Denouncing the killing sprees by two gunmen in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that took the lives of at least 31 innocent people in two separate attacks over this past weekend, President Trump called out white supremacy by name for specific condemnation. The El Paso shooter, who is responsible for 22 deaths so far, had reportedly revealed himself in an online posting as an anti-Hispanic bigot who wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible. The motives of the Dayton shooter, whose murder victims included his own sister, were less clear.
In his remarks Monday on the shootings, President Trump implored the nation to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He added, “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America, hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul. These barbaric slaughters are an assault on our communities, an attack on our nation and a crime against all humanity. We are sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror.”
President Trump also expressed the grief of the nation as consoler-in-chief and asked for unity of purpose as a nation to “honor the sacred memory of those we have lost by acting as one people.” The president acknowledged the need to address the gun access issue, but linked it to the problem of guns getting into the hands of mentally ill people who should have been red-flagged beforehand. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun,” he said. The president also pointed to the “dark recesses of the Internet” and “gruesome and grisly” video games that help twist impressionable minds.
President Trump not only tried to offer an honest diagnosis of the contributing causes of mass shootings. He suggested some solutions for which he urged bipartisan support. He urged stronger mental health laws that could enable troubled individuals with serious mental health issues to “not only get treatment but when necessary, involuntary confinement.” He recommended addressing the "glorification of violence" in our culture, as exemplified in certain video games.
The left is disgustingly exploiting the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings for crass political purposes. Playing the race card and their white nationalist bogeyman yet again, the demagogues have their knives out for President Trump as the prime cause of the massacres. Several of the candidates seeking the Democrat Party nomination to run against President Trump in 2020 have shamelessly politicized the tragedies.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke said, for example, that President Trump is “not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country.”
“Such a bulls**t soup of ineffective words,” tweeted Senator Cory Booker, in response to President Trump’s remarks calling for unity and bipartisan action.
“Mr. President: stop your racist, hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Your language creates a climate which emboldens violent extremists,” tweeted Socialist-Democrat Bernie Sanders.
“Donald Trump says hate has no place in this country — Donald Trump has created plenty of space for hate,” said far-left progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren. “He is a racist. He has made one racist remark after another, he has put in place racist policies, and we’ve seen the consequences of it.”
Joe Biden also got in on the act. Following President Trump’s call for the nation to condemn in one voice racism, bigotry, and white supremacy, Biden tweeted, “Let's be very clear. You use the office of the presidency to encourage and embolden white supremacy. We won't truly speak with one voice against hatred until your voice is no longer in the White House.”
Left-wing media and academia also sought to make the president the villain, rather than the shooters themselves.
A CNN so-called “analyst,” for example, accused the president of often trafficking “in some of the same language as white supremacists like the one who killed 22 people in El Paso.” The CNN Trump-hater wrote that he found it “jarring” to hear the president “suddenly and tersely condemn hatred.”
Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, a darling of leftists who wish he was on the Supreme Court, accused the president of “inciting white nationalist terrorism.” Tribe also tweeted, “The longer we tolerate this diseased presidency, the more we will be complicit in the hateful violence it stokes and spawns. It’s now a matter of life and death.”
These insane anti-Trump tirades fuel more division and hatred in a country already torn apart by more than two years of reckless Russian-Trump collusion conspiracy theories. Hoping that something will stick against the president, his haters are replacing “Russian agent” and “traitor” with “racist” and “white nationalist” labels.
When the loony leftists are not blaming the president for the mass shootings, they blame the lack of effective gun control measures. Democrats even insisted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bring the Senate back from vacation for an emergency session to pass their preferred gun control legislation.
Every death from a mass shooting is a tragedy, but such killings did not start with President Trump and will not end when he leaves office. During the last year of former President Obama’s administration, for example, there were 66 deaths in the U.S. from mass shootings from January through July 2016, according to data compiled by Mother Jones’ investigation into mass shootings. From January through August 4, 2019, counting this past weekend’s two massacres, there were 59 deaths in the U.S. from mass shootings.
Moreover, trying to solve the gun violence problem without directly addressing related mental illness issues will be a futile exercise. A study published in the journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, entitled “Mass shootings in the United States: Understanding the importance of mental health and firearm considerations,” documented the linkage between mental illness and mass shooters that President Trump had alluded to. The researchers analyzed a total of 102 media-reported mass shooters in the United States between 1982 and 2018. More than 80 percent of the shooters had obtained their guns legally. The researchers found that mental illness was reported in slightly more than half of the cases and that about 25 percent had spent some time in a mental facility or program.
“Our findings suggest that mass shooters with suspected mental health issues, yet who lacked formal diagnosis, tended to be more violent. This potentially implies that formal contact with mental health professionals or formal awareness of mental health might provide some buffering effect on violence among mass shooters,” one of the authors told PsyPost.
The Secret Service issued a report last month on mass shootings. The study found that in 2018 “two-thirds of the attackers…experienced mental health symptoms before the attacks. The most common symptoms observed were related to depression and psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions. Suicidal thoughts were also observed...Nearly half of the attackers…had been diagnosed with, or treated for, a mental illness prior to their attacks.”
The report did not blame mental illness alone as the cause of mass shootings. “The violence described in this report is not the result of a single cause or motive,” it said. However, the report noted the importance of trying to “identify warning signs prior to an act of violence." It said that “targeted violence may be preventable, if appropriate systems are in place to identify concerning behaviors, gather information to assess the risk of violence, and utilize community resources to mitigate the risk.”
President Trump has tried to bring the country together in the wake of the weekend mass shootings. He has called for bipartisan solutions to address the underlying causes of a phenomenon that long preceded his presidency. Trump-haters, however, have no interest in tackling all the causes of mass shootings, including mental illness and this country’s long-standing glorification of violence, reinforced by hateful social media sites and hideous video games. They are shamelessly demagoguing the tragedies in a bid to seize power so they can advance their far-left political agendas.