On February 21, 2018, President Donald Trump met at the White House with over 40 people including the teenage survivors of the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 as well as the parents of those children killed in other school shootings.
Gut wrenching recounts of what happened at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were presented by the students as well as angry voices of parents who had their children killed in other incidents of school shootings.
Demands were made that politics needs to be set aside and solutions found to stop the scourge of gun violence in the United States.
One suggested solution was to raise the minimum age required to purchase rifles to age 21, including assault weapons such as the AR-15, arguing that if you cannot buy a beer at 18, you should not be able to buy an assault weapon at 18.
Another suggestion was to strengthen background checks to keep guns from the violent and the mentally ill.
President Trump told the group his administration would be looking very strongly at allowing concealed weapons in schools to be carried by trained teachers who would volunteer.
Trump said it would be too expensive and impossible to put enough arm guards in the schools and to secure the schools and it would be a lot cheaper to arm the teachers.
Too expensive? This coming from the President who wants to build a wall across our border with Mexico that will cost taxpayers billions and not paid for by Mexico as he promised.
The very next day after his meeting with the group, Trump said he stood by his recommendation that teachers should be armed and even given bonuses to carry guns.
It is downright laughable to suggest that teachers start carrying guns and it shows just how bad things have gotten with the President’s state of mind.
Next thing you know, Trump will want to strap a gun on all kids in school so they can protect themselves from teachers who may want to molest them or who want to impose some sort of physical restraint on an out of control kid.
WAS TRUMP REALLY LISTENING?
The message delivered to President Trump was loud and clear: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
The problem is, was Trump really listening or was it all just a reality show to him like the “Apprentice” for the cameras when he had “crib notes” of talking points.
A photo of the notes held by Trump included the questions for him to ask the group and included:
“What would you most want me to know about your experience?”
“What can we do to help you feel safe?”
One note encouraged Trump to ask those attending for their ideas about how to move forward.
The last note said “show sympathy”.
It is downright pathetic when a President of the United State needs notes and needs to be reminded to show sympathy to a group of violent crime victims and grieving parents, especially from one who said he is a “really, really smart guy” and is a genius and wanted to compare IQ’s with others.
During the election, Trump embraced the National Rifle Association (NRA) and pledged to oppose any form of gun control.
Trump told the NRA “I will not let you down” and will protect the Second Amendment rights.
In return, the NRA donated upwards of $30 million to his election efforts as well did what it could to undercut his opponent.
EPIDEMIC OF MASS KILLINGS
Since 1995, the United States has had 95 mass shootings, including seven of the 11 deadliest.
Three of the 11 biggest mass shootings in American history have now taken place in the United States in the last five months.
History shows that there was a time congress would take action on gun control to curb crime and gun violence.
In 1934, responding to the rise of organized crime and the MAFIA, Congress enacted the National Firearms Act which heavily taxed machine guns, among other things.
In 1968, after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the Gun Control Act was passed that grew the list of those people who could not purchase guns expanding it to more convicted felons and mentally ill people.
In 1986, with the rise of gang and drug violence on city streets, Congress enacted the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act, which outlawed armor-piercing bullets.
In 1994, after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and a spike of workplace shootings, Congress passed “The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act” that implemented a waiting period for handguns and a national instant background check.
James Brady was the White House Press secretary who was shot in the head and almost died during the attempted assassination of President Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr. who was found mentally ill and institutionalized for a number of years.
The 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act temporarily banned assault weapons.
There has been no major gun control legislation since 1995, which is about the same time the National Rifle Association (NRA) became very politically active in congressional races.
In 1990, the NRA created a foundation to “raise millions of dollars to fund gun safety and educational projects of benefit to the general public” which has translated into the NRA getting involved with congressional elections by donating millions to candidates running for office and who oppose any form of gun control.
There is no doubt we have a deadly mass shooting epidemic on our hands.
The mass shooting with guns in the last 10 years include: Orlando, Florida (49 killed, 50 injured), Blacksburg, Va. (32 killed), San Ysidro, Cal (21 killed), San Bernardino, (14 killed), Edmond Oklahoma (14 killed), Fort Hood (13 killed), Binghamton, NY (13 killed) Washington, DC (12 killed), Aurora, Colorado (12 killed), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn (21 children and 6 adult staff members killed) and the largest mass shooting in this country’s history that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada with at least 59 dead and at least 515 wounded.
COMPONENTS OF AMERCAS MASS KILLING EPIDEMIC INCLUDES NRA
There are many components to America’s mass shooting epidemic.
We need more mental health treatment facilities, more parental involvement, better educational systems, early childhood intervention to prevent child abuse and to identify and get help and counseling to emotionally and violent children and more to secure our schools.
The NRA is part of the problem because of the choke hold it has on the United States Congress.
After the Trump meeting at the White House with the victims and parents, the NRA came out in opposition to the 21 age provisions and any other gun control provisions again arguing the problem is not with guns but the criminals who are using the guns and law abiding citizens rights under the second amendment should never be infringed upon.
After so many mass killings, it is difficult to refute that something needs to be done about semi-automatic and automatic guns such as the AR-15, or the type used in all the mass shootings and that are the weapons of choice for mass murderers.
After so many mass shootings in the last few years, its clear the NRA controlled congress does not want, nor is it willing to take, any action on gun control.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing of 17 students in Parkland, Florida appears to have ignited a national movement by our youth who have become very angry over the shootings and they are saying “enough is enough” to elected officials.
All over the country, high school students are protesting and demanding action on gun control from their legislatures and from the United State Congress.
A march on Washington DC is now going to occur on March 14, 2018.
“The March For Our Lives” movement is gaining traction very quickly and it is becoming a wild fire movement like the “Me Too” movement that has swept away so many of the powerful who engaged in sexual harassment and abuse of women over so many years.
My generation (people over 60) has a real bad habit of underestimating the determination, independence, creativity of millenniALS and have the wrong perception that millennials are powerless or too lazy and self centered to do anything and more concerned about texting on their cell phones and playing video games all day.
I really do hope the NRA and their bought and paid for congress does not see “The March For Lives” movement as a real threat to them so that when the NRA bought and paid for congress is swept from office they will not know what hit them and real change can occur.
Unless we begin now with responsible measures to deal with gun violence in this country, we will never complete the journey and eliminate mass school shootings and we will be waiting for the next news cycle, the next mass shooting and watch the funerals of innocent children.
The March For Our Lives Movement may be just the beginning of something that is long overdue in the United States: enactment of responsible gun control laws.