Trump’s egotism derails necessary conversation about gun control


Emma Gonzãlez is just one of many Parkland survivors who have spoken out against the NRA.

The shockwaves following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida have been absolutely fascinating to watch, particularly the brave, almost audacious activism performed by the surviving students of the mass shooting. However, for all the good that has been born following the tragedy, there has been a number of rather distasteful reactions as well, particularly accusations of the students being actors, several political cartoons which mock the students’ plight and the revelation that the FBI failed to take action despite having been warned of Cruz’s erratic behavior beforehand.

Naturally, Donald Trump felt the need to tweet on this last development, claiming that they missed all the signs because they were too busy trying to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He finished his truly insightful tweet by adding, “there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

So there’s quite a bit to unpack here. For starters, while there may not be clear proof of collusion yet, it cannot be denied that there was indeed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. So on that front, Trump would do well to, perhaps, stop pressing a narrative which continues to fall through with each passing day and, instead, focus on the issues where he still has a certain level of ground to defend.

Alas, this tweet is, in affect, peak Trump. How natural for him to take one of the deadliest school shootings in modern history and try to make it about himself. It’s impossibly egotistical to think that the reason the FBI failed to do their job was because they were preoccupied with him. This is not to defend the FBI by any means because they absolutely failed to do their job, but not because of a focus on Trump.

I think the reason the FBI failed to take action is the same reason  that a child who brought a clock to school was vilified and mistreated by law enforcement: that good ol’ fashioned racism. Cruz’s status as a milk-logged slice of white bread protected him from being taken seriously as a threat by the FBI, despite the fact that mass shooters are overwhelmingly white and male.

Beyond that, the tweet is a grotesque display of hypocrisy. Trump has shown no care for the victims of mass shootings, offering nothing more than “thoughts and prayers” while children continue to be executed in incidents of domestic terrorism. Yet, he would still use this as an opportunity to defame the FBI in an attempt to undermine their reliability, almost in anticipation of them coming to some incriminating conclusions about his campaign and cabinet.

Even still, it’s incredibly derailing. We are at a point where we very seriously need to have a conversation about gun control and the fact that children are having to fight for their right to attend school without risking getting shot. Granted, this isn’t necessarily new if you’ve been following Black Lives Matter, but these are white kids too. Normally Republicans like white kids.

Trump should be using his platform to facilitate conversation, not manipulate it into something irrelevant. But then again, what can we expect from America’s first child president?