Commenter Richao:

To all the commenters on this thread criticizing Republican candidates for president for not Doing Something, what exactly do you propose that they do? For all of you suggesting that offering thoughts and prayers is somehow meaningless, how is it any more meaningless than, say, this from Hillary: “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now. -H”? A call for some unspecified “action” is meaningful in what state of the world?

Let’s get down to brass tacks: What is the potential for any politically feasible “action” to materially reduce the future likelihood of these types of mass shootings? Be honest. Be specific. Spell it out for me, because from what I can see, no “action” that Hillary or Obama has proposed would even begin to make a difference. Rather, those proposals would further expand the authority of our already overbearing criminal justice system, as innocent folks, most of them working class, many of them minorities, inadvertently foot-fault into technical violations of ever more complex criminal statutes.

Now, some of you recognize this. You want us to move in the direction of Australia or the UK. Fine. That might actually reduce the number of these types of shootings. Maybe. But just how do you propose to acheive this? You face the dual hurdle of the Second Amendment–which under the current Court would not permit the type of across-the-board prohibition and confiscation that would be required–and massive political resistance (and not just the NRA and supine Republican politicians; I suspect a significant majority of the American public would oppose this type of solution). If this is the only solution that would work, why aren’t these sneering commentators pushing for Hillary to endorse such a solution: Repeal of the Second Amendment and confiscation of firearms. Let’s see some political courage here, particularly if your opponents aren’t the American people but only the NRA and feckless Republicans. Let’s have that fight.

But if such reforms were to pass – or the President were to attempt to act unilaterally – how exactly do you propose to actually confiscate the guns? Tell me, please, how we get there from here; chart it out for me, step by step. Americans aren’t, last I checked, Australians.

So, here we are: Republican candidates call for thoughts and prayers and get pilloried for it. Hillary calls for, let’s be frank, something so ambiguously amorphous that it amounts to absolutely nothing; or worse than nothing, since she implies that there is something that can be done (politically, legally, constitutionally) in terms of gun control that would actually reduce these types of shooting that isn’t being done. And the Republicans and their “thoughts and prayers” are uniquely useless here?

Give me a break.