President Trump’s constant barrage of hateful, divisive rhetoric inspired yet another mass shooting in America this morning — this one leaving at least 8 out of the 12 victims at a Pittsburgh synagogue dead — and the president’s response again demonstrated that he refuses to accept responsibility for the effects of his fear-mongering and demonization of minorities.
Today’s shootings marked the second example within the week of right-wing terrorism by supporters of Trump’s hate-instilled, white nationalist ideology — following the delivery of over a dozen pipe bombs to Democratic and media opponents of the president by a “Florida man,” Cesar Sayoc. The shootings at the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood by an anti-Semitic suspect identified as Robert Bowers is a direct result of the deterioration of public norms of reasonable behavior that Trump has encouraged with his violence-inspiring speeches at a series of campaign events that increasingly are being compared to the type of Bund rallies that Hitler addressed in the run-up to the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930’s.
Trump, as he did earlier this week when the first reports of the pipe bombs emerged, made some empty, seemingly insincere remarks decrying the violence, calling the shooter a “wacko,” according to an article on The Hill, before veering back to his typical tactics of blaming his opposition for the problem.
In this case, he suggested solutions almost universally opposed by Democrats and progressives across the country, relying on standard Republican talking points that against all logic suggest that more weapons are the solution to mass gun violence and that an increased use of the death penalty will deter future incidents such as this.
“Anyone who does a thing like this to innocent people … they should really pay the ultimate price,” Trump told reporters this morning, before leaving for a day of further incitement. “We should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty. When people do this they should get the death penalty … they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue,” he said as if the government sanctioned murder of another human being was just another fashion trend.
“This is a case where if they had an armed gun inside they would have been able to stop him immediately,” he said, utilizing the standard NRA trope that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.
Trump’s arguments are completely counter-factual, with a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association proving that states with stricter gun control legislation experience fewer gun-related fatalities, and another study at the University of Colorado showing that 88% of criminologists do not believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent.
Outside of his offering the same old tired and ineffective suggestions, Trump ceded any responsibility to do anything about the violent climate that he created, throwing up his hands and shrugging his shoulders at the issue of rampant American gun violence.
who does this? pic.twitter.com/UbWk2E9Nq9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 27, 2018
How long before it the majority of Americans fully realize that the one-party rule headed by an immoral, lying, selfish, illegitimate president and a complicit Republican-led Congress is destroying our country, and they begin to take action to end this national nightmare? We have the opportunity to put an end to this in just 10 days. Vote as if our lives depend upon it. They do.
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Original reporting by Chris Mills Rodrigo at The Hill.