In what has become a numbingly familiar routine in the United States, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asked for a moment of silence on the House floor to honor the victims of the latest mass shooting.
ABC News reports that Speaker Ryan called the moment of silence as a way to remember the forty nine victims who died in the Orlando night club shooting. Many Democrats chose not to participate in yet another empty gesture, and several walked out of the House chamber as the members stood in silence.
One of the Democrats who walked out on the symbolic gesture was Connecticut Representative Jim Hines. His district is very close to Newtown, where 20 young children and six adults were murdered by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Earlier in the day, Hines said he would not participate in any more moments of silence. He called such gestures a waste, calling them“obnoxious expressions of smug incompetence.”
After the brief moment of contemplation, Speaker Ryan tried to move right on with the day’s agenda, voting on a bill that relates to technology research. Democrats in the chamber began to shout at him, with a rare display of anger and frustration in the usually sedate Congressional Chamber. They yelled“Where’s the bill?” and “No leadership!”
Democrats are enormously frustrated by Republican stonewalling on gun safety. After every mass shooting, there are attempts made in Congress to increase safety. Only four months after the children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a bipartisan bill to improve background checks was stopped cold by the GOP. Democrats have had enough.
As the Speaker of the House tried to move on to the next bill without even addressing the question of gun violence, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) tried to ask a question. He wanted to ask when gun bills would be addressed. Speaker Ryan ruled him out of order, and ignored the entire question.
Democrats are feeling increasingly frustrated and angry about the lack of progress toward any gun safety measures at all. Last December another moment of silence was held for the victims in San Bernardino. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) talked about it in a speech:
“We need to stand up, speak up, and take actions rather than another moment of silence. It is deafening, and it is killing us.”
You can see the outrage in the video below.
Featured image via YouTube screengrab.