These are terrible, uncertain times in which horrific, senseless violence has become a matter of routine. Mass shootings, despite the unbearable pain and terror they inflict on families and communities, are rapidly turning into some kind of horrible “new normal.”
This story appeared in the November 15, 2017 issue of AL DÍA
The brutal reality of their existence is making their acceptance inevitable, they are becoming as much part of daily life as the president’s tweets, Putin’s manipulation of elections or the merciless persecution of immigrant families, all of them also part of the “new normal” under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Yet, although since Trump arrived in Washington 84 innocent people have been massacred in Las Vegas and Texas, the nation’s president dismisses gun control laws as unnecessary.
“There would have been no difference” he said about such laws referring to Sunday’s massacre of 26 innocent men, women and children at the First Baptist Church, in Texas. "This isn't a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. Mental health is your problem here," Trump insisted in a news conference in Tokyo, sounding more like a National Rifle Association, the hateful NRA, spokesman than the nation’s president.
Ironically, Trump was stating his opposition to rational gun laws in Japan, a country that offers irrefutable proof of the effectiveness of such legislation. Thanks to laws that ban possessing, carrying, selling or buying handguns or rifles, in 2014 there were a grand total of six gun deaths in Japan, while in the U.S.–listen to this—there were 33,599. (GunPolicy.org, a University of Sydney’s website). Trump’s words must have sounded either crazy or ridiculous to the people of Japan.
The aging former TV actor’s hypocrisy was in full display last February. That month, the same man who a few days ago claimed that mass shootings are due to mental health problems, signed a bill into law ending an Obama era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase guns.
Who knows if the “make America great again” president really believes the increasingly frequent blood baths terrorizing the country are not a problem of guns but of mental illness, but if he does it would be great if he could answer a simple question: How come there are no mass shootings committed by women? After all, women, unfortunately, are not immune to the “mental health problems” the president is so fond to cite as explanation for the epidemic of killings.
“Angry white men are out here massacring people and I'm over here asking: what are you even angry about? Such big babies,” New York writer César Vargas has said.
Big babies indeed who can easily obtain powerful guns capable of murdering dozens of people in a matter of minutes. Yet, the president, oblivious to the tragedies around him, doesn’t see the need for gun control laws.
Of course, Trump’s blindness has a lot to do with the NRA having spent an unbelievable $30 million to help elect him. Not surprisingly, a grateful Trump, speaking at the organization’s annual meeting in April, told the NRA that now they had a “true friend and champion” in the White House. As the old saying goes, money talks.
Yes, the president is a champion for the NRA, the group which, in the name of some warped concept of liberty, is cynically creating the conditions for the carnage of innocents to go on unabated. Yet, for the shooting victims and their families, the man in the White House has only the same tired and hypocritical thoughts and prayers. Shame on him.