President Trump said a lot of good things today in his statement following the horrific weekend of gun carnage in America.
Displaying a rare and welcome empathetic tone, he unequivocally condemned white supremacists, denounced hate, racism and bigotry, used the phrase ‘domestic terrorism’ for those who commit such atrocities, criticized violent video games, demanded immediate tougher action to stop the radicalization of people on the internet, and called for bi-partisan solutions to gun violence and for Americans to come together.
All of this is to be applauded.
But what the President didn’t talk about is the one thing that actually caused the deaths and injuries to more than 80 people in El Paso and Dayton: GUNS.
Oh he mentioned them, but only to absolve them of any responsibility.
‘Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger not the gun,’ Trump said.
And that is true.
But it is guns, and the bullets fired from them, that do the actual killing.
If mentally sick or hateful people don’t have guns, they can’t shoot people.
That’s why mentally sick and hateful people don’t shoot anyone in Japan, which has a greater obsession with violent video games than anywhere but no mass shootings – they can’t get their hands on guns.
That’s also why, when 16 schoolchildren were shot dead in Britain in the Dunblane massacre of 1996, we banned virtually all guns from civilian hands and haven’t, thank God, suffered a school shooting since then.
Yet in America, you can legally arm yourself like Rambo.
And when 20 schoolchildren were shot dead in a US classroom in Sandy Hook in 2012, nothing was done to stop it happening again and there have been over 240 school shootings in America since that day.
So let’s cut all the crap: it’s about the guns.
Many other countries have the same kind of mental illness, hate, bigotry, white supremacy, violent video games and internet radicalization that Trump referenced.
But only America offers such easy access to guns.
THAT’S the difference, and that’s why America has more gun violence and gun deaths than the next 23 developed countries combined.
The 24-year-old Dayton shooter Connor Betts used an AK-47 style semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100-bullet magazine.