In their final showdown before Super Tuesday states go to the polls next week, the remaining five Republican candidates — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson — gathered in Houston, Texas, for their 10th primary debate.
Since it was the first debate after Trump trumped them all in Nevada caucuses, Cruz and Rubio (as expected) spent majority of their time taking turns trying to derail billionaire reality TV star’s front-runner status.
Truthfully, the event mostly featured dramatic finger-wagging, White House hopefuls hurling personal insults at each other, extended shouting matches over who is the biggest liar and well, bizarre metaphors about “fruit salads.” However, they all forgot (read: deliberately ignored) to mention the tragic mass shooting that took place only about an hour before the debate began.
A gunman, who the police have identified as Cedric Ford, killed three people at a manufacturing plant in central Kansas, after driving around and opening fire on others. The shooting spree left 14 others wounded and only ended when police killed the gunman.
It was the 49th mass shooting of 2016, following a similar rampage that occurred last weekend in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when an Uber driver allegedly killed six people.
As many as 6 people may have been killed in Kansas and as 30 more were injured tonight— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) February 26, 2016
But nothing about gun policy at #GOPDebate
But it seemed that neither of the incidents, or the broader issue of gun control, merited a discussion at CNN’s latest presidential debate.
Keeping the Republican Party’s stance toward gun laws and the Second Amendment in mind, it’s rather easy to assume that asking these candidates about the shootings may have been unproductive. After all, when the topic did come up in North Charleston’s GOP debate earlier last month, the candidates spent majority of their time criticizing President Barack Obama’s executive actions on firearms. In fact, Rubio even went as far as to accuse the president of trying to confiscate everyone’s guns in the country.
Of course there's a question about San Bernardino shooter's iPhone at the #GOPDebate, yet no mention whatsoever of tonight's Kansas shooting— Catherine Thompson (@KT_thomps) February 26, 2016
However, discussing the topic or even acknowledging these tragic incidents would have at least given the impression that the presidential contenders are interested in curbing them. Instead, their silence suggested they didn’t care at all.
The same goes for moderators Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, Hugh Hewitt and Maria Celeste Arraras, who collectively completely lost control of the debate by the end.
The only Republican presidential hopeful to comment on the Kansas shooting rampage outside of the debate was Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Shocked by the senseless act of violence in Kansas early this evening. Prayers for strength for all the victims & families affected. -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) February 26, 2016
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