Less than two hours after the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, Darren Bailey, the Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, uttered this reprehensible statement:
“Friends, let’s pray for the law enforcement and even the organizers of this parade, The shooter is still at large. So, let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation.”
Bailey’s first inclination was to pray for law enforcement and the organizers of the parade, instead of the victims of the Trump-supporting killer.
Bailey’s comments weren’t meant to console the victims, it was a political statement meant to express his solidarity with law enforcement.
Two hours after the latest in an endless barrage of mass shootings, Bailey was already calling for a grieved community to “move on.”
And then of course, in an attempt to demonstrate his fealty to evangelicals he called on people to pray for justice to prevail.
How many times have we seen this reaction from Republican politicians in the aftermath of a mass shooting: Move on there’s nothing to see here, and a ritual offering of thoughts and prayers.
We must not move on. We must express sympathy for the victims, and take active measures (gun control, increased access to mental health services) to make sure there won’t be many more victims.
Finally, let’s not insult a grieving community by offering useless “thoughts and prayers” after a tragedy.