Video emerged on Thursday of Senator John McCain telling the mother of a victim of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting that she needed some “straight talk” on gun control. McCain’s aides later pushed back against the video claiming it was selectively edited, and for what it’s worth they were partially correct, but it doesn’t make what McCain said any better.
The original video clip showed McCain saying “I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States.”
Here’s the full transcript of what McCain said via TPM
“Well first of all could I say thank you, and God bless, and thank you for your service and sacrifice you’ve made. Our hearts and our prayers go out to you and your family. And I just had a town hall meeting yesterday in Tucson, and there were people there who were affected by this terrible tragedy of the shooting there. I met with Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords in my office last week on this issue. As you know, they are becoming, understandably, great advocates on this issue. And I will continue that conversation. I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States. it won’t.”
It shouldn’t come as a shock that your ‘hearts and prayers’ will be told to take a seat if you follow-up that feigned gesture with some “straight talk” and a declaration that an assault weapons ban will never pass through Congress.
Caren Teves and her husband Tom were evidently less than pleased with McCain’s response because yesterday they revealed that, weeks prior to the town hall, the couple sent a letter to McCain and fellow Senator Jeff Flake requesting that they take actions on guns and received an impersonal form letter in response.
Neither of the letters even addressed the Colorado massacre. In fact, they brought up an entirely different shooting, the schoolhouse killings in Newtown, Conn., and mentioned each senator’s ongoing support of the Second Amendment. It was like Alex Teves’ death hadn’t gotten through to the senators or their staffs. [...]
Tom Teves has shared the letters he received with TPM. He did so after his wife confronted McCain in-person Wednesday with her son’s story and a question about guns at a town hall event in Phoenix. McCain’s response included the remark that Caren Teves needed “some straight talk” on the issue of assault weapons.
“The Senator owes my wife an apology – he is lucky I wasn’t there,” Tom Teves wrote in an email to TPM late Thursday. “He was a ‘tough guy’ with a grieving Mom – that is not who I want leading my country! The sad fact is I used to have a great deal of respect for the Senator McCain, not anymore.”
The Republican party may take it as a given that they won’t pay for their intransigence on gun control at the ballot box, but I think they’re mistaken.
It may not cost them a significant amount of support among men (regrettably), but among women, especially those who either have children or are charged with the care of children, I don’t believe it will go unnoticed.
Gun control may not necessarily be something we would commonly think of as a feminist issue, but since gun fetishism seems to stem from machismo, patriarchy, and the basic control of others through fear, there does seem to be a natural alignment developing.
With this in mind, each misstep of the sort John McCain experienced this week should probably be viewed as an affront to their effort to re-brand themselves and reach out to women.
That may not be the case if we lived in a world where mass shootings and accidental killings were perpetrated by women as often as they are men, but that’s not the world we live in. In the world we live in, men are overwhelmingly responsible for gun violence.