What Trump Got Wrong About the Parkland Shooting

Valentine’s Day turned into a day of national tragedy as 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz gunned down students and teachers at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. President Donald Trump addressed the nation the†following day, asking for thoughts and prayers for the families affected, but he offered no real answers as to how his administration†would prevent future gun violence.

Instead,†President Trump†pointed fingers and regurgitated tired GOP talking points, as he attempted to protect the real culprits in our nation of massacres: the legislators controlled by the National Rifle Association lobby †and†its endless stream of money.

Sadly, as†the president’s†speech showed, there’s little hope at this moment that anything will change even after the 18th school shooting in the U.S. this year†– an average of nearly three shootings a week. President Trump’s words expose just how beholden he is to the “Second Amendment” crowd and how unlikely he is to turn his back on them.

Here is a line-by-line examination of†everything the†president got wrong in his speech to the American people:

“A student opened fire on defenseless students and teachers….”

The not-so-subtle sub-context here is that had teachers or students been armed, someone could have stopped Cruz in his killing spree. This was no doubt an attempt for gun rights supporters to advocate once again for concealed carry on campuses and arming teachers in all classrooms — even down to elementary and preschools.

Model legislation†already exists for both, and no doubt the GOP will use this tragedy at the state level to try again. What won’t get mentioned is that there were already armed security personnel at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — and they never even encountered Cruz. More guns doesn’t solve any problems, it just makes campuses more dangerous.

“We will do anything we can do….we will assist in any way we can.”

Repeatedly the president offered “anything” the community needs. But what communities are asking for is more gun restrictions — closed loopholes on buying guns, more background checks and bans on automatic weapons, which can kill and wound dozens in a matter of seconds. Yet the GOP†isn’t actually following through on†these demands†– in word or deed.

“We hold on to Godís word in Scripture.”

For the second time in the aftermath of a gun massacre, the president has offered literal scripture as an answer.†Following the†Las Vegas shooting, the president†told the nation:

To the families of the victims, we are praying for you, and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period. Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve.” This address was quite similar: “In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to Godís word in Scripture: ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.’ We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow.

President Trump has literally taken “thoughts and prayers” and elevated them as the only†solution to reoccurring and fully preventable violence.

“We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

We don’t need “secure” schools — especially since, as the president noted at the beginning of his speech, his idea of making schools safer is to†arm more people to take out active shooters. Our children often pass through metal detectors to enter a building, and locks may†keep out parents or other adults until they ID themselves for entry. Children†participate in drills on how to respond should an armed person enter the building and begin shooting.

And even with these actions, school shootings are increasing dramatically. There is no solution that will make children safer that does not involve regulating and restricting guns in our nation.

And yes, that includes addressing mental health issues. Mental illness doesn’t cause violence — if it did, there would be countless shootings every single hour. Gun violence cannot be solved†by identifying and treating those with mental health problems; it must be solved by removing guns.

For every mentally ill person who commits a violent act, there are millions†of individuals also struggling with mental health issues who do not commit acts of violence –†and millions who have no such issues†but also are violent. As a society we need to address our failing mental health system, and we need to address our gun problem. But these are two separate issues with no bearing on each other.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.”

This statement, meanwhile, might be the only†true words uttered by the president. For years now, we have allowed the GOP to claim that arming more people, expanding gun rights and even adding cross-state reciprocity acts will somehow make the country safe from guns. Now it’s time for the Republican party to admit†that this approach†is wrong. More guns will never solve our problem — because guns are the problem. Eliminating these deadly assault weapons is the only answer.

Take Action!

Want to make a real difference on gun violence? Sign this Care2 petition†and†urge Congress to ban assault weapons.

Photo Credit: Michael Dorausch/Flickr

159 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Will Rogers
Will R6 months ago

Be brave America! Time to ban guns and the NRA. It is a terrorist organisation that has no place in the 21st century. There is a blot on the landscape of the world, it’s called America. If the UN wasn’t so corrupt it would put sanctions on that place for its continuing human rights abuses and its runaway gun violence problem. America seems to have a collective low level mental illness where they have normalised guns and gun violence. It’s a shame, that place used to be a focus for hope but is now a symbol of ignorance, arrogance and stubbornness. “A fool never changes its mind, but the wise change it’s mind often!” And we know that people kill people! So why give them guns?

