Trump’s Blame Game on Mass Shootings Continues Unabated

by on August 8, 2019 · 0 comments

in American Empire

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / August 7, 2019

One of the things you can say this administration has done well is gaslighting people on mass shootings.

While I know pointing out the ten thousand plus falsehoods coming from the Oval Office isn’t going to change the mindset of Trumpanistas, staying aware of reality is an important part of civic consciousness.

These fabrications and fictions have the cumulative effect of tamping down overall voter enthusiasm while keeping the thirty percent of Americans who represent Trump’s base energized.

Faced with overwhelmingly bad news –mass shootings, winning trade wars isn’t easy, after all, and those darn statistics about climate change– the administration and their allies are cranking out absurdities at a frightening pace.

If Phil Spector’s concept of a crowded recording studio equaled the ‘wall of sound’, then these attempts at media manipulation should be called a torrent of lies.

Johnathan Katz looked back to 2018’s Charlottesville violence, the role of the New York Times in facilitating attempts by marginal media to undo the political damage caused by Trump’s equivocation, and the overall context for the latest round of deception:

  • Amid the spate of mass shootings last week, Saturday’s massacre of at least 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso posed a particular problem for conservatives. In addition to being the deadliest of the slaughters, it was also the only one with an overtly electoral mission: Massacring Hispanic people to help Republicans win.
  • Before opening fire, the killer published a manifesto in which he said his goal was to stop “The Democrat party (sic)” from “own[ing] America.” His words were practically lifted from a Trump rally: that Democrats “intend to use open borders, free healthcare for illegals, citizenship and more to enact a political coup”—boosting the Hispanic vote to make Texas “a Democrat stronghold” and win presidential elections.
  • This act of ethnic cleansing occurred right as a national consensus was finally starting to harden against Trump’s overtly white-supremacist rhetoric and policy. The president’s allies rushed to deflect attention.

The President visited El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday, and made noises about doing something about gun violence. Don’t hold your breath.

From Politico:

  • President Donald Trump this week said his administration has done “much more than most” to help curb mass shootings in the United States.
  • While Trump boasts of action on firearms, his administration has actually eased gun restrictions over the past two and a half years.
  • Federal agencies have implemented more than half a dozen policy changes — primarily through little-noticed regulatory moves — that expand access to guns by lifting firearms bans in certain locations and limiting the names on the national database designed to keep firearms away from dangerous people. The administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn New York City restrictions on transporting handguns outside homes. And it pushed to allow U.S. gunmakers to more easily sell firearms overseas, including the types used in mass shootings.

After tepidly reading some words (inserted by his staff at the last minute) denouncing white supremacists on Monday, the President has now regressed to the “both sides” talking points.

Despite proclamations from the right about the shootings in Dayton being proof the ‘other side’ does bad things, the man charged with murders was obsessed with hating women, a trait not generally associated with left wing activism. And there is no evidence suggesting his attack was ideologically motivated.

From the Daily Beast:

  • “The Dayton situation, he was a fan of antifa. He was a fan of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—nothing to do with Trump. But nobody ever mentions that,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for his trip to Ohio and Texas Wednesday morning. 

Wait for it…

  • When asked about the accused El Paso mass shooter who allegedly posted an online anti-immigrant manifesto that aimed to justify violence against Hispanic people, Trump tried to deviate. 
  • “I think that illegal immigration—you’re talking about illegal immigrants, right? Yes? I think illegal immigration is a terrible thing for this country,” Trump said.

Actions speak louder than words, and the efforts of the current administration have done nothing to tamp down a growing menace.

Here’s former FBI agent Erroll Summers, writing in USA Today:

  • We are on solid ground, however, in pointing out a clear, documented trend in this administration’s actions related to white supremacy and right-wing terrorism. To speculate on why takes us into a realm of pure opinion, but we don’t need to know why.
  • Here’s all we need to know: White supremacists are killing Americans in greater number than any other ideologically motivated terrorists. And the the Trump administration, over nearly three years, actively stopped the efforts of our national security apparatus to address white supremacy and right-wing violence.

In addition to the President’s not-white-supremacists-responsible-for-mass-shootings are the media, video games, and –the NRA’s favorite standby– mental illness.

From NBC News:

  • Trump wasn’t the only politician focused on video games in the wake of the recent gun violence — and this isn’t the first time he’s posited a link between mass shootings and brutal video games. Over the weekend, conservative lawmakers, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also suggested video games were to blame for real-world violence.
  • “We’ve always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill,” Patrick said on “Fox and Friends” Sunday morning, pointing out that an anti-immigrant screed authorities believe is connected to the suspect in the El Paso massacre referred to “Call of Duty,“ a first-person shooter game.

There is a thing called evidence, and unfortunately for gun violence apologists, there isn’t enough to support their claims about video games, despite multiple studies. From Business Insider:

  • In 2017, the American Psychological Association outright warned against journalists and lawmakers connecting real-life violence with video-game violence:
  • “Journalists and policy makers do their constituencies a disservice in cases where they link acts of real-world violence with the perpetrators’ exposure to violent video games or other violent media. There’s little scientific evidence to support the connection, and it may distract us from addressing those issues that we know contribute to real-world violence.”
  • When the APA looked at various studies of violent video games and whether playing them had any relation to aggressive acts, it found “scant evidence … that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities.”
  • Speaking to the New York Times this week, Ferguson, now a psychology professor at Stetson University, summed up the data succinctly: “The data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive. Literally. The numbers work out about the same.”

Finally, it’s time to take on the mythology surrounding mental illness and gun violence. The one in five Americans diagnosed with some form of mental illness are far more likely to be victims than victimizers.

From psychiatry scholar Arash Javanbakht, writing at The Conversation:

  • Even among the 1% of the U.S. population with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, it is rare to find people who are a risk of harm to others or at risk of acting violently. Despite the widespread belief that a person with serious mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can be dangerous, only 3% to 4% of all the violent acts committed in a given year in the U.S. are committed by people who have been diagnosed with commonly cited mental illness of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression.
  • Also, these conditions are rather strongly associated with increased risk of suicide, not homicide. Furthermore, risk of violence among severely mentally ill declines in the absence of substance use. In other words, prevention and treatment of substance use can decrease the risk of violence in this population.
  • Another fact to consider is that the prevalence of severe mental illnesses, is relatively similar across different countries, including those with much lower rates of mass murder than the U.S.
  • Finally, one has to keep in mind that the presence of a psychiatric diagnosis in a murderer, does not necessarily justify causality, as much as the weapon the person carries. In other words, because mental illness is so prevalent, a percentage of crimes are, statistically, going to be committed by people with a mental illness.

What do we know about mass shootings? An Everytown Research survey from 2017 found:

  • In at least one-third of mass shootings, the shooter was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting.
  • In half of mass shootings, the shooter exhibited warning signs indicating that they posed a danger to themselves or others before the shooting.
  • The majority of mass shootings were related to domestic or family violence. These incidents were responsible for 86 percent of mass shooting child fatalities.
  • Mass shootings that involved the use of high-capacity magazines resulted in more than twice as many fatalities and 14 times as many injuries on average compared to those that did not.


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: