What a sad week. An apparent white, racist, mass shooting in El Paso followed by an apparent leftist-minded mass shooting in Dayton. One thing is clear: there are some very sick people out there.
For the record, I do think that the Democrats and their allies in the media went way over the top in their response. But honestly, when the President of the United States routinely tweets hateful, juvenile things, what else would you expect? He reaps what he hath sowed.
Trump did go on record against “racism,” to which Democrats basically replied, to use a phrase, “Well, that was mighty white of you.” Even the liberal New York Times appropriately ran a front page headline, “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.” At first. After immediately being assailed by their own liberal base, The Times then pulled the presses and changed the headline in later editions to “Assailing Hate But Not Guns.”
They should have stuck with the original, factual headline then wrote their own opinions on the opinion page where they belong. Like mine.
Wednesday, the president spoke in more detail about what he would end up proposing to do about the problem. He said that although there appeared to be political momentum for expanding background checks, there was little political effort to move forward on proposals to ban assault weapons.
“I’m looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important,” Trump said. “I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate … I’m all in favor of it.”
Sounds like the same response we hear every time from Republicans after one of these mass shootings. They say things that sound good until the heat dies down. Then, not a lot of real action is taken. Republicans get a lot of money from the NRA, but more importantly, they are terrified by their pro-gun base supporters.
I feel their pain because every time I have ever written anything on the subject, I get blasted, too. A few years ago, I wrote a column against allowing concealed carry in bars, which I stand by. I have also written previously questioning the wisdom of letting just about anybody owning an assault weapon.
Keep in mind that I am an unabashed conservative, a farmer that has used guns when necessary and as someone raised in a hunting family. Although I no longer hunt for personal reasons, I did when I was younger. But I never felt the need to use a machine gun. I do not see the “sport” in shooting fish in a barrel.
Let’s be real here. Assault rifles are not for hunting. The argument can be made that they are for self defense against bad guys. Chemical weapons and nuclear bombs might be good for that, too, but we don’t necessarily let just anybody have them. At some point, judgment must be used.
Democrats currently have a universal background check bill passed in the House. A lot of that is just posturing. They are playing to their base, too. Liberals don’t usually get too worried about your rights to your own money or home or religion, let alone your guns.
After speaking with members of both parties, Trump said that there was “significant disagreement” about what was needed legislatively to prevent mass shootings. He went on to say that he had a lot of influence in the Republican party and indicated that he would press them to follow through on new legislation.
“I will be convincing people to do things that they don’t want to do … I will convince them to do the right thing,” he said. Still, he also said there was no “political appetite” for an assault weapons ban. “So far, I have not seen that – I can only do what I can do,” he said.
There are things that we can do, such as increasing the ability of states to pass “red flag” laws keeping guns out of the hands of psychos. Here in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine introduced legislation to improve background checks for firearm sales and increase access to mental health services.
“Gun violence doesn’t just take the form of mass shootings. People are victims every day in Ohio and across the country,” said DeWine. “I believe that this is both a public safety issue and an individual wellness issue – we must address both sides to help solve the problem. It’s time to do something and that is exactly what we are going to do.”
Hard for me to argue with any of that. Can or should anything be done? That is the subject of our weekly online reader poll. “What should be done to prevent mass shootings?”