Cerabino: Gov. Scott’s plan to pray away gun violence needs a hotline


The phone rings. A recorded voice answers the call.

You have reached Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Rapid Response Center for Gun Violence. If you are calling to hear Gov. Scott’s plan to find remedies for mass shootings in America, such as the domestic abuser in Texas who shot and killed 26 people during a church service on Sunday, please listen carefully to the following options.

Press one for “thoughts.” Press two for “prayers.”

Presses two.

You have chosen “prayers.” Your call is important to us. Please hold the line. A representative will be with your shortly.

Representative: Good day. Who will I be praying with today?

Caller: I didn’t call to pray. I called for action. There needs to be a “Press 3 for action” option.

Representative: Sir, prayer is action. As Gov. Scott said in the response to the weekend massacre: “The most important thing we have to do is we need more prayer, first off, rather than less. We need to pray for these families. I’m going to pray for them.”

Caller: Gov. Scott’s in office to solve problems for the next set of families in danger of being shot and killed, not to play religious shaman. Furthermore, if God wanted to appoint a holy man to lead Florida, I doubt it would be a guy who took the Fifth Amendment 75 times against self-incrimination in a Medicare fraud lawsuit.

Representative: You sound a little tense. Let’s start singing together. A-mazing grace, how sweet the sound …

Caller: He should be fixing Florida’s weak laws when it comes to restricting firearms to domestic abusers.

Representative: … that saved a wretch like me …

Caller: Florida ought to have a law that requires the surrender of firearms by convicted domestic abusers. And the state should demand that private sellers conduct background checks to would-be gun buyers so stalkers, abusers and violent characters like the guy in Texas don’t get to act out their revenge fantasies.

Representative: … I once was lost …

Caller: In 57 percent of mass shootings during a recent five-year period, the shooter’s target was an intimate partner or a family member. The governor can protect Florida’s women with real action.

Representative: … but now am found …

Caller: Do you realize how ridiculous Scott’s prayer solution to gun violence is? The people who were just slaughtered in Texas were actually in the act of praying when they were killed.

Praying. Shot to death. Might want to consider a Plan B.

Representative: … was blind, but now I see.

Caller: Stop singing!

Representative: Can I send you a vanilla-scented candle and some grieving poetry?

Caller: What those people in that church needed was a better background check system and a law that bans military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, not another NRA-campaign-money recipient swaddled in piety.

Representative: Sir, I am here to pray away the violence. It’s the only thing we can do because of our very important Second Amendment. As the governor said this week, “I believe in the Second Amendment.”

Caller: That’s a dodge. The landmark Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller, written by Justice Antonin Scalia nine years ago, enshrined the right of individual gun ownership for the first time in our nation’s history. And in that case, even Scalia, the godfather of gun rights in America, made it clear that the government has a role in regulating the sale and use of weapons by its citizens.

Representative: Sir, it doesn’t sound like you’re in the mood for prayer today.

Caller: Scalia wrote that there is nothing in the Second Amendment that prohibits government regulation of “dangerous or unusual weapons.” And that nothing prohibits government from making “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Representative: If you’d like I can transfer you to our Thoughts Desk, which handles atheists, agnostics and confused Unitarians.

Caller: The people of Florida want sensible gun control. A Quinnipiac University poll from 2013 found that 91 percent of Florida voters favor background checks for all gun buyers. That’s an easy baby step for the governor to take.

Representative: I hear the Thoughts Desk just a got in a shipment of beach sunset posters and Sarah McLachlan compact discs. We can probably overnight a package to you, if you’d like.

Caller: This isn’t about healing. It’s about fixing. Gov. Scott knows what to do. He did it when those patients in the nursing home in Broward County died because their building lost power for days after Hurricane Irma. He offered a lot more than prayers in response to that tragedy.

He pushed for a law that requires nursing homes to have generator power that will run air conditioning for days in the event of a massive power outage.

Representative: Sir, we need to start praying or I’m going to have to take another call.

Caller: And when Gov. Scott opposed Obamacare after it became law, he didn’t just pray for it be unsuccessful in Florida. He took action to sabotage it, such as denying the Medicaid expansion and barring Obamacare navigators in county health departments to assist people to sign up for the exchanges.

He’s a guy who knows how to act when it suits him — whether it’s righting a wrong or wronging a right.

Representative: Thank you for calling Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Rapid Response Center for Gun Violence, sir. I hope the prayers we have shared today have given you great comfort and solace as we solve this problem together in the most effective way possible.



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