Everyday, stuff happens. We wake up, brush our teeth, get dressed and get on with our day. We make decision. Should I get a small coffee or a medium? Should I smile at the cute guy who sits next to me in class or should I ignore his beautiful existence?
Sometimes, other stuff happens, and that stuff is usually described in a more eloquent way than using the word “stuff.”
Take for example, a mass shooting. A uniquely American problem, in 2015 we’ve had 294 mass shootings. Unfortunately, last week there was a particularly ugly one (although all mass shootings are particularly hideous).
On Oct. 1, a man with a history of mental illness went to his Oregon community college and shot nine victims dead, before taking his own life when the cops showed up. His reasoning was organized religion.
He allegedly asked students what their religion was before shooting them. If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head, if they replied with a different religion or did not reply, he shot then in less lethal places, like the leg.
Here’s how some of the 2016 Presidential nominees responded:
My prayers are with everyone in Oregon. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 1, 2015
Another senseless tragedy with more innocent people killed. Our hearts go out to the families. -B — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 1, 2015
Tweets won’t stop this. Thoughts and prayers won’t, either. Only real gun reforms will stop mass shootings from occurring nearly every day.
— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) October 1, 2015
Praying for all those affected by the horrific violence in Oregon. Thankful for the heroic actions of first responders and law enforcement.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 2, 2015
And then there was Jeb Bush. As the brother of former Pres. George W. Bush, we can expect that Jeb(!) might have a few problems while choosing his words.
Jeb Bush’s response to the mass shooting, in short, was “stuff happens.”
After ignoring most of the rest of his comments, the media went into a frenzy that only politics media a year from the election can get into. Opponents took advantage of perhaps the first significant gaffe of the season and slammed Bush for his “insensitive comments.”
Not that I agree with most of his policies and beliefs, but I believe that it’s important to really know where a politician stands, especially when they are running for the position of the President of the United States. (This is also why Martin O’Malley has been pushing for more Democratic debates before primary season begins).
Here’s the full context of Bush’s “stuff happens” soundbite:
“We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think that more government is necessarily the answer to this,” he said. “I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s just, it’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion — and I did, I had this, this challenge as governor, because we have, look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Regardless of your political affiliation, regardless of your beliefs, it’s still important to keep an open mind and try your best not to get sucked up in the black hole vortex of American presidential politics. It’s not just voting that makes a person a good citizen. It’s also being a well-informed citizen.