Trump's Shotgun Diplomacy Dominates
Ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty and denial have dominated Donald Trump's presidency and his responses to school shootings epitomise this. Trump speaks tough, uses popularism to maintain support and ignores evidence.
His approach to world diplomacy is also a simplistic one, believing that he can bully other countries into submission through the strength of the US military (dramatically increasing military spending). Under Trump and Tillerson the top management of the State Department has been gutted by 60%. The military leads diplomacy now.
His solution for solving school shootings is similar to how he is dealing with global conflict, more guns (arm the teachers). In Trump's world there are the bad guys and the good guys (like in a B grade Western), with no shades of grey. Leading up to his election Donald Trump ardently supported the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has done so since (despite the mass shootings) with rallying speeches in support of gun rights. The fake news culture thriving under Trump involves discrediting those speaking truth to power and the students leading the protests against gun laws have been subject to numerous rightwing conspiracy theories.
The United States has a long history of school shootings, the first documented was 1764 in Greencastle Pennsylvania when a teacher was shot and nine children were killed with tomahawks. Over the last hundred years the number of shootings, deaths and injuries have steadily increased, with each decade worse than the one before. This decade has over two more years to go but already there have been as many school shootings as the three previous decades combined.
So far in 2018 (up to May 18) there have been 22,048 gun incidents, 5,460 gun related deaths and almost 10,000 injuries. Donald Trump is spending billions to protect US citizens from external terrorism when the actual risk is minimal compared to the carnage caused by those within. 40% of US citizens own a gun or live in a household with one, there are 9 guns for every 10 people.
The gun culture in the US will be a difficult one to resolve when gun ownership is so imbedded in its culture and the flawed interpretation of the 2nd amendment dominates. Bizarrely under Obama gun sales increased (possibly due to the fact that as gun laws tightened, many bought them before new regulations were embedded). However, if Obama had remained in the Whitehouse the initial purchasing flurry would have quickly diminished. Now that Trump is encouraging the use of armed force and vigilante behaviour, these weapons are more likely to be used. His first year in office ended with twice as many mass shootings as Obama's. Three of the worst mass shootings in modern history have already occurred under Trump's presidency.
President Trump could be bold and do what Australia did to dramatically reduce gun deaths, but proven solutions are blatantly ignored for political convenience. Ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty and denial will ensure the carnage continues.