On Sunday, former US Air Force airman Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 and injuring 20. Kelley, who had been discharged from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and beating his infant stepson so hard he partially crushed his skull, had a history of violent behavior and was allegedly targeting his mother-in-law, who was not at the church at the time.
There have been many different responses to the shooting, each with varying degrees of appropriateness.
Donald Trump said the shooting is about "mental health."
During a news conference in Tokyo, which he is currently visiting as part of his Asian tour, Trump said, “mental health is your problem here.” He also called the shooter a “very deranged individual” with “a lot of problems over a long period of time.”
Asked whether he would consider gun control, the president added, “it’s a little bit too soon.”
He concluded, “It’s a very, very sad event. These are great people.”
Other politicians' responses were much more traditional.
The usual deluge of “thoughts and prayers” poured onto Twitter, with politicians citing their usual horror at the events that transpired in Texas. A few, noticing the backlash against “thoughts and prayers” went with the more muted “our hearts are with you.”
A few politicians, however, called out their colleagues for their hypocrisy.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut railed against the political cowardice of deferring to the NRA with the rising death toll in America.
“Can you sleep tonight, colleagues, when the price of gun lobby goodwill is this – blood soaked church and school floors, city streets?” Murphy tweeted.
No response, however, came close to Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt.
During an interview with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday morning, Earhardt gave her own thoughts on the Texas massacre.
“We’ve been reporting this shouldn’t happen in a church,” Earhardt said. “But I was downstairs talking with some people that work here that we all talk about our faith and we share the same beliefs. We were saying there’s no other place we would want to go other than church.”
“Because I’m there asking for forgiveness. I feel very close to Christ when I’m there. So, I’m trying to look at some positives here and know that those people are with the Lord now and experiencing eternity and no more suffering, no more sadness anymore.”
People could not believe their ears.
Half of the victims of the Texas massacre were children. One was a pregnant mother. One family lost three generations. One was just 18-months old.
But it was better that they’d “died in church,” according to Eardhardt.
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) November 6, 2017
Good Lord. And not a word about how this shouldn’t have happened at all, let alone in a church. I just … https://t.co/QHgjJnih8C
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) November 6, 2017
‘Actually church is a great place to get shot’ is downright dystopian framing that sounds like a ridiculous parody.https://t.co/ylOd19VXDv
— Ｄｒｉｎｋ Ｓｐａｃｅｄａｄ Ｃｏｌａ (@SuperSpacedad) November 6, 2017
I really can’t find the proper words to express my utter contempt for Fox & Friends. Actually the whole damn network…
— Bob Jackson (@bobjacksonNYC) November 6, 2017
That 18-month old was ready for the after-life!
— Kyle (@Kentroyals5) November 6, 2017
Does she think temples & mosques are also sacred?
— Kristin Koblis (@KKtheExplorer) November 6, 2017
And is that supposed to be comforting? WTF is wrong with these people. I just can’t!
— SoniaRivera (@nena111971) November 6, 2017
WTF is this?? A 16th century morality play?
— Guy Fawkes (@FawkesNews77) November 6, 2017
As opposed to…
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ?
HIGH SCHOOL ?
— Jessica Ramey-Gillam (@GillamRamey) November 6, 2017
I couldn’t believe my own ears. There’s something on the couch that makes them more stupid than they were to begin with? @ainsleyearhardt
— JAS16AZ (@JAS16AZ) November 6, 2017
So I guess I’ll die at THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY. pic.twitter.com/tfOEelIFDB
— 🌺 Chico Cat (@ChicoCat3) November 6, 2017
The movies? The mall? A nightclub?
— TrudyM (@TrudyM11) November 6, 2017
No other place? Maybe bite your tongue the next time you want to weigh in on a mass shooting that left 26 dead and 20 injured.