Today, commenting about the Parkland, FL Valentine's Day massacre that has left at least 17 people dead, President Trump said we need to focus on mental illness as an important step to preventing such horrible incidents from recurring. But has Trump actually done?
Last February, Trump quietly signed a bill revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
Trump's comments today were oh-so-sincere as he spoke directly to children, urging them to be sure to tell an adult if they ever see something suspicious. He said, of course, that children deserve to feel safe in their schools.
“We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” Mr. Trump said, “that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.”
But Trump never once mentioned guns or the need to keep them out of the hands of disturbed individuals. He said nothing about controlling the sale of assault weapons like the AR-15 that was used by the Parkland killer.
Instead, there were more presidential expressions of thoughts and prayers, an order to fly flags at half mast, and a promise to come and visit. And politician after politician issued condolences and sent their thoughts and prayers to the families of victims, as well. See the video above from MSNBC, which pairs those expressions with actual contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA)
The reaction to Trump's comments? Some students who were there and saw their friends slaughtered were not impressed. One labelled him a “f*****g piece of s**t” on Twitter. The reply by “Sarah” to the president went viral after she urged him to introduce gun control measures instead of just sending platitudes.
Of course that won't happen. The NRA has Trump by the you-know-whats. The same goes for all too many lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as the gun lobby dumps millions into their campaigns. And then the shootings and the killings continue.
But what hypocrisy. On one day, Trump kills off the Obama rule that sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns. It was developed after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. And two days later, he says we need to deal with the mentally ill as his solution to the mass killings that are sweeping our nation.
I don't know how Trump and his gun rights supporters can sleep at night. Hopefully, they will never experience the grief those parents in Parkland are experiencing right now. Nobody should be subjected to that. Nobody.