America has had far too many mass shootings and acts of terrorism this year. And by that, I mean “more than zero.” And in each of these horrible situations, we tend to go through the same exact cycle of grieving, however fruitless our prayers, wishes, and demands often are.

First we’re afraid, wondering when it will end. Then we’re angry, demanding to know how it could’ve happened. Then we mourn. And then the news cycle shifts, and we start to forget, at least until it happens all over again and we’re reminded of horrors past.

We’ve had so much unwanted practice that it becomes pretty easy to spot patterns in these disasters, and one such pattern is how Republicans react to mass violence… and who they end up blaming for those horrible acts.

The Golden Rule For Republicans: Blame The Victims First

Rule #1 for conservatives, and the golden rule for Republicans in general: blame the victims first. A victim of gun violence was clearly asking for trouble and inviting misery by not having a gun with them, the same way a woman dressing a certain way is telling the world she wants to be raped (another conservative talking point that needs to be put to bed).

Ignore the fact that so-called “good guys with guns” don’t actually exist, and that armed civilians almost never stop crimes (only about 3% of active shooter situations are stopped by armed civilians, according to an FBI study), or that police might very easily mistake you for a criminal and kill you, or that most shootings are surprise attacks carried out by gunmen who plan on having the drop on their unsuspecting victims… owning a gun makes you John McClane, as well as bulletproof, duh!

This also of course applies to any incident where an unarmed civilian is shot and killed by the police (or violent lunatics pretending to be police, like George Zimmerman), especially if that person is black. If the police suspect you of something, that means you’re guilty and should be put to death, regardless of the crime. How dare you blame the police for shooting unarmed robbery suspects? Who are you to criticize George Zimmerman for stalking an innocent unarmed teenager, physically assaulting him, and then using a gun to murder him when said victim defends himself and wins?

The Cheat Sheet: How To Always React To Mass Violence Like Republicans

Once you’re done thoroughly blaming the victims of gun violence, it’s time to take things a step further and clearly identify the root cause of the violence itself, the way only republicans really can. To accomplish this, you’ll need to review the following critical talking points:

If the shooter is black, they’re a violent, dangerous thug influenced by gangster rap and Spike Lee movies. #AllLivesMatter! It’s also Obama’s fault, because he’s black, they’re black… it’s almost like Obama was holding the gun himself.

If the shooter is Muslim, you shouldn’t be surprised, because come on… it’s Islam. Every Muslim on Earth is a violent terrorist who could snap and murder innocent Christian infidels at any given moment. It’s also Obama’s fault, because he’s secretly a Muslim, and Sharia Law will go into effect any day now, you’ll see!

If the shooter is a teenager, we clearly need to blame violent video games and Michelle Obama’s school lunches. And we should also blame Obama, because he’s married to the First Lady, and guilt by association is a real thing.

If the shooter is white, Christian, and/ or a conservative, then he’s obviously a lone wolf and a mentally-deranged individual. It’s clearly not terrorism, because come on, he isn’t a Muslim. And isn’t it obvious whose really to blame? Thanks, Obama.

Disregarding The Constants

Now that Republicans are done thoroughly deflecting the blame, it’s time to identify, and then immediately disregard, the constants; that guns kill, that gun violence is an epidemic, and that we shouldn’t do anything whatsoever to address the issue, because a person’s right to own a gun is far more critical than a person’s right to not be shot in the face and murdered to death.

So what comes next? President Obama should be impeached for suggesting we regulate firearms in any way, shape, or form. More Americans should buy guns, because that’s the only way we’ll ebb the tide of gun violence. And the best course of action is political inaction; if we do absolutely nothing at all, perhaps so many people will die in mass shootings that it’ll be impossible to find enough living people in one area to carry out an attack.

Republicans have become terrifyingly predictable in these situations, and no editorial or Internet meme is going to change that. Sadly, Republicans refuse to allow us to do much else than complain about it, because when it comes to legislative action, they’ve become shaolin masters at blocking and deflecting. If only Americans could stop bullets with as much efficiency as Republicans stop progress, gun violence might actually be wiped out. Sadly, the only way to stop a bullet is to absorb it.

Photo by Tony Webster