A Minor Detail (Tennessee Six)

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

Perhaps it seems nitpickety, but if we attend the setup from Steve Benen

In the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, opponents of gun reforms came up with quite a few culprits to blame for the bloodshed. None of them, of course, included easy access to firearms.

The public should blame the number of doors at the school, for example. And abortion. And video games. And Ritalin, secularism, Common Core, and trench coats.

And while some of this was expected—the right consistently tries to steer public discussions away from guns after mass shootings—Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) broke new ground when she tried to connect school shootings and porn.

—and the detail via Jennifer Bendery

During a meeting last week with local pastors, Black raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.

“Pornography,” she said.

“It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there,” she continued. “All of this is available without parental guidance. I think that is a big part of the root cause.”

—it seems well enough to note Mr. Benen’s punch line—

Her argument raised a variety of questions, though I’m inclined to start with this one: where exactly is Diane Black buying her groceries?

—might be leading with the wrong question. To the other, who really wants to make the point when the result means listening to a bunch of Republicans talking about internet pornography.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN06) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., 10 March 2017. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)Still, though, think about it for a moment, please, but only because we must: The grocery store?

The grocery store.

Without parental guidance?

That sounds like a Tennessee problem, one that can be addressed by bringing the state’s laws in line with federal laws about . . . okay, look: Who is selling pornography to children, at which grocery store, and how is this legal or otherwise not already persuasively problematic in Tennessee?

And any muttering about pedantry on this occasion is obliged to acknowledge that the discourse about firearm violence and hazard in society has fallen to blaming school shootings on pornography available at the grocery store. Certain questions seem virtually requisite; blaming pornography is an unfortunately persistent trope, to be certain, but it is also true the Distinguished Member from Tennessee Six actually said “grocery store”.


Image notes: Top — Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, “Brittle Bullet”.  Right — Rep. Diane Black [R-TN06]. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Bendery, Jennifer. “Porn Leads To School Shootings, GOP Congresswoman Says”. The Huffington Post. 29 May 2018.

Benen, Steve. “GOP rep connects school shootings, access to pornography”. msnbc. 30 May 2018.

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