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Ron Johnson (shown here at last month's Republican State Convention in Middleton) lies to distract voters from the real reason why gunmen slaughter U.S. schoolchildren at a rate unseen in other countries.

The murder of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, by a semiautomatic-rifle wielding teenager — coming just days after the murder of 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket by another semiautomatic-rifle wielding teenager — gave Americans an opportunity to respond to the latest evidence that this country is experiencing an epidemic of gun violence.

Sane people responded with horror and a sense of duty to address the crisis.

“The horrific news out of Texas is every parent’s worst nightmare. Our kids should be able to go to school without the fear of being gunned down,” said Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who complained that “Washington has failed to protect them from gun violence at every turn."

“Enough!” said Godlewski. “For the sake of our children, we need action.”

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said: “The tragedy in Uvalde was the 27th school shooting in America this year. Twenty-seven times, kids went to school and were met with horror and death. We are the only nation where this could happen 27 times and nothing would be done to prevent a 28th. We cannot live this way any longer.”

Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry struck a similar note, saying: “Once again, children are dead. Once again, our country is facing another mass shooting. Once again, we mourn and pray. But these children and families need more than thoughts and prayers.”

“We need action and we need it now,” said Lasry, who declared that the time has come to “end gun violence!”

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson asked people to think more deeply about the meaning of freedom in a society that claims to value individual liberty.

“Freedom is not worrying about whether or not your children make it through the school day alive or not. This madness must end, “ said Nelson. “From Texas to New York City to Laguna Woods to Buffalo, mass shootings have shocked the conscience of this nation over recent weeks. We must enact serious gun violence legislation that gets at the heart of this epidemic so we no longer have to live in constant fear of the next tragedy. It begins by dismantling the NRA (National Rifle Association) and defeating politicians like Ron Johnson who empower them.”

The reference to Johnson refers to the fact that Nelson — like Godlewski, Barnes and Lasry — hopes to be the Democratic nominee against Wisconsin’s senior senator this fall.

And what of Johnson? What did the Republican senator have to say about the slaughter of 19 children and two of their teachers?

Ron Johnson blamed teachers.

Seriously. The senator appeared on the Fox Business cable channel to announce, “We stopped teaching values in so many of our schools. Now we’re teaching wokeness. We’re indoctrinating our children with things like CRT,” referring to critical race theory.

That was an absurd statement — so absurd that Fox anchor Neil Cavuto pointed out that "these shootings, senator, were going on long before CRT and wokeness, right?"

Johnson’s response was to amplify his lies.

"I think CRT has been going on under the radar for quite some time as well," he said. "Wokeness has been. Liberal indoctrination has been. This is a much larger issue than what a simple new gun law is going to solve.”

Using the massacre of schoolchildren as an excuse to try and make a point about critical race theory — the academic construct that argues for the honest teaching of the role of race in American history — is, of course, pathetic.

Critical race theory is taught in law schools, not at Robb Elementary School In Uvalde.

What Johnson was really complaining about was the fact that many elementary and secondary schools have established age-appropriate curriculums that teach the real history of the United States, as opposed to the dumbed-down and sanitized version preferred by right-wing politicians. Teachers in these schools are preparing students for college and adulthood. They should be praised, not attacked.

Unfortunately, there's a method to Johnson's madness.

As buffoonish as the senator may seem, he knows exactly what he is doing when he spins outrageous fantasies in order to distract voters from the real reason why gunmen in the United States slaughter schoolchildren at a rate unseen in other countries.

For more than a decade, Johnson has served in the U.S. Senate as a stooge of the gun lobby that accepts the sacrifice of 10- and 11-year-old children in order to enrich the manufacturers of weapons of war.

The Republican senator is an emotional and intellectual weakling who has always understood that he cannot appeal to the voters of Wisconsin on his own merits. So he relies on the bottom feeders of American politics to help him maintain his grip on a Senate seat where he can vote to lower his own taxes — and those of his billionaire campaign donors.

Ron Johnson has no shame, nor any moral compass. He will say anything to get reelected, which is precisely why this sick and twisted liar must be denied a chance to do any more harm.

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