Today, the President of the United States sat down with a group of school shooting survivors and their families in order to hold a “listening session” on the epidemic of gun violence that is devastating American communities and killing tens of thousands of people a year.
The session began on the wrong foot after it became clear that none of the survivors from last Wednesday’s Stoneman-Douglas high school who have spoken out about gun control were in attendance – students we later learned weren’t even invited to the meeting.
In a sadly predictable turn of events, far from offering any actual solutions to the crisis, the President doubled down on the rhetoric that his donors in the National Rifle Association parrot every time somebody commits mass slaughter with their legally purchased assault rifle – more guns in school.
Trump: "If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly, and the good thing about a suggestion like that — and we're going to be looking at it very strongly…but the good thing is you'll have a lot of [armed] people with that." pic.twitter.com/wGRSTDK38o
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 21, 2018
The president also suggested that we employ armed veterans to patrol our schools, turning the places of learning for children into prison-like fortresses.
This is really something – Trump's most enthusiastic proposal, in his "listening session" on school shootings, is: A) encouraging teachers and coaches to carry guns; B) sending a company of armed veterans into schools.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 21, 2018
Ignoring the fact that there was an armed guard at Stoneman-Douglas highschool who wasn’t able to do anything in the chaos, on any number of levels this idea is absolutely preposterous. The idea that our nation’s underpaid and overworked teachers be handed pistols and taught to treat their students like potential threats at all times is as dangerous as it is deluded – and was immediately met with a furious outcry on social media by veterans, teachers, and concerned citizens from all levels of society.
my mom is a music teacher in a public school. are people seriously going to hand her a fucking AR-15? is she just gonna carry it in with her clarinet? https://t.co/jij8ub2SHi
— Sarah Jones (@onesarahjones) February 21, 2018
Here's (one of) the problems with arming ex-military and dropping them into schools:
A lot of military folks are absolutely terrible shots.
I routinely missed 3 or 4 (out of 40) every weapons qual, and was considered a pretty good shot.
Many failed the 23 out of 40 minimum.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 21, 2018
Y'all gonna really let Marines with rifles around high school girls? I cannot tell you how bad an idea that is
— American Propagandist (@ArmyStrang) February 21, 2018
how convenient that the president's solution to mass shootings is Blackwater-style security squads in schools when Erik Prince is the brother of the secretary of education
— crisis actor who thinks he can 'win one for soros' (@thetomzone) February 21, 2018
One or more of the School-Troops is gonna shoot an unarmed kid and get the school sued out of existence.
— Rainman Chandler (@PraxisKenzie) February 21, 2018
Reminder: The presence of guns increases the chance that someone will be shot. People who endorse militaristic security theater like that are stupid, evil, or both. https://t.co/yV7uHyAzik
— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) February 21, 2018
It owns our solution to school shootings is to just turn them into prisons because why should a kid get to grow up not living in constant fear when I’ve just done spent $1500 on my sixtieth gun
— horny ron rides again (@ronaldravegan) February 21, 2018
an executive order requiring every school district to rustle up some scrip for an ornery 1870s federal marshal who's a crack shot when his not taken to drink
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) February 21, 2018
The refusal of President Trump and the right-wing political establishment to acknowledge the root of the problem – easy access to dangerous firearms – makes any discussion utterly useless and counterproductive. More guns is the last thing that this country needs – and the fact that the President of the United States is embracing this kind of absurd nonsense is a dangerous sign that once again, little will be done to fix the problem of gun violence in our nation.