Florida Gov. Rick Scott called for more prayers when asked about way to prevent mass shootings days after a gunman killed 26 people at a Texas church because that has been working well so far.
Scott made the remarks during a Jacksonville news conference after backlash to an earlier tweet where he said he was praying for the Texas victims instead of proposing possible concrete solutions like better background checks, limiting access to assault weapons or really, anything he learned after Florida had its own mass shooting last year where 49 people died at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.
"The most important thing we have to do is we need more prayer, first off, rather than less," Scott said when asked if Republicans would finally take action beyond prayers. "We need to pray for all these families. Last week we had a terrorist attack in New York City, and we need to pray for when these things happen. It's horrible when these things happen. It's evil when these things happen. So whether it's the terrorist attack with a truck, whether it's somebody doing what they did in the church in the San Antonio area, I'm going to pray for them. We know it's evil. I believe in the Second Amendment. I just wish there was no evil in the world."
Scott goes on to use the word "evil" multiple times when discussing the Sutherland Springs shooter.
"It's evil, whatever you want to call it," Scott said. "It's evil what happened. It's evil what happened with the terrorist that happened in New York, it was a terrorist inspired by ISIS. …Evil is evil kills."
By calling the shooter's act "evil," Scott makes it seem that mass shootings one after another after another are senseless acts by wicked people that can't be stopped by lawmakers or anyone for that matter. But mass shootings do have patterns, on the type of guns used, the astronomical availability of weapons and previous dangerous behavior. Of course, we'd probably know more about these patterns if we could study them, but federal lawmakers don't seem to be giving up their 22-year ban on gun violence research for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When Scott was later asked by a reporter on what specific action he would take to prevent mass shootings such as Pulse and Sutherland Springs, the governor, of course, offered some more prayers for the families whose lives have been irredeemably changed.
"The first thing we need to do is to take care of all the families," Scott said. "After the Pulse attack, I spent quite a bit of time there talking to families and mourning with them. … We're at a 46-year low in our crime rate. Last year in my budget I had 46 counter-terrorism experts with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Those are the types of things I'm going to continue to focus on."
In a statement, Scott's office later said, "Governor Scott believes that no man who spends a year in jail for abusing his wife and child should be able to purchase or own a gun. The Governor strongly supports the Second Amendment but this is not acceptable."