’s approach to Hollywood’s First Amendment rights and gun collectors’ Second Amendment rights. I stood by those libertarian beliefs […]
“But last Friday, a chilling thought crossed my mind as I saw the Times Square ticker over ABC spit out news of yet another tragic shooting in yet another tortured town by yet another twisted son of that community. How could I know that within seconds of reading that scrolling headline that the shooter would be an isolated, middle-class white male who spent his days on his computer playing violent video games? How did I know that it was far more likely that he had a mental condition than a rational motive? And how did I know the end of the story before the real reporting even began? I knew the ending of this story because we’ve all seen it too often. I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want — that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while we’re losing the war at home.
“For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life, and I choose change. And for the sake of our children, we must do what’s right. And for the sake of this great nation that we love, let’s pray to God that we do.”
Watch Scarborough’s full address below, via MSNBC: