We’ve fallen into this sad state of accepting the worst when it comes to what our President is going to do in times of emergency. Trump’s responses to horrific events always compound the situation -- and that’s exactly what’s been happening in the aftermath of the latest school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The murder of kids and teachers at school shouldn’t have a commonplace feel. Trump and Co.’s reaction, however, made the tragedy feel as if it barely deserved a dent in business as usual, with some even suggesting it was a reprieve for the beleaguered White House (we'll circle back to that).
It’s not that Trump didn’t visit the shooting victims -- he did, it's that he did so while smiling his fake smile and giving a thumbs up in planned photo ops. After his (very) brief hospital visit, Trump retreated to Mar-a-Lago where he aptly consoled himself by attending a disco party. Nothing says reverence for 17 people murdered like partying at your playhouse just miles away. People close to Trump made sure to note that our President didn’t dance. Maybe his bone spurs were acting up -- that does seem to happen when he feels as if he's put in a corner.
As the empty thoughts and prayers pour in, Trump and those who are standing by their man are continuing to make the situation worse, deepening the pain with their disdain of the real issues.
Soon after the massacre, through Twitter, Trump blamed the FBI for the shooting, saying they missed the signals because they were “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.” As if the FBI wasn’t capable of handling more than one investigation.
He also blamed the students -- the very victims of the shooting -- for not doing their part to stop the violence and speak out on the shooter’s mental instability. Even though they did speak out.
Perhaps most callous is the fact that one White House official, as mentioned earlier, called the massacre at Parkland a “reprieve” for the President who is dealing with so much negativity. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled,” the official said. Republican strategist Michael Steel also added, “From an awful, cynical, purely-political point of view, the tragic events in Florida probably helped the White House this week by distracting from the awful wave of scandal and bad news they have faced.”
Trump’s people are fishing for sympathy with blood on their hands. But Trump and most Republicans do not really care about mental health or children or making schools safer. They do care about the money from the NRA.
Proof of the lack of concern can be seen in Trump’s budget proposal to have a massive slash in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. We're talking about a 664 million dollar cut. It was reported that the money to the National Institute of Mental Health would face a 30 percent reduction by next year if Trump has his way. We also can’t forget that last year, Trump signed off on a bill that made it easier for those who have mental illness to purchase firearms. This was the Obama-era bill put into place after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
And not even local elected officials can do much to protect kids from getting killed at school no matter how much they want to -- such is the case in Republican controlled Florida. There is a $5,000 fine for cities and counties in that state if they try to change the gun control laws. I’d like they suggest they still try and ignore the fine. The time is now to make big statements. Trump is reversing laws that protect us and the repercussion is that more people are dying. He's not our dictator. We need to act.
One former lawmaker, Rep. Jack Kingston, even degraded the survivors of Parkland saying the students who are planning rallies to make change are pawns of “left wing gun control activists” and asked, “Do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally?”
Yes, we do. Yes, they are.
The NRA may be laughing at us all the way to the bank while the president perversely uses the shooting as a "reprieve" from his own troubles and a distraction from the conversation about gun control but the changes are needed now before more people die. It’s all so painfully obvious how much effort is being spent to make sure we do absolutely nothing about this uniquely American problem. We can thank Trump and Republican lawmakers for making everything worse. We can and will look to ourselves and the youth of today to make it better.