Jeff Sessions Just Tried to Blame Florida School Shooting on Gang Violence

Too bad Parkland, Florida, has been rated one of the country’s safest cities.

In response to Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Attorney General Jeff Sessions implied, in a speech to a sheriff’s convention in Washington on Thursday, that cracking down on gang violence could prevent school shootings. 

“When parents once again go to sleep fearful that their kids will not be safe, even when they go to school—parents have told me in gang-infested neighborhoods that children can no longer stand at the bus stop by themselves, they take turns, parents do, of being out there every morning and afternoon,” he said. “So we’ve gotta confront the problem. There’s not doubt about it.”

The problem with the statement is that in this case, the shooter had no known gang ties (though some have reported he was linked to a white supremacist group, Republic of Florida). What’s more, Parkland was just named Florida’s safest city in 2017, according to an analysis by the Washington-based National Council for Home Safety and Security. Located just outside the Florida everglades, and about an hour out of Miami, the city is “an affluent one that’s intentionally designed to mimic a park,” according to the council’s website.

Sessions also said that “effective enforcement” of current gun laws, and “focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people” could reduce gun violence. “It is not good if we got gun laws that say criminals can’t carry guns and they never get enforced. So we intend to enforce our laws,” he said.

In Thursday’s address, Sessions notably did not mention stronger laws aimed at preventing the shooter from obtaining the military-style rifle in the first place.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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