When Republicans take control of the House in January, it’s likely that Rep. James Comer (KY) will move from ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee to its chairman. After a back-and-forth with Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press" on gun crime, Comer pointed at a focus for his party that would have been nearly impossible to see coming: potential legislation or investigations centered on looting, says the Washington Post. Responding to a spate of mass-shootings, Todd asked Comer whether he supported any legislation addressing the issue. “If passing a bill would simply end gun violence, then I think you would have overwhelming support in Congress for that,” Comer said. Instead of laws, there needs to be better identification of those likely to commit crimes, which he suggested was downstream from the country’s “mental health crisis.
Todd pushed back: Would he then support a law implementing mandatory waiting periods, during which this purported mental health trigger might be identified? Congress would discuss it, Comer said. “We’re going to continue to protect our Second Amendment rights,” he told Todd, “but while at the same time we want to get serious about crime in America, the fentanyl crisis, as well as the looting that’s taking place in cities.” The idea that cities are riddled with looters is almost entirely a function of the right-wing media and Fox News. Yes, looting has occurred. Fox News has mentioned “looters” or “looting” in nearly 400 chunks of airtime this year, more than three times as often as has CNN or MSNBC. Fox News has covered looting so often because it is a particularly visceral (and non-bloody) iteration of its incessant “crime is out of control” narrative coming into the midterm elections. Comer says his party will focus heavily on fentanyl and looting, almost certainly because these are elements of the Fox-led crime narrative that have been a focus of attention.