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GOP Congresswoman Says Grocery Store Porn Is 'Root Cause' of School Shootings

"Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there."
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
May 30, 2018, 6:33pm
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Republicans have long insisted that porn is destroying America, and GOP lawmakers have been quietly waging war on it in state legislatures for years—even if some of them seem to enjoy the stuff themselves. Now, a Tennessee congresswoman is taking the unfounded claim that porn is evil to new heights—arguing it's somehow a "root cause" of America's school shooting epidemic.

Diane Black, a Republican representative running for governor of Tennessee, made the comment at a listening session with a roomful of ministers last week, the Huffington Post reports. Discussing what she called the "root causes" of school shootings, she brushed off the fact that America is home to more than five times as many guns as any other country, instead pinning the blame on violent movies, the "deterioration of the family," and smut.

"It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store," Black said. "Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there's pornography there. All of this is available without parental guidance. And I think that is a big part of the root cause."

Black didn't elaborate on her theory, so it's unclear exactly how she draws a connection between watching people bang and perpetrating a mass killing. Nor did she answer the only slightly less perplexing question of what the hell kind of grocery store she goes to. Isn't grocery store porn just a weird subreddit, or is that really a thing? There's no way Publix has some kind of designated porno aisle. And how tall are these shelves?

The audio recording Huffpost obtained of Black's comments only lasts about two and a half minutes, so, unfortunately, it looks like those pressing questions might never be answered. But when asked if Black really meant that watching porn could lead to something like, say, the Parkland shooting, or the massacre at a high school in Texas earlier this month, her spokesman, Chris Hartline, doubled down.

"I think the context is pretty clear," he told CNN. "Diane believes the breakdown of families and communities plays a significant role in instances of school violence."

The idea that we could somehow address America's school shooting problem by cracking down on porn is, surely, a stretch. But it's not much worse than what Republicans and some school districts have come up with so far, like arming teachers with comically small baseball bats, or encouraging kids to fight their attackers with fire extinguishers and rocks. Or, you know, doing absolutely nothing.

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