After a weekend of horror, President Donald Trump finally stepped up. This was Teleprompter Trump, not himself. We could tell because he got visibly angry as he read this. He went so far as to weakly condemn White Supremacy, racism and other ideologies of hate. His speechwriter went so far as to call for their destruction.
It was obvious his heart was not in this. Nor did he propose real solutions like a national gun control standard. However, the list of what is behind the crisis was familiar.
No, it was not the availability of guns. Though he did propose two pieces of legislation, of which one might make a difference. This is red flag legislation.
The second was the death penalty for mass shooters. Given that most are killed by officers, or kill themselves, it is an empty gesture. Nor will it have any deterrent value. After all, they want to die.
And then we went down the panoply of excuses the right prefers to peddle. Partly they are easily digestible and divert from reality.
Trump is demanding legislation to regulate violent video games. There is like zero evidence they have anything to do with this crisis. Nor is the United States the only country where they are played. Anybody cares to check on the stats for Korea and Japan? Neither country has a mass murder problem with guns. And last time I checked, heavy Mark V body armor and chain guns have yet to be used in our present reality, anywhere. This is a favorite because it deflects from the guns.
If the shooters were anything but white, it would be called terrorism. But predictably we are told this is a mental health issue. We have a problem, but again, not related to mental health. However, every time the perp is white, this is a convenient one. It also demonizes a population with lower incidences of violence than the rest of us. However, this is leading to the victimization of this population.
Mandatory lockdowns for somebody who is a threat to himself and others already exist. So unless he intends to have a national standard, which I doubt. These mental holds are usually seventy-two hour. And I suspect the president was not thinking long term civil commitment.
He also hinted at regulating the internet and going after very dark places. Here he will crash straight into the private sector. Though I suspect he means more like Twitter and Facebook, who proactively have started with the shutdown of hate speech.
The reviews from actual white supremacist sites were mixed. They fear the government will shut them down, but Trump is not coming for their guns, yet. However, they are now fully discussing August 3rd as the official start of a second civil war. They are also openly calling for the final solution of the Jewish people, and the expulsion or death of all other minorities.
These are the foot soldiers in a genocide. The president did not do enough to distance or condemn, these views. We are also waiting for Twitter Trump to overturn anything he said today. His body language was clear. He likely did not want to say a lot of it, but it was forced by circumstances. So, the wait begins for his real views to emerge.
In the meantime, this is the statement posted by former President Barack Obama on Facebook. I will leave it here as a palate cleanser of where we are.
Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true.
First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.
Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy. Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.
But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn’t new — it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.