President Trump was very clear about what needs to happen after the horrific mass shooting of Jewish people in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The logical answer, he opined, was to arm people in synagogues.
‘If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation,’ he told reporters. ‘They didn’t and he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldn’t have been able to do.’
When asked if the shooting indicated a need to revisit gun laws, Trump replied that ‘this had little to do with it.’
He then added: ‘As you know, numerous police were badly injured.’
Yes, they were Mr President.
Four officers were shot, in fact.
And they were armed, highly trained, and knew what they were dealing with by the time they arrived at the synagogue.
So what possible chance would a solitary guard have to stop a lunatic who burst in during a service blazing away with a semi-automatic rifle?
We saw what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year when the armed guard froze under very similar circumstances.
He was branded a coward, but who could really blame him for not wanting to confront a deranged individual armed with a high- powered assault rifle, intent on killing as many people as possible?
Trump’s response to the synagogue massacre was similar to his response to what happened in Parkland.
He called then for teachers to be armed.
It’s his default position on every mass shooting now, and of course, the preferred rhetorical template of his paymasters at the NRA, who deliver him big votes and big money.
Trump says it’s not a gun control issue. Why? He’s scared of the NRA. Trump loves reminding us that his top priority is to ‘keep America safe’ yet he deliberately chooses to do nothing
Because they know that means more gun sales, and the only thing the NRA cares about is selling more guns.
In Trump, they now have a compliant President who will do their bidding, because he thinks it will be electoral suicide not to.
So the senseless slaughter goes on unabated because nobody ever does anything to stop it.
Yet there is one thing Trump could do right now that would help curb the scale and ferocity of these mass shootings.
The reasons for the massacres differ from incident to incident.
They can be connected to all manner of things including mental illness, drugs, violent video games, social rejection, or as saw in Pittsburgh, pure bigotry, racism and hateful intolerance.
But the unarguable common denominator is guns.
And in recent years, there is a more specific commonality to the type of gun mass shooters use: the AR-15, military style semi-automatic rifle.
There is a specific commonality to the type of gun mass shooters use: the AR-15, military style semi-automatic rifle. Half of America’s worst-ever mass shootings have come in the past 14 years and almost every single one has involved AR-15s
In this era of fake news, let me give you some cold, hard facts:
Half of America’s worst-ever mass shootings have come in the past 14 years.
And almost every single one has involved AR-15s.
In 2012, James Holmes was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
A few months later, Adam Lanza was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut.
In 2015, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik were armed with two AR-15s when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino.
In 2016, Omar Mateen was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
In 2017, Stephen Paddock was armed with 12 AR-15s when he killed 58 people at a music festival in Las Vegas.
The gun that keeps slaughtering Americans: Adam Lanza was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook. James Holmes was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater
Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik were armed with two AR-15s when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino
Omar Mateen was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.. Stephen Paddock was armed with 12 AR-15s when he killed 58 people in Las Vegas.
A month later, Devin Kelly was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Then on Saturday, Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 11 people
In February, 2018, Nikolas Cruz was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
On Saturday morning, Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers was armed with an AR-15 when he killed 11 people.
This is not a coincidence.
The reason why all these shooters used an AR-15 is simple: they’re light, easy to use, and specifically designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest possible time, and in the most appallingly devastating way.
After the Parkland massacre, Rolling Stone magazine published a feature about the AR-15.
It began like this: ‘The AR-15 assault rifle was engineered to create what one of its designers called ‘maximum wound effect’. Its tiny bullets – needle-nosed and weighing less than four grams – travel nearly three times the speed of sound. As the bullet strikes the body, the payload of kinetic energy rips open a cavity inside the flesh – essentially inert space – which collapses back on itself, destroying inelastic tissue, including nerves, blood vessels and vital organs. “It’s a perfect killing machine,” said Dr Peter Rhee, a leading trauma surgeon. ‘A handgun wound is simply stabbing with a bullet, it goes in like a nail. With the high-velocity rounds of the AR-15, its as if you shot somebody with a can of Coke.’
I had separate confirmation of this from a friend of mine, one of the top bone surgeons in America.
After Sandy Hook, when I railed on CNN against the insanity of disturbed civilians like Adam Lanza being able to arm themselves with assault rifles, he emailed me: ‘Piers, I’ve seen over 10,000 gunshot wounds in my career and treated thousands of patients with both low and high energy gunshot wounds. The degree of destruction and devastation between handguns compared to assault rifles is so dramatic. There is no reason why any individual (other than law enforcement and military) should have the right to own military weapons such as the AR-15. In South Central LA, we see multiple victims of such rifles in what gang bangers call ‘spray downs’. If such a bullet hits the bone, massive bone and tissue loss ensues. Entrance wounds were 5-10mm and exit wounds could be 10-15cm.’
So they explode on impact.
Someone who saw photos of the poor little children at Sandy Hook told me their bodies were riddled with between 3-11 bullet holes, each creating a hole the size of a golf ball.
That image has haunted me ever since, particularly as I now have a daughter of that age.
What also haunts me is that nothing has been done to stop it happening again.
Gun-lovers in America refuse to countenance any change to gun laws because they claim it would ‘infringe’ their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights.
Yet what about the rights of schoolchildren, moviegoers, worshippers or night-clubbers not to be blown to pieces by weapons that belong on a battlefield?
Other countries, like Britain, have lots of nasty, hateful, insane people. But we don’t have mass shootings like this because they can’t get their hands on the tools to commit them.
I refuse to believe the Founding Fathers would have ever allowed guns like AR-15s to be used by American civilians as killing machines in this horrendous way.
Nobody needs one for home defense.
Nobody needs one to hunt.
Nobody needs one, period – other than to kill a lot of people fast, as we are now seeing time and again.
President Trump loves reminding us that his top priority is to ‘keep America safe’.
Stop being such a coward, Mr President. You can’t pretend to be tough and strong on safety, yet turn a blind eye to this insane AR-15 Groundhog Day.
Yet he deliberately chooses to do nothing to stop crazy people repeatedly using AR-15s to slaughter Americans, because he doesn’t want to upset a despicably cynical and ruthless lobby group hell-bent on turning America into a militarized state.
Stop being such a coward, Mr President.
You can’t pretend to be tough and strong on safety, yet turn a blind eye to this insane AR-15 Groundhog Day.
When President Clinton introduced an assault weapons ban in 1994, a certain New York businessman supported it.
That was YOU, Mr Trump.
In 2000, you were unequivocal: ‘I support the ban on assault weapons.’
You were right then, and you’d be right now.
AR-15s have no place in ANY civilized society.
Grow a pair, and ban them.