NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch blames psychotropic drugs — not guns — for the shooting that killed one student and injured eight others at a school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado earlier this week. It’s a talking point for many right-wing conspiracy theorists who typically spout this on sites like Infowars.
Student Kendrick Castillo, 18, died in the May 7 shooting at a Highlands Ranch STEM school when he and another student, Brendan Bialy, 17, reportedly tried to tackle one of the alleged shooters and were aided by another student who remains unidentified, Media Matters for America (MMFA) reports. Castillo was shot after rushing one of the shooters and died at the hospital.
But right after the shooting, Loesch, who’s also an NRATV host, appeared on Fox News and blamed gun safety activists, accusing them of politicizing the tragedy by condemning gun violence on Twitter. On Fox & Friends May 9 to cite possible causes such as “respect for life,” the “lack of boundaries for our youth,” and the “lack of that solid family home.”
Next on her list of everything-but-guns? Psychotropic drugs. She contended the drugs may be another reason school shootings are on the rise and suggested one of the shooters was “abusing illegal drugs.”
Co-host Ainsley Earnhardt asked Loesch what the problem was.
“You said there is a ‘heart problem’ in our country,” Earnhardt said. “How do we prevent this from happening again?”
Loesch responded with crocodile tears by talking about Kendrick Castillo. She noted Castillo is the same age as her own son and added that both young men were due to graduate this week.
“So you know, as a mother you look at every other single kid out there — and you know this Ainsley, every single kid out there is your own child,” Loesch said. “And it makes me so angry his life was taken so prematurely from him by someone so evil and so horrendous. And I think that’s — I wish that is the discussion we could have in this country.”
However, statistics from the Giffords Law Center would have you know that firearm injuries kill 18 kids and young adults (24 years and younger) every day in the U.S. Additionally, children and young adults comprise 38 percent of all firearm deaths and non-fatal injuries. And an estimated 4.6 million minors in the U.S. live in homes where there’s at least one unlocked, loaded firearm.
So perhaps we should have a discussion about THAT. Perhaps Castillo would still be with us if people like Loesch and other gun rights activists stopped impeding real progress to prevent these tragedies.
But Loesch relies on the broken home-broken family mantra that is so familiar to right-wingers. And she claims psychotropic drugs may have something to do with this.
“There is something wrong with our youth, everybody. There is something that is happening in our culture because we have always had firearms, but we have never had this many incidents,” she said. “We also have more restrictive gun laws and more regulations. I mean, Colorado has a lot of gun laws. We have a number of things that are taking place. But what we are lacking is a respect for life. What we are lacking are clear boundaries for our youth. We’re lacking that solid family home, and I don’t know if all of this or some of this is playing into why we keep seeing individuals reacting this way.”
While she gets this partially correct, the fact is that gun control laws in Colorado remain almost unchanged in the 20 years after the massacre at Columbine High School killed 13 people, Vox notes. So no, Colorado does not have a lot of gun laws.
And the NRA and Republican officials have largely blocked Congress from any meaningful legislation. Writing for Vox, German Lopez notes:
“In the two decades since Columbine, America has not appreciably its gun laws at the national level, besides letting an assault weapons ban expire.”
But that appears to be lost on Loesch. She goes on to blame psychotropic drugs. And she took the time to do a little pandering for her employers, the NRA.
“Is it psychotropic drugs? We know a couple of things that one of the individuals apparently, according to reports in law enforcement, had been abusing illegal drugs and was in therapy,” she said. “If we’re gonna discuss warning signs, how about that? They stole two handguns, they’re illegal to carry and possess by people under age 21. And I hope, by the way, that more people check out the NRA School Shield Program so we can get more armed security guards in some more of these schools so that we can prevent anything like this from ever happening again.”
And after all, the NRA is hemorrhaging money, so checking out their programs might continue to pay Loesch’s salary for a while longer. One wonders how many innocent people will continue to die while the NRA fills its coffers.