It is indisputable that an individual who sprays the crowd with bullets is the person who is directly responsible for the casualties resulting from the epidemic of mass shootings that has plagued this country for more than 20 years.
He may be directly responsible, but there are always contributing factors, and one major contributing factor is Donald J. Trump, president of the United States.
Both his unceasing hate-filled rhetoric and his hate-filled actions during his presidency have brought that same energy to the mainstream and at a level that has never been seen before in any previous presidential administration.
It has directly fueled the hatred that inspired each of the more recent mass shooters from the synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh to the garlic festival in Gilroy, California to the Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3.
The mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which resulted in nine people being killed, has brought the total in 2019 to 253 mass shootings with a death count of 273 innocent people (according to Gun Violence Archive).
Sadly, very sadly, there is no longer anything this president can say that could contribute to changing the mindsets of these now radicalized white supremacists who account for most of these hate-fueled mass executions of innocent lives whether they be in schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, night clubs or any other place in America that should be safe but are not any longer in America.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that he can say because even if he read a prepared statement off a teleprompter, as Trump did in the aftermath of the Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist demonstration, his followers know he does not really mean it.
They know that his words have no meaning.
They know that he spoke those words because he was pressured to do so. They know that he really did not mean what he said because he has demonstrated time and time again always to walk back those very words he was pressured to speak. There were not some “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville.
Recently, the far-right Supreme Court ruled that Trump was in his rights as president to declare a national emergency at the southern border to move already allocated money for other projects to fulfill his campaign promise to build his wall on that border with Mexico.
If you think building a wall that will take decades to complete even if its construction is started immediately is a real national emergency, do you think the epidemic of hate-fueled mass shootings across this nation is not also a national emergency and one of far greater magnitude than the need for a wall?
The list is too numerous to provide here, but let me share with you some of the more recent mass shootings which clearly give the United States its well-earned place as the gun capital and mass killing capital of the world.
- August 4, 2019: Dayton, Ohio, at a bar, nine dead, 27 injured.
- August 3, 2019: El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart during back-to-school sales, 22 dead, 24 injured.
- July 28, 2019: Gilroy, California, at a garlic festival, four dead including a 6-year-old and a 13-year-old, 13 injured.
- June 8, 2019: White Swan, Washington, Yakama, Indian Reservation, five dead.
- May 31, 2019: Virginia Beach, Virginia, city public works building, 13 dead, five injured.
- October 27, 2018: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tyree of Life Synagogue, 11 dead.
- June 28, 2018: Annapolis, Maryland, Capital Gazette, five dead.
- May 18, 2018: Santa Fe, Texas, Santa Fe High School, eight students and two teachers dead, 13 injured.
- February 14, 2018: Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 students and staff dead.
- November 5, 2017: Sutherland Springs, Texas, small church, more than 27 dead.
- October 1, 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada, outdoor music festival, 59 dead and more than 500 injured.
Thoughts and prayers alone do not seem to be doing much to stem neither the violence, the hatred nor the death toll, but there is hope thanks to Trump and the Supreme Court. As the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for…”
Let the next Democrat who finds him or herself in the Oval Office of the White House consider the precedent that the current occupant has set regarding declaring national emergencies.
Let the new Democratic president in 2021, a president who is likely to face the same Republican obstructionism faced by former U.S. President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre unless Democrats not only keep the House but retake the Senate with 60 seats, declare a national emergency and get all assault rifles out of the hands of the public. All, I said. All.
Let the next president follow the lead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, a true leader who put the safety of her citizens ahead of the profits of gun manufacturers, and achieved an assault weapons ban in about a month’s time after the attack on two mosques in which 50 worshipers were murdered. Enough is enough.
Maybe the one thing, the only thing that Trump will have done to stem the rash of mass shootings is to have established the precedent for his Democratic successor to circumvent the McConnell elephant graveyard of House-passed legislation such as HR 8 which was passed in the Democratic-led House and offered common-sense gun safety solutions.
This bill lays dormant on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s desk and is held back from even a vote on the Senate floor to protect Republican Senators from having to go on record as NOT supporting much-needed gun legislation.
You want change? Vote these gun safety obstructionists out of office. Twenty years of doing nothing is 20 years too long.