Dem rep slams moments of silence, urges action after Las Vegas shooting

Dem rep slams moments of silence, urges action after Las Vegas shooting
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Did Congress just settle for less than best plan to reform housing finance? MORE (D-Conn.) on Tuesday slammed Congress's moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, arguing that such symbolic gestures ultimately fall short of the concrete action needed to address gun violence.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Himes said instead of holding a moment of silence, lawmakers would "best honor the victims of brutal violence by preventing a similar tragedy from happening again."

"They will tell you it’s 'too soon' to discuss policy in the aftermath of this shooting," Himes wrote. "That it dishonors the dead to 'politicize' the tragedy. They will insist, instead, on meaningless moments of silence designed to look compassionate and hide our inaction. Malarkey."

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"Gun violence in this country is epidemic, and not a day passes without a gun-related tragedy. We can’t wait for the bloodshed to pause to start talking about the change that might save lives. The time to have these conversations and make the necessary reforms is now." 

Himes said he chose to boycott a moment of silence for the Las Vegas victims on Monday and had similarly done so after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., last year. His intention, he said, was not to be disrespectful, but rather to press for legislative action to curb gun violence.

"Last year, after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I decided in desperation that I would not participate in any more empty moments of silence, prayer or sympathy in the only body that could slow the carnage," he wrote.

At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured Sunday night when the suspected shooter, identified as 64-year-old James Paddock of Mesquite, Nev., opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. 

Paddock had fired on the crowded music festival from his hotel room of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He reportedly killed himself as SWAT teams stormed the hotel room.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE condemned the attack as "an act of pure evil" on Monday. He is expected to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.