GOP Congressman Sessions blames gun violence on diversity

In the wake of the horrific shooting in Virginia last week, in which a reporter and cameraman were murdered on live television, America has gone through its familiar cycle of mourning and then dismissing gun deaths.

We are currently in the phase where everyone offers suggestions for what we could do to prevent shootings like these from happening in the future — suggestions that will almost certainly be ignored. And while the father of one of the victims has already said that he will make it his life’s mission to advocate for restrictions on access to handguns, Congressman Pete Sessions (R – TX) has some other ideas for how we can make our society less violent.

For starters, make it whiter:

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Said Sessions:

It has a lot to do with distrust of people. Chris, I have been in lots of societies, we could say like Japan, where they have a homogeneous society, where people are more alike. And we have this thought process that we have to have diversity in America. We all have to be ethnically completely apart but respect each other. And the bottom line is that we should and we need to work for that. But we have a group of people that are in our country that we’re afraid of — that have created chaos and confusion. And now our country is confused. And we need to carefully work back towards trusting each other and being together. 9/11 didn’t help, but we’ve got to go to that.

There’s a lot going on in that overtly racist word salad: Our problem is diversity, which apparently means respectful segregation. Which is actually a good thing! But maybe not right now. Because 9/11.

Pete Sessions, via Wikimedia Commons

Pete Sessions, via Wikimedia Commons

Sessions then went on to discuss his sponsorship of a bill that would deny federal funding for police departments operating in “sanctuary cities” that don’t actively prosecute undocumented immigrants. He closed by asserting that ten percent (!) of children born in the United States are “fraudulent,” i.e. born to non-citizen parents who came to the United States in order for their child to have American citizenship.

There are a lot of baffling explanations for gun violence, ranging from, as ThinkProgress compiled, “‘welfare moms,‘ gun-free zones, not enough guns, overmedicating kids, absent fathers, and video games.” But even for a Republican NRA apologist like Sessions, this one’s pretty bad. Sessions, who acknowledged the fact that shootings like the one in Virginia take place on literally a daily basis, has no problem ignoring the clear and negative correlation between the strength of gun laws and the prevalence of gun violence. Nope, it isn’t that. The problem is too much mixing of the races. As Hunter at DailyKos wrote, “You can’t expect Americans to keep a level head and not murder kids or theater patrons or news anchors when they’ve got all this diversity to work through.”

The Republican platform on gun violence has always been less “Crime, boy I dunno,” and more “Crime, something the coloreds do,” but this answer represented a confusing amalgam of the two. Diversity is all well and good, per se, but when we’ve got so many not-white people going around scaring us like this, what’s a good Texan to do?


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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