Friday, February 16, 2018


The Washington Post's Elise Viebeck tells us that students who survived Wednesday's massacre in Florida are demanding action on guns:
In the familiar aftermath of America’s latest mass shooting, something new stood out: This time, the kids who survived the rampage on Wednesday were demanding to know why the adults who run the country had not done more to prevent it....

“How are we allowed to buy guns at the age of 18 or 19? That’s something we shouldn’t be able to do,” Lyliah Skinner, who survived the shooting, told CNN.

Guillermo Bogan, who is home-schooled but has friends at Douglas High, said the alleged shooter’s age shows the selfishness of the gun industry.

“Some people will just do anything for a dollar,” Bogan said at a midday vigil for the victims. “There should be a background check — are you mentally ill or are you not mentally ill? And clearly he was mentally ill.”
Why is this happening? I have some thoughts below. But it's clearly taking place:

And it's not just kids:
Mother Lori Alhadeff lost her daughter Alyssa Wednesday after Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old man, killed 17 students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In an interview with CNN Thursday she screamed into the camera demanding President Donald Trump do something.

“How? How do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school?” Alhadeff asked. “How do they get through security? What security is there? There’s no metal detectors. The gunman, a crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks on the window of my child’s door and starts shooting, shooting her and killing her!”

She then turned her anger to the president.

“President Trump, you say what can you do?” she asked, responding to Trump’s statement earlier. “You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands! Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children go to school and have to get killed! I just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughters funeral, who is 14! Fourteen! President Trump, please do something! Do something. action! We need it now! These kids need now!”
We were told during the 2016 campaign that Trump's supporters took him seriously, but not literally. I think these people are taking Trump seriously and literally.

Trump campaigned as a man of action. He claimed he could cut through government bureaucracy and sclerosis. Among the many problems he promised to solve was violence in America.

Conor Friedersdorf remembers the promises, although he believes that only the gullible fell for them:
In his inaugural address, Donald Trump declared, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” He knew it would not. We know it did not.

“I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you’re not going to be shot,” he declared during the campaign. “Your child isn’t going to be shot.” He has not been able to make sure of that––ask any parent whose children were caught up in any of the recent school shootings.

Trump gave those credulous enough to believe him false hope.

“The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he vowed at the Republican National Convention. “Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored.” But safety was not restored that day. Neither crime nor violence ended.
Friedersdorf thinks only the rubes took Trump at his word. I don't believe that. I think a lot of Americans, including many who didn't vote for Trump, expected him to be a can-do CEO-style president who'd bark orders and get something done, even if it wasn't necessarily what those voters wanted. Even the most committed Trump skeptics knew he was selling a Trump presidency as one of action rather than gridlock and dithering.

Charlie Pierce also believes that everyone apart from the most deluded deplorables was on to the con:
... he supercharged a politics in which sincerity already was a sucker’s game, a tactic to be derided and mocked. Because of that, nobody expects him to mean what he says, because that would mark you as a sap who believes that politics can be a constructive endeavor....

... he laid the groundwork for his insincerity long ago, in all those rallies where people pretended to believe that there would be a big beautiful wall that Mexico would pay for because, to do so, was to strike back at the monsters in their heads. They were bound to him by insincerity and fantasy.
Trump voters may have told reporters during the campaign that they weren't really certain he'd get the wall built, but they truly believed that his passionate talk about the wall and other hot-button issues was a sign that he'd fight like hell for them. They told the rest of us that he would. They're still telling us that. Every time a big-city reporter wanders into a rural diner, they say he's getting the job done. That must be what they're telling their warier neighbors.

And those neighbors have now looked at Wednesday's carnage and are saying, Yeah, Mr. Can-Do? Show me.

Some undoubtedly see Trump as what he is, the lead Republican standing athwart a mass murder scene yelling "Stop -- no gun control." Others see him as a man who promised to make all the bad things go away. They want action now. And when he and his fellow Republicans fail to deliver, they're likely to remember.

No comments: