Hours after a mass shooting, this is what candidates had to say about gun control.

It was around 5 p.m. CST on Thursday, Feb. 25, when an employee at a Kansas lawn care factory opened fire on his colleagues.

As always, there has been plenty of speculation about this man's motives and the past indications of his violent potential. But none of those details change the fact that he used a semi-automatic rifle to murder four people and injure 14 more, 10 of whom were put in critical condition.

This was the 49th time in 54 days that an armed American citizen has shot four or more people in a single assault.


Less than three hours later, the 10th Republican presidential debate kicked off in Houston, Texas.

Gun control is clearly a hot-button topic in America. So what did the candidates have to say about this most recent tragedy?

Oh, whoops, sorry: That was Carson talking about how he would select a new Supreme Court justice. (Though I'm still not sure exactly what that means?)

Wait, I messed up. That was Rubio smack-talkin' Apple for refusing to comply the FBI. My bad.

And that was also about the standoff between Apple and the FBI. Or maybe about Kasich's bathroom habits, I'm not really sure.

Ah crap, I screwed up again! That was actually in response to the less-than-flattering polling numbers that the co-hosting network reported for Trump. (And that should not be confused with the time he said "I love them" when asked about Telemundo later in the debate.)

D'oh! That wasn't about gun control, either! That was ... y'know, I'm still not exactly sure what that was about, other than Trump talking over Cruz, as Trump is wont to do.

Huh. Apparently no one said anything about it. In fact, no one mentioned the word "gun" at any point at all. Weird, right?

In his defense, John Kasich did make a comment after a different mass shooting one week earlier, where he at least said, "We have to take this issue seriously" and ... not much else of substance.

Other than that, it's pretty much a non-issue in the GOP. Like once Obama's out of the way, he'll stop taking all our guns, and we can all go back to killing each other like good Americans.

Let's hope we see something different at the next Democratic debate on Sunday, March 6. If nothing else, well, there's always Judicial Fruit Salad. Maybe that'll save us from the wrong end of an AK.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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