Heads are spinning this morning over an interview of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton on the Fox News Channel in response to yesterday’s tragic school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas–an interview in which Stapleton showed himself to be painfully unprepared to discuss one of the nation’s most critical issues:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 19, 2018
The interview begins with the host–we don’t know his name given all the turnover at Fox News recently–asking Stapleton what he would do to improve school security. Stapleton responds with a call (see Tweet) for an “armed public safety official in all our schools.” That sounds fine, except when you realize there was an armed officer at yesterday’s shooting. Just like there was at nearly all of these shootings including Columbine.
This is like “showing leadership” by calling for all automobiles to have brakes.
But then at about 40 seconds into the clip, it gets much worse:
ANCHOR: Would you go as far as Governor Scott did in Florida with his state legislature?
STAPLETON: Uh, I-I I don’t know, how how, I don’t really know about Governor Scott’s, uh what measures Governor Scott took in Florida, [Pols emphasis] but I uh would go as far as to have the state of Colorado make sure that we have a single point of entry, metal detectors, public safety officials who are armed at every school…
ANCHOR: Well here hold on, I’ll help you–I’ll help you with what Governor Scott did, three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns, raising the minimum age to buy those weapons to 21, banning possession of bump stocks, which uh can make semiautomatic weapons fire like an automatic weapon. Are you good with those?
STAPLETON: I think, Nah, I think bump stocks is a federal issue with the ATF that actually was passed during the Obama years, so that’s not really a state issue.
ANCHOR: So, a three day waiting period or raise the age to 21?
STAPLETON: I, ah, no. I don’t think that those are practical steps…
Let’s break this down. You have the leading Republican candidate for governor of Colorado on national cable news to talk about school shootings, and he didn’t even do any research about what the Republican governor of Florida Rick Scott did in response to the previous major school shooting incident in that state. Once the obliging Fox News anchor recites all of the steps Florida took after the Parkland shooting, Stapleton declares that none of them are good ideas. Stapleton even dodges the question of bump stocks by blaming them on “the Obama years” without ever even saying clearly they should be banned. But by this time, it’s clear to everyone watching that Stapleton doesn’t know what he’s talking about–so who cares what he thinks?
If you’re among the nearly-unanimous American public and even majority of Republican voters who agree that we can and must do more to prevent gun violence, this interview was a horrifying display of incompetence thinly concealed by outdated talking points. If you’re one of the diehard gun-rights supporters Stapleton was pandering to in this interview, you should be just as horrified that someone with so little knowledge about this issue wants to be the governor of a gun-rights battleground like Colorado.
Either way, it’s quite a thing to witness again just how bad Walker Stapleton is at this.