By now you've heard about the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. By now you've heard the call for sensible gun laws and reform. By now you've also heard the need for better help for those with mental illnesses. And through all this sorrow and anger and fear, with 17 kids murdered in an American school, Donald Trump puts the blame on the students and neighbors of the shooter.
Can we have some thoughts and prayers for our President?
Trump talks about a "big problem" and there certainly is one, but it's in the way America handles violence in our country. There have been 18 school shootings this year alone -- and it's only February. That's one school shooting every 60 hours. If we look at gun violence in general, not only in schools, seven children and teens are killed every day. According to CNN, the United States accounts for less than five percent of the world's population, but we have the most mass shootings.
This should be unacceptable. But we keep accepting it.
According to a study by The Kaiser Family Foundation with statistics from the CDC, if we look at our gun laws, the states with the highest rate of gun deaths are the states that do not require a permit for carrying concealed weapons. You don't need a permit or license to carry a gun in Florida. You also do not need to register that gun either. How is this not an obvious place to start making changes?
We can also look to Australia for their incredible effort to stop gun violence. In 1996, after a mass shooting in Tasmania where 35 people were killed, Australia overhauled their gun laws. And there hasn’t been a mass shooting since. There should be a lot to glean from that fact.
But Trump wants to blame those who didn't speak up.
In September, YouTube video blogger, Ben Bennight, reportedly contacted the FBI about a comment left by Nikolas Cruz (the alleged shooter at Parkland) that read, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." Bennight spoke up.
Cruz was expelled for disciplinary reasons last year and wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack. The school spoke up. His former classmates spoke openly about how they felt he was troubled and had a temper. Some even knew he had guns. They spoke up.
We are speaking up. People have been speaking up. Our voices are loud and clear and nothing is being done. That’s because Trump and our lawmakers aren’t listening to us. In fact, no one with the power to make true change has been listening to us -- and this is a problem that has been ongoing for years. Their ears and so much money is with the NRA -- money paid out to our lawmakers who clearly don’t have safety interests on their radar.
The NRA controls so much that just last year, Trump signed the Senate bill to end the Obama-era gun rule that prevented those with mental illness from easy access to purchase weapons.
But let’s blame the classmates, Trump tweets. The is the same blame the victim mentality we see within rape culture.
This is the same issue we see time and again of our government failing us.
We also know what happens when people speak up about injustices and violence when it’s a white man behind those alleged crimes. We have the recent example of Trump’s defense of Rob Porter regarding two reported cases of domestic violence. Trump glowed about Porter’s good job at the White House and claimed we don't have due process anymore, claiming lives are being destroyed by mere allegations. Cruz was probably just considered another white kid with a lot of teen angst.
It's Trump and the Republicans getting millions from the NRS who are the biggest hypocrites. And the most horrific fact regarding this hypocrisy is that it is going to get our kids killed.