Chris Murphy actually got something right for once

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy usually doesn’t get much of anything right when it comes to politics. I’ve disagreed with him on just about everything he’s ever opened his mouth on.


Yet despite that, I’ve always believed that I’ll acknowledge anyone who gets something right, even if I disagree with them on everything else, and Murphy actually got something right.

What’s more, it’s something that’s part of the gun debate, surprisingly enough.

No, Murphy didn’t suddenly show some appreciation for the right to keep and bear arms. Instead, he simply took issue with something former Vice President Mike Pence said.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) criticized former Vice President Mike Pence’s proposal to give arrested mass shooters the death penalty, saying the remarks show his ignorance on the topic.

The proposal “shows how little Mike Pence understands about the gun violence epidemic in this country,” Murphy said in a CBS interview on Tuesday.

“Fact is, most mass shooters are engaged in a suicide attempt,” he continued. “Mike Pence doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says that he thinks mass shootings will go down if you threaten to kill the people who are carrying them out. They are, in fact, seeking to die.”

Murphy is one of the Senate’s most vocal gun control advocates. He has also led bipartisan attempts to pass gun control legislation in the Senate.

He said that aims to curb mass shootings should not be focused on punishment, but on prevention.


Now, when it comes to what prevention actually means, Murphy and I diverge significantly, but he’s right about Pence’s suggestion. I also think deterrence can be a good thing, but it can’t be penalties in the sentencing phase, but armed resistance at the scene. That’s something Murphy isn’t going to agree with me on.

The death penalty only works as a deterrent if people are both afraid of it and believe there’s a likelihood they’ll be caught and face it.

With mass shooters, they’re not exactly afraid of dying. I mean, most of them actually intend to die at the scene, they just want to take a lot of people with them in the process. As such, the death penalty isn’t likely to do all that much.

It’s also not like states don’t already have the death penalty. Many already do, especially for things like premeditated murder. I’m pretty sure a mass shooting falls under the heading of “premeditated,” yet they still happen.

Take Jacksonville, as an example.

Florida has the death penalty. It’s had it for years. That didn’t deter the shooter in Jacksonville in the least.


So there’s reason to believe that Murphy is, in fact, right about the death penalty having no impact as a mass shooting deterrent.

I get where Pence is coming from, but it’s not likely to accomplish a damn thing except sitting well with the base during primary season.

Unfortunately, mass shootings require real solutions. Just as gun control is no answer, I’m afraid the death penalty for people who want to die anyway isn’t an answer either.

Murphy got this right, but don’t get excited. Blind squirrels occasionally find nuts, after all.

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