In The Aftermath Of The Florida School Massacre, Trump Talks About “Mental Health” And “Securing Our Schools”. What He Doesn’t Mention, Not Even Once, Is The Word “Gun”
Last evening, there was a candlelight vigil a few blocks from where the shooting took place. According to the Palm Beach Post, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed, told the crowd “Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as gun violence. It happened in Parkland.“
Trump says he’s planning to visit soon.
The New York Times has a comprehensive story with all the latest on the shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people, mostly teenagers, dead. Among the things we learned in the last day: Nikolas Cruz took an Uber to the shooting, and he escaped initially by blending in with escaping students, after which he went to Walmart and McDonald’s before he was apprehended. Here’s more from the Palm Beach Post. And a scathing editorial from the Miami Herald.
Here’s video from the Times of the suspect’s appearance in court:
There’s another piece from The Times that compares how violent and deadly the U.S. has become compared to industrialized countries around the world and how guns are unequivocally the key factor.
In addition, we’re sure you’ve all seen by now stories about how Trump signed legislation giving mentally ill people more access to firearms, how his proposed budget just announced this week cuts funding for mental health and school safety, how much in donations Republican legislators take from the N.R.A., that the killer was apparently on the F.B.I.’s radar, and also perhaps how radical Right wing political show hosts are linking the school shooting to the Russia investigation, saying the F.B.I. was spending so much time investigating Trump they let this kid in Florida slip through the cracks, (and Donald Trump Jr. ‘likes’ their comments). If you haven’t, we’ve just linked to all those stories for you.
But we also want to use our space today to look forward and try to answer the question we asked in our headline.
Because we think the answer is a very qualified “yes”.
It’s not likely going to come from Trump. His supporters have always been a little leery about how supportive of their firearm free-for-all Trump really is, given he’s from New York and has supported renewal of an assault weapons ban in the past. So he’s actually going out of his way to prove there’s no one more fervent about the 2nd Amendment. (He’s also taken to quoting scripture for much the same reason.)
However we see two possible options for movement on comprehensive gun control, and one could happen soon, if it happens:
1) A Republican gets a conscience and breaks ranks. This is absolutely a long-shot especially with such a huge amount of N.R.A. dollars going to Republicans. And it can’t be one of the many Republicans who’s retiring this year But we can’t imagine that everyone in the Republican party is so heartless that they aren’t deeply moved and affected.
No one wants to go first. No one wants to play out a strategy that hasn’t already played out. It very likely could ruin this person’s political career. But maybe not. It’s also possible once the stigma is broken, others will follow.
2) People in favor of gun control have to vote. We’re not trying to place blame here. We’re just pointing to the fact that Liberals tend to be easily distracted, while 100% of Right wing gun nuts will drag their asses out of bed on election day and get to the polls.
As we’ve often said, Trump can’t win if all the people who are supposed to vote, vote. But if they don’t, his fanatical core gives him a huge head start.
This is especially crucial in the upcoming midterm elections this fall. Every House seat is up for grabs, and Democrats face a very uphill battle in the Senate. Flipping one or both would at least clear the way for some legislation to be considered and maybe passed. Of course Trump would veto it, but it’d get it under his nose.
We’d love to hear from you if you have other ideas or visions for a way forward: firstname.lastname@example.org
A friend of ours already got back to us with an idea we think is great:
- Organize a national day of school boycotts by students.
- On that day, urge students and their parents (where possible) to join together in marches across the country. We’d bet a lot of teachers and coaches would join in too…
Hey, let’s go do something about this!
DACA Right Now Looks Unfixable
Two separate votes failed in the Senate. A Republicans-only plan that Trump supports because it gives him everything he wants only got 39 votes; 60 against. A bipartisan proposal did a better, despite an unusual letter from Trump’s Department of Homeland Security slamming it, gaining 54 votes, 45 against, so it still fell short of the 60 “yes” votes needed, and Trump had indicated he wouldn’t sign it anyway.
We believe Trump has maneuvered himself into a position where he does have the upper hand, although he’s not guaranteed a “win”. That’s because he’s willing to play games with the fate of 1.8 million living, breathing souls, and Democrats aren’t quite willing to do that.
Democrats’ best move right now is to call Trump’s bluff and let the President know they’ll never let him have “the wall” unless he compromises. But they have to do this very carefully because Trump can accuse them of putting the interests of “illegals” ahead of actual Americans. That argument from Trump kinda worked during the first shutdown. On the other hand, Democrats can accuse Trump of being just plain cruel, and they should.
Quick Update On Mueller Investigation
Another guilty plea could be coming very soon. CNN reports Paul Manafort’s longtime business associate and former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is close to a plea deal. He originally pleaded not guilty alongside Manafort, who’s been fighting tooth and nail.
And NBC News reports former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon met with Mueller’s team for 20 hours this week.
We Wanted To End This Troubled Week With A Positive Story, So We Found One: Sometimes The Government Still Manages To Do Something Very Good
Buried in the budget bill that passed last week, a unique program aimed at reducing the number of kids in foster care in this country. And it’ll do that by allocating federal funds for mental health, substance abuse and counseling programs for their parents.
Trying to create environments where fewer families are broken up and fewer kids end up in group homes.
This bit of legislation was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.
Monday Is Presidents Day, So We’ll Be Off
We’ll work to keep you up to date over any major developments over the weekend. And we’ll see you next Tuesday.