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini7 months ago

From now on I am collecting all my thoughts together on the How Many Schools thread of the 18th Feb. headed 5 Unexpected animals . Can't keep up with three going at the same time!

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini7 months ago

Eric
I am not in a position to argue on this because I don't know how many people on anti-depressants have become violent because of them. But as far as I know neither the Las Vegas shooter nor Cruz were on medication. So anti-depressants may have some influence on some people and banning those on psychotropic drugs from possessing weapons might, who knows, prevent some shootings, but they are definitely not the whole answer. That's what I meant by 'deflecting'.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees7 months ago

@Annabel Bedini
Rhoberta E
"As we know from another discussion, Eric is claiming that many shootings are perpetrated by people on medication which can in some cases make people violent. This is his way of deflecting attention from the real source of the problem which it seems to me lies in the psychology of a high percentage of American males. What is the relationship between guns and a certain part of the male anatomy? Only half joking....."

Once again your logic is flawed. I'm not deflecting anything, quite the opposite.
Stop and think!
How does a gun affect a person's thoughts, behavior or actions?

On the other hand these drugs do by design affect a person. And it's well known that they can cause suicidal and violent behavior.

Knowing this someone prescribed these drugs should not have access to guns. Just as someone drunk should be prevented from operating heavy equipment.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees7 months ago

@Dan Blossfeld22 hours ago
Mary B.,
"I will go one step further, ban gun magazine of over 10 rounds. This was part of the 1994 assault weapon ban. Granted, 10 bullets can still do significant damage. But common magazines for an AR-15 hold one hundred rounds."

Dan that actually not accurate. Bannana magazine hold 30 rounds which is still significant. There are drums that hold 100 rounds but I've read that they are prone to jamming. I'e not read exactly what the Florida shooter used.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees7 months ago

@Mary B
"Some of you made decent attemps at calm posts, but do YOU really think any one who lost a child to an ASSULT WEAPON give a damn about your ego's desire to sound smart, and then condecend to those of us with the emotional agility to FEEL OUTRAGE when that is exactly what is appropriate.We'll think about it and dissect it later since it's already been endlessly talked about and people are still killing the kids in schools, churches, concerts, ect. BAN THE DAMN ASSULT WEAPONS. Can you understand the difference betweens GUNS and ASSULT WEAPONS ! NO MORE !"

Mary, what is an "Assault weapon" if not one that has been used in an assault?

What is the difference between a riffle used for hunting or target practice and this "assault weapon"?

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld7 months ago

Mary B.,
I will go one step further, ban gun magazine of over 10 rounds. This was part of the 1994 assault weapon ban. Granted, 10 bullets can still do significant damage. But common magazines for an AR-15 hold one hundred rounds. The shooter would need to stop firing and reload. By all accounts, the shooter brought extra ammo, but never reloaded, dropping his weapon and backpack, and fleeing. I cannot say if he would have reloaded after only 10 shots, but by my math, this would saved at least 7 lives.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini7 months ago

Rhoberta E
As we know from another discussion, Eric is claiming that many shootings are perpetrated by people on medication which can in some cases make people violent. This is his way of deflecting attention from the real source of the problem which it seems to me lies in the psychology of a high percentage of American males. What is the relationship between guns and a certain part of the male anatomy? Only half joking.....

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Mary B
Mary B7 months ago

Some of you made decent attemps at calm posts, but do YOU really think any one who lost a child to an ASSULT WEAPON give a damn about your ego's desire to sound smart, and then condecend to those of us with the emotional agility to FEEL OUTRAGE when that is exactly what is appropriate.We'll think about it and dissect it later since it's already been endlessly talked about and people are still killing the kids in schools, churches, concerts, ect. BAN THE DAMN ASSULT WEAPONS. Can you understand the difference betweens GUNS and ASSULT WEAPONS ! NO MORE !

SEND