I heard several comments about the meeting Wednesday between Trump and survivors of different mass shootings. There were a few takeaways from that meeting and his response to the meeting Thursday morning that were, to me, troubling.
On a talk radio station out of Los Angeles Thursday, the early morning commentator was, and this is the only way I can put it, making excuses for Trump about the clear notes he had for the meeting. Now, I understand why he would have talking points and questions that needed to be asked in the conversation. I get that and I’m sure many people would get that, however, here’s what the talking points were on that list –
1 What would you most want me to know about your experience?
2 What can we do to help you feel safe?
3 ** Not clear what it said **
4 Resources? Ideas?
5 I hear you.
It was number five, I hear you, which people made a lot of comments about. Why would you have to have notes that said “I hear you?” Everything else on the list makes sense as talking points but why would you have to remind someone, especially an accomplished business person as Trump claims to be, a reminder to say he is listening to their concerns. That should be a no brainer.
Here’s one of the major issues people have about Trump. There is an image of him lacking empathy. Maybe he is empathetic in his own way, but he comes across as a bully at worse and uncaring at the very least. With the photograph of the talking point with the note stating, “I hear you,” it lends credits to the notion that Trump or his staff are so concerned about that image that he has to be reminded. To be frank, a normal person wouldn’t need to be reminded of that, especially in a situation where you have grieving members in the room relating the tragedy of the death of friends and children in gun violence.
Another troubling moment for me was his initial response to hearing from the people in the room. There was a moment where a young man, who sat next to a Sandy Hook mother, tearfully told Trump about how the shooting affected him personally. Even I felt moved when hearing this young man, still dealing with the events from a week ago, relate the pain he felt. He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t disrespectful, but he shared his emotions to a person, Trump, whom he felt would give comfort and hope to.
This is a quote from CNN about what Trump said at the meeting Wednesday. To put this in context, Trump heard from another person who talked about arming teachers before he made the comment.
Your concept and your idea about, it’s called concealed carry. It only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many. And it would be teachers and coaches. If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy, that coach was very brave, he saved a lot of lives I suspect, but if he had a firearm he wouldn’t hadda run. He would have shot and that would been the end of it. This would only be obviously for people that are very adept at handling a gun. It would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.
You’d have a lot of people that’d be armed, that’d be ready. They’re professionals. They may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force and they very adept at doing this. You’d have a lot of them and spread evenly throughout the school. So, the other thing I really believe that if these cowards knew that that was at the school was, you know, well-guarded from the standpoint of having pretty much professionals with great training, I think they wouldn’t go into the school to start off with. I think it could very well solve your problem. So, we’ll be doing the background checks, we’ll be doing lot of different things but will certainly be looking at ideas like that.
His whole response was to arm teachers, basically putting more guns in schools. He’s not talking about making students safe, but making schools more like prisons. It’s sadly a direction this country has been moving towards for decades. With metal detectors, armed officers on campus and shooting drills, I think it’s clear to say our schools don’t resemble institutions for learning; they are more like detention centers.
Thursday, just before I started work, I saw where Trump sent off a series of tweets, which the first was criticizing the coverage from CNN and NBC.
Donald J. Trump
I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC. What I said was to look at the possibility of giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience – only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to
5:26 AM – Feb 22, 2018
Donald J. Trump
….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!
5:40 AM – Feb 22, 2018
Donald J. Trump
….History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!
5:54 AM – Feb 22, 2018
Donald J. Trump
….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!
6:05 AM – Feb 22, 2018
Donald J. Trump
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!
6:13 AM – Feb 22, 2018
OK, as with many issues with Trump, he’s just lying about the coverage. Personally, I got a copy of the statement Trump made on Wednesday through the CNN website and instead of relying on the transcript I wrote down his spoken statement, just to make sure I got his statement correctly. He never said give teachers guns and I guess if he’s implying that he said those exact words he would be correct. He did say that if the coach had a gun he could have stopped the gunman. He did say give guns to gun adept teachers, estimating 20% of teachers could be armed.
His big problem is he wants to play the parsing word game, but he blows it by essentially proving that he said the exact same thing that he called fake. Also, in the subsequent time that has passed on the issue, he had doubled down on arming teachers by suggesting that teachers with guns should get extra pay. At CPAC on Friday, he talked about having armed teachers. I guess in his mind, he has an odd disconnect with the definition of armed teachers. If every teacher isn’t packing, then he isn’t calling for giving teachers guns. I guess in his mind he’s making it a suggestion that “the bad guys” assume all teachers have concealed weapons.
The myth that Trump and the NRA cling to is a movie fantasy about guns. A good guy with a gun can take out a bad guy with a gun. They will site instances where a robber is stopped because of a citizen with a gun. They will hail that person has a hero. They will conveniently ignore or dismiss instances where the opposite occurs.
There was an armed resource officer, a deputy on the police force, who was on the school grounds when the shooting occurred. He didn’t rush into the school to take down the bad guy. He took a defensive position and didn’t enter the school.
A trained person with a gun, who was there to protect the lives of students and teachers, didn’t go into the area to confront the gunman.
That not the heroic scenario Trump and the NRA wants to present.