Jeb Bush has come under fire in the wake of the deadly Umpqua Community College shooting after saying that “stuff happens” in reference to the tragedy. Bush was attempting to make a larger point, but the perceived callousness of his remarks invited a deluge of criticism from both traditional and social media.
Speaking at the Conservative Leadership Project, presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was asked about gun control laws.
Bush gave an answer that probably sounded good in his head, and was consistent with stance on gun control, but many saw it as a callous reaction to an event that he had previously referred to as “very sad.”
“I had this challenge as governor because we had—look, stuff happens,” Bush replied to the Conservative Leadership Project audience member. “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
When asked if he misspoke, Bush stood by the statement. In fact, he didn’t seem to understand why anyone had a problem with what he said, as if the issue was that he used the word, “stuff” instead of a different term.
“No, it wasn’t a mistake,” Bush said of his statement. “I said exactly what I said. Explain to me what I said wrong.”
The reporter pointed out that Bush had said “stuff happens,” which just seemed to confuse the presidential hopeful even more.
“Things happen all the time,” Bush elaborated. “Things. Is that better?”
Bush was lambasted on social media over the comments, with the hashtag #stuffhappens accompanying a variety of attacks, memes, and questionable attempts at humor, considering the tragedy at the heart of the situation.
— Benny (@BRios82) October 2, 2015
— TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) October 2, 2015
— Goldy (@GoldyHA) October 2, 2015
According to the New York Times, the point that Bush was trying to make was that legislative responses to tragedies don’t always have the intended consequences.
When asked to elaborate about what stuff happens, Bush named several types of events that can have legislative responses that may or may not prevent further tragedies from happening.
“Tragedies. A child drowned in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools. Well it may not change it. Or you have a car accident and the impulse is to pass a law that deals with that unique event. And the cumulative effect of this is, in some cases, you don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder to protect liberty.”
When asked for a response to Jeb Bush’s comments, President Obama said, “I don’t think I even have to react to that one.”
NBC News reports that Bush was not specifically referring to the deadly Oregon shooting when he said “stuff happens,” but was instead referring to the tendency to legislate away personal liberties in the wake of tragedies.
While he stood behind his statement that stuff happens, Bush also took to social media to accuse Democrats and the media of distorting his words.
More importantly, go here to support OR victims through the Greater Douglas United Way and Umpqua Bank Relief Fund: http://t.co/SmrxPUlNrb
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 2, 2015
Bush’s campaign also released a statement condemning Democrats and the media.
“It is sad and beyond craven that liberal Democrats, aided and abetted by some in the national media, would dishonestly take Governor Bush’s comments out of context in a cheap attempt to advance their political agenda in the wake of a tragedy. Taking shameless advantage of a horrific tragedy is wrong and only serves to prey on people’s emotions.”
Now that you’ve heard Bush’s entire statement that surrounded the “stuff happens” comment, and heard his reasoning, do you think his words were twisted, or do you think it was really as callous as it sounds out of context?
[Photos by Sean Rayford, Ethan Miller / Getty Images News]