Dueling National Security Statements

Donald Trump, from Twitter: “Appreciate the congrats on being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

Congrats? Being right? What the…? Apparently, he’s feeling full of himself because he feels “right” about radical Islamic terrorism as he understands it. He can blame the 140 character limit for not explaining his so-called correctness and why someone might congratulate him in the aftermath of a horrific mass shooting.

It takes an ego like Trump’s to turn the worst mass shooting in United States history into a boost for himself. He didn’t specify how he’d been “right” or who had congratulated him or how he had received those congratulations. Frankly, no one knows if anyone gave him a boost or if any atta-boys were all in his narrow but active imagination.

Meanwhile, President Obama spoke. He expressed sympathy for the victims, their friends, and their families. He pointed out the courage of police and first responders who rushed in as others rushed out. Then, as he progressed in a statement that showed empathy for all involved and all affected, he reminded us of a terrible truth.

This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.

As for actively doing nothing, Trump still opposes a ban on assault weapons. He thinks such a ban would prevent people from protecting themselves.

No one needs an assault rifle. Hunters don’t need them. Security guards don’t need them. Military inspired assault rifles have one purpose: to kill many people in a short period of time. As we spend time in prayers and in candlelight vigils, all of us need to become active. Prayers and candles will not stop mass killings from happening and indeed, from happening with increasing frequency.

It’s time to take action. Lawmakers, do you hear me? Radicalized, mentally ill, “disturbed,” no matter what the reason, our country needs to make it hard – no, impossible – for killers to gain possession of assault rifles.

It’s time to stand up and speak up, and then to make this killing machine illegal.

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