This week marked the year’s 18th school shooting, in which 17 high school students and faculty at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida were slaughtered at the hands of yet another person who should never have been able to acquire a gun legally.
According to reports, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz (in America it is legal to buy a gun before a beer) had previously been expelled for “disciplinary reasons” and had a history of gun fetishization on social media, killing animals, and domestic violence. Even the FBI was brought up to speed on Cruz’s behavior a year ago.
This is so often how the story goes in America, wherein typically (white) men with a documented and reported history of bad behaviors – domestic abuse, violence – and varying mental illnesses are still able to legally purchase firearms; a measure which the Obama administration curtailed but has since been rescinded by Trump.
In the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting – as families and friends and the Parkland community as a whole still tries to make sense of the situation – rather than model after his predecessor with a heartfelt condolence to the victims’ families or open up a dialogue about how yet another school shooting could have been prevented, President Donald Trump resorted to victim-blaming:
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump tweeted. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
In a subsequent press conference, Trump noted that he would soon be meeting with state law enforcement and attorney generals to discuss how to make schools safer, yet offered up no resolution or inclination toward how and why Cruz was able to obtain guns in the first place.
Since taking office, Trump has rolled back a rule that would have made it more difficult for the severely mentally ill yet easier for fugitives to purchase firearms while proposing $12 million in cuts to America’s background check system. He also attempted to cut $625 million from federal mental health programs and an additional $1 trillion from Medicaid, one of the top sources of health insurance for the mentally ill in the United States.
And, of course, Trump and his party have prevented any piece of legislation regulating the firearms market from making it into law.
Essentially, Trump has done everything in his power to ensure that another Parkland is just around the corner, while both placing blame on and superficially offering up prayers and condolences directly to the kids who just watched their classmates, friends and neighbors get shot in front of them:
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
Trump’s tactic of ignoring the true catalysts for gun violence while shifting responsibility onto the victims and their communities is an outrageous act of cowardice. Seventeen people died in broad daylight on school grounds in front of hundreds of kids due in no small part to his lack of acknowledgment, concern and understanding of the gun violence issues. They died as a direct result of his administration making it easier for people like Cruz to arm themselves like someone out of a super-villain cosplay convention. And with it being easier, it is only going to happen again and again.Click here for reuse options!
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