For a moment on Wednesday I thought President Trump gave a damn about the danger posed to all Americans, including school children and teachers, by the easy access to guns in the United States.
I thought he might have actually been paying attention during Wednesday’s “listening session” at the White House, where the parents and classmates of the Florida school shooting victims poured their hearts out to him. They spoke eloquently, angrily and tearfully about their pain and their passionate belief there are too many guns, too easily obtained, especially weapons capable of killing dozens of people within seconds.
The President said the right things Wednesday, showing, for maybe the first time as president, a little bit of empathy.
Trump told the group he would “do something about this horrible situation that’s going on” in America, and that he hoped to “figure it out together” with those students, teachers and parents gathered at the White House.
“We don’t want others to go through the kind of pain that you’ve gone through,” Trump said.
It was a different story Thursday, when the President voiced support for countering the problem of guns in schools by having teachers bring more guns into schools.
President Donald Trump on Thursday expanded on his idea to train and arm some teachers with guns, suggesting that firearm-adept school staff be given “a little bit of a bonus” for carrying weapons, and promising federal funds to train them.
At a White House discussion on school safety solutions with state and local officials, Trump said “highly adept people … who understand weaponry” could carry guns in schools, estimating that 10 to 40 percent of teachers could be qualified for such a task. Those who are would undergo “rigorous training,” he said, later adding that he’d consider offering federal money for that effort.
Though on Wednesday, he said he wanted to “figure it out” with teachers and students, by Thursday it was clear the only voice he hears is that of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA answer to every problem is “more guns,” which makes sense because the NRA is the marketing and lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers. Anything that reduces the number of guns sold is bad for business.
Arming teachers could mean 720,000 more guns in schools., so you can see why the NRA told Trump to float the idea, which was immediately rejected by the nation’s largest education employees union. NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, said more guns into schools does nothing to protect students and educators from gun violence.
“Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.
A post on the issue on the IEA Facebook Page generated more than 500 comments in less than 24 hours, virtually all of them in opposition.
Offering to bribe teachers to carry guns is classic Trump. He knows teachers will never go for a plan to give them weapons. That’s not why they became teachers.
But the thing is He doesn’t care.
Now he’ll say, “I offered a solution, teachers didn’t like it, we’re done.” As far as he’s concerned, that gets him off the hook.
Status quo, the position always favored by the NRA, remains in place.
Let’s hope everyone outraged by last week’s violence in Florida will remain angry in November.
The president won’t be on the ballot. However, many of his enablers will.
This president can’t relate to people whose focus is not on “making money.” This explains the meeting Trump had with the national Teachers of the Year at the White House last year, which the Washington Post described as “weird.”