Right after Donald Trump was elected President, he said, “I’ve really inherited a mess.” While there is some truth to that statement, history will remember what someone did, rather than what they said. Did you make things better, or did your lack of talent for leadership make it worse, Donald?
When a white man executes a group of human beings, we move quickly to peer into the psychological disturbances in that man’s soul. When a brown man takes lives, we hastily place the blame on the man’s religious dogma or where he came from. When a black man shoots up the place, we swiftly use phrases like “law and order” and “respect.”
The headline on CNN this morning (11-6-2017), points to a serious problem, Trump says Texas shooting result of ‘mental health problem’ not US gun laws. Is there really any difference between a man who has voices whispering in his brain saying “kill, kill” and someone who has been brainwashed into thinking he inherits paradise if he kills? In either case the actions are not those of a mentally stable human being.
These mass killings are a form of terrorism and should be classified as such by the legal system in this country. Why is that important? Because once an attack is considered terrorism, federal resources can be used to figure out why it happened and the penalties for those offenses can be harsher.
When you embrace the Second Amendment and give lip service to the First Amendment, you give the NRA and legal gun owners comfort. Several years ago, gun sales soared because of an imaginary fear that Obama was going to take them away. For a while after Trump’s election, gun sales decreased. But now, America will be marching to the gun shops and ranges to make sure they can protect themselves from the next armed assault.
It’s not Donald Trump’s fault that there are more than 300 million guns and rifles in America. After making a rough guesstimate from older NRA records, there are probably 2,446,294 AR-15 rifles currently available in the United States. Most likely, you are living within a few miles of someone who owns one. Not that comforting, and in this Trumpean dystopia, this will never change. We cannot legally stop the number from increasing.
In the case of the shooter in Texas, the structure that’s in place did not prevent this guy, who assaulted his wife and their child, from getting a gun. The shooter was given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force and slapped with 12 months of confinement in 2014 after his court marshaling. When the system we have doesn’t work, we have a bad system.
After being attacked themselves on a baseball field in Virginia, and seeing 59 people mowed down in Las Vegas, our lawmakers have not banned the “bump stock” device that converts a rifle from semi to full automatic weaponry. For some reason, the people who we elect to represent us in Washington, cannot, will not, make any effort to curtail the violence. The collusion with the NRA to thwart any reasonable weapon reform in this country is morally wrong. If you failed to save one life, then you are complicit.
If hate is the root of a massacre, then you have to take off your blinders and realize what is influencing these killers. If you want to end the homegrown incidents of those holding a radical belief system, you don’t build walls or tighten up visas, instead you must peer into the root of those desires. Sure, better vetting will make you feel better, but in the end the president has no power over legal residents being radicalized because they felt left out.
I’m always miffed when someone reacts to my plea for discussion and action on this national tragedy with defense of the amendment, rather than openness for a discussion. We always hear that same refrain, “the guns were purchased legally” and we go on about our business. Nothing to see here. Or is there?
Anyone can get a gun and, if you can get a gun, you can get a semi-automatic rifle. As we painfully learned, it takes only $200 to convert that nine-pound piece of metal into a real killing machine. If you follow Trump’s logic, we don’t need to do anything about the guns, we need to focus on mental health problems.
According to HealthAffairs.org, Trump’s 2018 budget would cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control by $1.3 billion and funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion. It would eliminate the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, folding it into the NIH with reduced funding. Substance Abuse and Mental Health budgeted funding would be cut by almost $400 million. This sounds like a commitment to creating more mental health problems, and, by extension, more mass killings.
The other day Donald Trump announced a big push to get rid of the scourge of drug addiction and death by pills. What is he doing about death by guns.?
From the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “There were 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016.” According to the New York Times: “The rate of gun deaths in the United States rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” We don’t have the total annual numbers beyond 2014, and the NRA is making every effort, through Trump, to block that data. In 2014, there were 33,594-gun deaths, and it’s time we budget money for the CDC to research this menace to our society. Or are we waiting until it grows bigger?
To borrow an expression from Bush #41, this “blowhard” in the White House explains it all to us, and then does the opposite of what he should be doing. We cannot start to conquer the problem without a plan to study and act on the problem of mass killings. We need to replace the planner in chief. Trump clearly doesn’t know what he is doing.
New Book about Terrorism
One of the most eye-opening stories about terrorism. The famous cable TV talk show host, Jonas Bronck, leaves New York on his quest to find truth. He finds himself in the middle of terror and personal torment in the name of journalism. He once again asks, If God Could Cry, would he be crying for us, or with us?
Now available on Amazon.