Profs mock Scalise support for Second Amendment after shooting
Several college professors took advantage of Wednesday’s shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to mock his support for gun ownership and the Second Amendment.
Daniel Blair, a physics professor from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., tweeted that he hopes Scalise will rethink his A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) following the shooting.
“I wonder if #SteveScalise will rethink his A+ NRA rating. #thoughtsandprayers do nothing,” Blair tweeted.
Blair eventually expressed remorse for the tweet, telling Campus Reform in an email Friday that it was a “gut reaction” that he now regrets.
“I think what happened to the Representative was a terrible and reprehensible act,” he explained. “My tweet was a gut reaction and pretty insensitive. I'm sorry I posted it.”
Similarly, Merve Emre, an assistant professor at McGill University in Quebec, retweeted a post offering “thoughts and prayers” for the GOP lawmaker before snidely remarking that Scalise “accepted $18,500 from the NRA and wants more guns on the streets.”
Karl Qualls, a History professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, contended that the incident was a direct result of easy access to guns and little regulation, even throwing the shooter’s race into the mix for good measure.
“Another angry white man w easy access to guns (and state w almost no reg). Gabby Giffords, Steve Scalise. It isn’t politics; It’s guns,” he wrote, referencing the shooting of former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords.
In a follow-up tweet, Qualls said that although he doesn’t condone the shooting, he is wondering whether it is “too much to ask our legislators to AT LEAST work 9-5. Especially since no real legislation passed this term.”
When contacted by Campus Reform, Qualls said that he tweeted as a concerned citizen, not a professor.
“I think all citizens can agree that we would like to see our elected officials do something (tax or healthcare reform, a budget, rational gun reform....anything),” he told Campus Reform. “Not a single piece of legislation has passed Congress and made it to the president's pen. Both parties need to do their jobs on a daily basis like the citizens they represent. That is why we send them to DC.”
Meanwhile, Robin Morris, a professor from Agnes Scott College, tweeted that she wishes “Steve Scalise a full recovery—except for the part of him that thinks a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
In an email to Campus Reform, Morris explained that she hopes the Republican lawmaker “will revisit his beliefs on gun control,” adding that she was “saddened, but not shocked by the shooting.”
“My tweet regarding Rep. Scalise meant to express that I hope he recovers fully, and that he will revisit his beliefs on gun control as so many of us who have been touched by gun violence have done,” she explained, while noting that she herself has lost two friends to gun violence and even witnessed a shooting when she was a teenager.
Morris went on to explain that while she is “not anti-gun,” she is “pro-gun sense,” saying she believes that “people have a right to guns for hunting and for protection—with proper background checks, licensing, and training.”
Notably, Morris later deleted one of her tweets in which she claimed that the shooter was still alive because of his race.
“Well we already knew it was a white guy who did the shooting. They got him into custody instead of killing him,” the tweet read, with Morris telling Campus Reform that she “made the mistake historians hate to do—I tweeted without enough evidence.”
“I have deleted that tweet. It was also insensitive to the family of James Hodgkinson who are experiencing their own grief, I am sure on many levels, today. I pray for all the families,” she added.
While several professors used Wednesday’s shooting as an opportunity to advocate for gun legislation, there was one professor, Mike Plugh, who did not, instead tweeting that “as a radical leftist college professor, I feel it’s important to hope that Steve Scalise gets a standing ovation if/when he returns for work.”
Plugh explained to Campus Reform that while he is not necessarily "against" professors speaking out on issues "when the situation is hot," he would opt to discuss such issues with his students "in a closed classroom setting."
"I think some people feel strongly about gun violence and gun control and feel that it's important to discuss it when the situation is hot. I'm not against that at all. I think uncomfortable times are important times for discourse too," he stated. "I would probably talk to my own students, in a closed classroom setting, about the tragedy of the event and raise questions about policy priorities, political lobbying, and cultural values."
Campus Reform also reached out to Emre, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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