Bombs and Guns and Trump, Oh My! [Op-Ed]

For years America has been known as the land of the free and the home of the brave due to the sacrifice of our veterans that fight everyday for our freedom. Our national anthem has those exact words as some of the lyrics. Unfortunately, our veterans are the only reason that description still rings true. Sadly, during the time of our current president’s leadership, we have now become the land of the stupid and the home of Trump. Between bombings and mass shootings, somewhere we forgot that while everyone has a constitutional right to bare arms, not everyone’s route to bare them should be paved in gold. By electing a rich, white republican that cares for nothing but himself into office for four years, we guaranteed that things wouldn’t change – at least not for another two years when we get the chance to rectify the monumental mistake we as a country have made. Among the many problems that the reign of Trump has brought, one such issue is gun control, and the most resent tragedies that have been carried out with the use of fire power.

On Saturday, October 27th, a 46 year old man by the name of Robert Bowers, “armed with what appeared to be an assault rifle and three handguns,” (Action News) walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened fire, killing eleven people and wounding six others, four of which were police officers. In the midst of the carnage and chaos, Bowers expressed his hatred toward Jewish people in their place of worship. “They’re committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews,” (Carissimo) he is later reported as saying.

In addition to the assault rife and three handguns, sources reported that “investigators recovered a total of 10 firearms from the scene and at Bowers’ home, all of which were purchased legally” (Action News). The fact that such a large number of firearms were purchased legally is more than a little troubling, especially when their legality didn’t stop a massacre that has been labeled as “the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history.” (Carissimo)

What happens now? How do we fix this? Insert President Donald Trump. Of course our dear president – our commander in chief – would want to pay his respects, say a few words; however, what came out of his mouth is a shining example of what America has turned into: a bunch of gun toting, prejudice, right-sided assholes. In the beginning Trump commented appropriately about the shooting, calling it “a wicked act of mass murder.” (Guardian News) But then something happened, as it always does when Trump is faced with violence in its rawest form. He didn’t blame the tragedy on the number of guns that Bowers owned, and he didn’t blame it on how easy it was for this man to procure the amount of fire power he had brought to the crime scene and had stashed in his home. Instead, our president told reporters that “if they [the synagogue] had protection inside the results would have been far better.” (The Guardian)

Since when do we need “protection in our place of worship? The right to bare arms is a constitutional right, one that should be upheld by allowing citizens to have a gun in their home for protection. But their is absolutely no reason for someone to be allowed to have an assault rifle, like the AR-15 used in this heinous crime. It shouldn’t be as easy as walking into a place, picking your favorite gun, and walking out. There should be investigations into the life of the person purchasing a gun, such as their online activity. Robert Bowers has “no apparent criminal record,” (Washington Post) but his online activity was riddled with anti-Semitic messages, one of which was on his Twitter feed. In his own words he typed a message that anyone with internet could read, stating that, “HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” (Washington Post) That doesn’t sound like a man just spreading prejudicial words of hate. That sounds like a man that’s “going in,” and “go in” he did.

The synagogue shouldn’t have had to arm itself against a prejudicial attack. Robert Bowers shouldn’t have been allowed to have that arsenal of guns, including the assault rifle. If his online activity would have been looked into as part of the process of purchasing those guns, they would have seen his messages of hate, possibly stopping the attack from ever happening.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to protect yourself and your family. That’s why the right to bare arms is upheld. But how many guns does one truly need to protect themselves? Surely not an assault rifle. Assault rifles are for maximizing damage to target(s). They’re not used for protection; they’re used to purge. This is what Trump wants: more people with guns.

They should have “had protection inside [and] the results would have been far better,” (The Guardian) Trump says. Who else needs to have guns on hand at all times to save themselves? Should teachers and preachers carry guns? What about store and gas station clerks? Or better yet, how about the waiter that brings your dinner? The ice cream man? Sport coaches? What about workers in a movie theater? Should they have guns strapped to their hip while they serve your popcorn?

This horrible crime, and Trump’s subsequent statements, come shortly after the “14 mail bombs sent to Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump across the country,” (Brown) one of which was sent to former President Barack Obama. The man, Cesar Sayoc, who is 56 years old, should never have been able to commit this crime, either. While his weapon of choice wasn’t guns, his online activity was the same as Bowers – threatening to do exactly what he did. The bombs thankfully didn’t take anyone’s life, but should the receivers of these bombs have done something to thwart the delivery, to “have a better outcome?” Should citizens start carrying around bombs as well as guns? Just in case?

More guns aren’t the answer, better investigative measures are the answer. Limit the number of guns a person can purchase. Quick background checks and a receipt can’t be the best we can do. Online activity should be checked, mental state and violence, arrest records – if any. While more guns won’t prevent violent attacks, better security measures might be able to stop them from happening in the first place.

This is why we shouldn’t believe in a president that condones the use of more guns to solve violence. We shouldn’t believe in a president that talks about women like they’re objects to play with. We shouldn’t believe in a president that is not only prejudice himself, but is also liar. According to The Washington Post’s fact checker, Trump has “made more than 5,000 false or misleading claims in the first 601 days of his presidency – an average of 8.3 claims a day – and . . . the pace is picking up.” (Wagner) In response, Trump states, “Well, I try. I do try . . . when I can, I tell the truth.” (Wagner)

Way to go President Trump. The US citizens are so appreciative that you tell us the truth when you can. The things that come out of this man’s are shocking, and we’ve allowed it to happen. While we can’t change the outcome of the past, we can help rectify it by voting this man out of office at the next presidential election. Let’s not make another four year mistake, a mistake that has all the evidence pointing to Trump as being one of the worst presidents America has ever seen.

References:

Robert Bowers: What we know about Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect.” Action News. October 29, 2018. 6ABC. Web. October 31, 2018.

https://6abc.com/pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-robert-bowers-what-we-know-/4565220/

Carissimo, Justin. “Pittsburgh shooting suspect makes court appearance; feds seek death penalty – live updates.” CBS News. October 29, 2018. CBS. Web. October 31, 2018.

Suspect in synagogue slayings spewed online hate for Jews.” The Washington Post. October 27, 2018. WP Company LLC. Web. November 1, 2018.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/suspect-in-synagogue-slayings-spewed-online-hate-for-jews/2018/10/27/e80f8708-da36-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html?utm_term=.3ae03a3e2dbe

Brown, Nicole. “Bombs sent to democrats, Trump critics: What to know.” Amny. October 29, 2018. Am New York. Web. November 1, 2018.

https://www.amny.com/news/bombs-sent-to-democrats-1.22434938

Wagner, John. “’When I can, I tell the truth’: Trump pushes back against his peddling of falsehoods.” Msn News. November 1, 2018. The Washington Post. Web. November 1, 2018.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/‘when-i-can-i-tell-the-truth’-trump-pushes-back-against-his-peddling-of-falsehoods/ar-BBPcEOG

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