In a since-made-private Facebook post, Ohio representative Candice Keller blamed gay marriage and “drag queen advocates,” among a litany other things, for mass shootings.
This weekend’s shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas were the 254th and 255th mass shootings this year in the U.S.
A mass shooting is generally defined as an incident in a public place where at least four people are shot, so the statistics don’t account for the hundreds of thousands of other gun-violence incidents that occur every day.
On Sunday, following the Dayton shooting where the killer murdered nine people, including his sister, Keller took to Facebook to rant about what she said she believed are the sources of this problem.
“After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game,” she begins. “Why not place the blame where it belongs?”
Related Story: Ask the Chairman: Gun Violence and Domestic Terrorism Need Solutions
She goes on the cite “the breakdown of the traditional American family,” thanks to “transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates” as primary cause of mass shootings. The post continues, also calling out fatherlessness, violent video games, open borders, relaxed laws against criminals, recreational marijuana, failed school policies, disrespect to law enforcement (which she blames on former President Obama), hatred of veterans, those who kneel during the national anthem, the Democratic Congress, a culture that “ignores the importance of God and the church,” officeholders who “have no interest whatsoever in learning about our Constitution and the Second Amendment” and, finally, “snowflakes.”
To fact check the relevance of some of Keller’s claims, both of the suspected mass shooters were white men who were U.S. citizens. Neither was “fatherless.”
Though Keller claims laws against criminals are “relaxed,” 2.3 million people are incarcerated nationwide, according to prisonpolicy.org. That’s more than any other country in the world. As far as her claim of “open borders” goes, the U.S. has the world’s largest immigration detention system. As of May, a record high of 52,000 people were in ICE custody.
The El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, may face hate-crime charges, as investigators found an online manifesto they linked to him, condemning a “Hispanic invasion” and claiming “race mixing” leads to “identity problems.” The Walmart he attacked was on the U.S.-Mexico border, with many Mexican citizens crossing over daily to shop. He likely drove over nine hours away from his home in Allen, Texas to target it. Posts on Crusius’ Twitter page suggested he is a Trump supporter.
Connor Betts, the Dayton shooter, claimed to be a “leftist” on social media, but also tweeted about his love for guns.
Referring to the “blame game,” Keller was likely referring to Democrats calling out Trumpism and guns as contributing factors to violence. As of Aug. 5, #TrumpResignNow was trending on Twitter, with over 13,000 tweets.
Many people, including 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates have blamed President Trump’s racist rhetoric for emboldening these shooters. Trump denounced white supremacy in a statement Aug. 5, but did not acknowledge how his anti-immigrant stance could have played a role in the El Paso shooting.
Related Story: El Paso Shooting Victims Drove Home Out of Fear of ICE Agents at Hospitals
This year, Trump even joked as an attendee at one of his rallies yelled out “shoot them!” in response to him asking what to do about migrants.
The guns in both shootings were each obtained through legal means.
Other Ohio politicians spoke out against Keller’s incendiary post, Richard Jones, the Butler County Sheriff tweeted, “Shame shame shame Candice Keller.”
Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach tweeted, urging people to call Middletown Republican’s Columbus office and share what they thought about the post.
Ohio State Representative Candice Keller (represents Middletown, Ohio) says the shootings happened because of my marriage to Craig.
And "drag queen advocates" ME AGAIN!
And Open Borders.
Let her know what you think. 614-644-5094 pic.twitter.com/pfo0xektjn
— Chris Seelbach (he/him) (@ChrisSeelbach) August 4, 2019
Keller has not spoken to the media about her post, but confirmed to the Cincinnati Enquirer that she wrote the post and that it is still on her Facebook page, though no longer public.