ThinkProgress' Igor Volsky: “You Can't Solve” Gun Violence “With Thoughts And Prayers”

Igor Volsky: “I'm All For Thinking And For Praying ... But I Think The Country Is Really Ready For Action”

From the December 2 edition of MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes:

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CHRIS HAYES (HOST): I've seen a tremendous amount of attention paid to these tweets today. How did this start?

IGOR VOLSKY: Well, it just started in the sense that it's so predictable. The responses are so predictable. I mean, they've been thinking and praying about this since Newtown. We're almost as you point out, at the anniversary, December 14th. We had such an opportunity then as a country to pass some actual gun reforms. We didn't. Here we are almost a year after, having the same conversation and these lawmakers are having the same, same exact reaction they had then and to all of the shootings we've seen since then.

HAYES: I've seen a lot of people say what's wrong with thoughts and prayers? I mean, you know, we don't know what happened. And this is obviously (added space)-- all we know is that something horrific happened. Particularly early on when folks are tweeting this. Why is that a sentiment expressed worthy of criticism in your mind?

VOLSKY: Well, because it's okay to think and pray, but these folks only want to think and pray and the NRA pays them to only think and pray about gun violence and not to do anything else about it. You know, they spent some $30 million in the 2014 election in independent expenditures making sure that all certain lawmakers do is think and pray and nothing else. I'm all for thinking and for praying and for having these very serious moments when we reflect on what happened, when we remember the victims. But I think the country is really ready for action, for actually something to be done, not just the thinking and the praying.

HAYES: Do you think it's the money? You know, I noticed today --

VOLSKY: That's a large part of it.

HAYES: As I was looking at your Twitter feed, it was a sort of juxtaposition, and we can see it right there, $1,000 for the NRA, $1,000 for the NRA, as you're tweeting out these thoughts and prayers tweets from various politicians, but there's another reason I suppose that the NRA is powerful not just because of money, but because there's a significant portion of Americans committed to their world view. Not a majority necessarily, but certainly a committed one.

VOLSKY: Well, that's true, but I mean, even if you look at the majority of Americans, the majority of Republicans, the majority of NRA members, I mean, they support expanding background checks, making sure ammunition clips are a certain size, making sure assault weapons are off the streets. I mean these are kind of commonplace, mainstream positions. And so, certainly the money has to play a factor because the American public, their constituents, you look at those poll numbers, they're on board.

HAYES: Are you struck today as you think about thoughts and prayers as I am as we watch the development of the story and we watch the political system in the midst of a campaign essentially digest this horrible tragedy, the ways in which you can already see pieces fall into place depending on what set of facts. So in the beginning we know it's guns, and so we see Republican politicians react another way. Democrats react in another. As we go on, we may learn there is a motive, we may learn that the organization passed these people was attached to this act of violence. And we'll also see the response play out in that way.

VOLSKY: Well, Chris, it would be ridiculous, if it was clear this was a terror attack, like God forbid the one we saw in Paris, it would be ridiculous to think that certain lawmakers would go on Twitter and say thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers. There's an understanding that those kinds of issues, you can't solve with thoughts and prayers, you need actual action. And it's shocking to me that when it comes to gun violence, time and time again, all we hear from these people is thoughts and prayers. And people keep on dying and dying and dying, and all they can say is, thoughts and prayers, let's not talk about this now. Let's wait. Respectful amount of time, and then in certain amount of weeks or months we can address it. But we can't because there is a mass shooting almost every single, you know, week in this country at this point.


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