Once again Donald Trump and every Republican NRA shill in America is serving up their “thoughts and prayers.” Meanwhile, the families and victims of another gun slaughter are suffering for the abject negligence of a cowardly Congress. The shooting in a Sutherland Springs, TX, church is just the latest episode of senseless violence that is turning the country into a war zone. But the absence of affirmative solutions isn’t the worst part of the right-wing response. They are proactively enabling the almost certain continuation of these tragedies. And it starts at the top with Trump himself.
The President’s first remarks on the Texas massacre were given just hours after it occurred from his junket in Japan. As usual, he couldn’t help politicizing the subject. Absolving his friends in the gun lobby of any responsibility, Trump speculated on the cause despite having no facts. “This isn’t a guns situation,” he reckoned. “This is a mental health problem.”
With regard to the latter half of his comment, it’s unarguable that mental health played a role in this shooting. In fact, it plays a role in every mass shooting. None of these incidents can be described as normal psychological behavior. So Trump is telling us nothing by stating the obvious. However, the first part of his comment completely ignores reality. These tragedies are only exacerbated by the easy access to such dangerous assault-type weapons.
The Republican Party marches in lock step with the NRA to preserve access to virtually all weaponry. They oppose regulating cop-killer bullets, military firearms, and “smart” guns. They are even blocking regulation of the “bump stock” accessories that modify conventional weapons into fully automatic ones. That was what the Las Vegas gunman used to kill fifty-eight people just last month.
But the GOP position on mental health is no better. They are currently proposing cuts to mental health programs in their budget and tax bills, More to the point, they are determined to protect the rights of violent offenders, domestic abusers, and other unstable miscreants to own whatever guns they want. Donald Trump even signed a bill in February for that precise purpose. As reported by NBC News at the time:
“President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. […] President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.”
Early reports suggest that the law Trump revoked was just the sort of regulation that might have kept the Texas shooter from obtaining his guns. He was discharged from the Air Force for “bad conduct.” Specifically, he was found to have assaulted his wife and child. Not coincidentally, domestic abuse has been found to be a consistent and accurate predictor of mass shooting perpetrators. Samantha Bee happened to do a segment on this subject last week. It should be required viewing for every member of Congress and law enforcement:
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.