It’s an all-too-familiar pattern in American public life: when a mass shooting occurs, Republicans and conservatives strain to avoid talking about guns, instead offering up explanations and prescriptions that conveniently sidestep the millions of firearms in circulation.
Following this weekend’s twin massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, it was more of the same. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that video games were to blame. Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick is desperate to make it about ANTIFA. And President Trump, true to form, has placed the onus on the “fake news” media to help stop the violence.
But even amid all that deflection, one Ohio lawmaker stands out among the rest. Her name is Candice Keller, and she’s a Republican state house representative whose district is in the southwestern part of the state, roughly 50 miles to the south of Dayton, where a gunman killed nine people early Sunday morning just hours after another shooter unleashed a massacre in El Paso that has left 22 dead as of this writing.
In a breathless Facebook post, Keller, who is a member of the NRA, the United States Conceal Carry Association, and the Buckeye Firearms Association, made it clear that she has had enough of the finger-pointing from the left. “After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game,” Keller wrote. “Why not place the blame where it belongs?” What followed was a torrent of liberal boogeymen—from “drag queen advocates” to professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem, “homosexual marriage” to “the acceptance of recreational marijuana.” Oh, and also “snowflakes.”
“Did I forget anybody?” she wrote at the end of the screed. “The list is long. And the fury will continue.”
The post quickly caught the attention of reporters. When she was contacted by a journalist from the Dayton Daily News, who read the entirety of her statement, Keller said it sounded familiar but she was unaware if it had been altered in any way. The post has subsequently been taken down but screenshots have been widely circulated online.
The comments have been widely denounced by local officials in Butler County, Ohio, which is part of the district that Keller represents. Butler County Democratic Party Chairman Brian Hester told the Dayton Daily News that Keller “is an embarrassment to her party, to conservatives, to Butler County and to the state Legislature.”
“She loves to fan the flames and play the role of victim here, not the nine people who were killed….She is fundamentally unfit for office,” Hester said. Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, a Republican, called for Keller’s resignation. “Those people aren’t even buried yet and she came out with these comments,” Jones said. “She should resign because she doesn’t represent our party. She doesn’t represent any party.”