I don't have anything particularly new or insightful to add about the 26 people who were shot dead in a Texas church on Sunday. After a while, you're just repeating yourself. But it can't not be written about. It can't be just accepted as normal, even if mass shootings are all too regular.
It's worth noting a few things, though.
Not unexpectedly, just like the immediate call for prayers from other Republicans, Trump offered his prayers for the families. And of course one's heart breaks for them all, and I can only hope they get the comfort and support they need. But while offering prayers as the totality of your response is bone-dry empty, it's worse here since clearly, given that the shooting took place in a church, if "prayer" was the solution, then all 26 would be alive today. Indeed, there is now a tragically-sad, pathetic irony to the descriptions all over of this as a "mass shooting."
Trump does get points on Sunday for not immediately calling for a travel ban and changing the diversity lottery and instantly calling the shooter a terrorist all before there has been an investigation. It's a good change from his actions after the New York City truck killings. On the other hand, the only significant, noticeable difference between the two perpetrators is that on Sunday, the shooter was a white male born in the United States. Surely that can't have been the reason he didn't say anything... [Note: Sarcasm alert.]
Alas, he then loses those points and gives more back at his press conference today. That's where Trump said that the Texas mass gun shooting is not a gun issue. (Yes, you read that right.) This is something I'd love to see him tell to the families' faces, rather than a room of microphones and cameras. No, instead he says it's a mental health matter. Given that only one day has passed since the shooting, how on earth could he possibly know that?! So much for his one day without jumping to any conclusions. But it's not even a mental health issue because Trump himself signed a GOP bill that allowed those with mental issues to own guns!
(Of course, it's odd that after the New York City bombing Trump's immediate reaction wasn't the same, that that wasn't a terrorism issue, but just one of mental health. But then, maybe this whole "white male born in the U.S." factor does make a different. Maybe he has data that there is a big white male mental health issue in the United States. Or maybe he just gets that by looking in the mirror.)
Furthermore, at that same press conference, he of course said that it was "too early" [tm NRA] after the Texas mass gun shooting to talk about gun control. Mind you, he said the exact same thing after the Las Vegas mass gun shooting. Fine, so then instead perhaps enough time has now passed since Las Vegas and we can we finally talk about gun control after those 58 people were shot dead.
Surely the fact that the Texas mass gun shooter is a white male born in the U.S. can't be the reason that Trump says this isn't a gun issue and merely about mental health. And that's it's too early to talk about gun control. [Note: Sarcasm alert.] Honestly, though, that may not be the reason -- it may be that the head of a spokesman from the gun manufacturer-owned NRA was seen popping out of one of Trump's orifices.
I have no idea yet what press release statement was put out by the gun manufacturer-owned NRA terrorist fringe group. I don't have it in me to check. But we're getting to the point where one day after one of these especially-horrific mass shootings I expect them to claim responsibility.
I don't think the fact that state of Texas has such liberal gun ownership laws has much of anything to do with this mass shooting. As we've seen, it can happen anywhere. But the hubris of gun owners in Texas for being so open about guns takes on a soul-crushing reality. And being an "open carry" certainly didn't help the victims.
I am sure there are great support systems for the families who have suffered this ghastly loss in Texas. What's important for the rest of us is less about focusing on those we can do nothing about but send condolences after the fact and far more about working to diminish as many "next mass shootings" as possible. If you really feel compassion for the Texas losses and Las Vegas losses and all the losses, then it serves your own best interest to make sure as many others in the future don't suffer.
I would love to see Democratic candidates in 2016 specifically use gun control as a campaign issue. The gun-manufacturer-owned NRA will spend money against them, but they aren't going to support the Democrats anyway. And we've seen in some races in the past when the candidate did take a strong gun control position it resonated well. (There was a Congressional race in Chicago that I recall a few years ago where gun control became the issue, and an underdog won using it.) And I think such a position would be even more effective today because I have to believe the public is getting weary and horrified of such huge massive shootings and so many deaths.
And, honestly, no, this is NOT the time to talk about gun protection laws after the Texas shooting that killed 26. The time to talk about it was years ago.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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