Friday, November 03, 2017

Some Lives Matter

After Stephen Paddock unloaded his AR-15 with a bump fire stock upon thousands of concertgoers in Las Vegas and killing 47 indivduals, President Trump could offer only the standard thoughts and prayers: "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!"

Yet after Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov mowed down eight individuals with a Home Depot truck on Tuesday, Trump unleashed six tweets upon the public as of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Washington Post's Phillip Bump.

They included four pertaining to policy. "I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for  this!; "The terrorist came into  ourcountry through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based"; "We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter); "Senator Chuck Schumer is helping to import Europes problems" said Col. Tony Shaffer. We will stop this."

(The immigration reform proposal of the Gang of Eight, of which Schumer was a part, would have eliminated this visa program, adopted in 1990. But never mind.)

Three days later, Trump added the companion tweets "ISIS just claimed the Degenerate Animal who killed, and  so badly wounded, the wonderful people on the West Side, was 'their soldier"... Based on that , the Military has hit ISIS 'much harder' over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!"

Only the indelicate would ask why it would take a horrific terrorist attack on the USA mainland for the nation's military to come down hard on ISIL, so I won't. Still, he has still remained silent following the crime on Wednesday night in which we learn from Salon's Charlie May

Scott Ostrem, a 47-year-old white man walked into Walmart and began opening fire on innocent people around 6 p.m. local time, according to the Denver Post. A woman and two men were killed in the incident, and Ostrem had used a handgun. The three victims were the only ones who were shot, police said.

"He walked in very nonchalantly with his hands in the pockets, raised a weapon and began shooting. Then he turns around and walks out of the store," Victor Avila, a spokesman for the Thornton Colorado Police Department said, according to the Post.

Authorities arrested Ostrem on Thursday morning at around 8 a.m., local time, after he was seen driving "a red 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage with Colorado license plate number 882TQB," the Denver Post reported. Police informed the public to look out for the suspect and warned that he was "armed and dangerous."

Even before the mass shooting in Walmart, Bump noted

....with Saipov, Trump is quick to weigh in on policy proposals meant to address the perceived threat posed by immigrants — even if those proposals are not necessarily rooted in an accurate understanding of the issue.

Both Vegas and New York were tragedies and, in both cases, many elected officials will be looking for ways to prevent similar things from happening again. For Trump, though, the events pose dissimilar risks to the American people. One exemplifies the existential threat from radical terrorists that must be addressed. One — the much deadlier one — is just a thing that happens.

Bump is a little too generous or polite to point out that- as horrible as both attacks were- there were more than five times the loss of life in Las Vegas as in New York City.  Nonetheless, Trump was far more concerned, and far readier to express his outrage, about one than the other.  Following the Walmart murders, Salon's May pointed out

Trump, who has become notorious for quickly condemning terrorism and other mass casualty events on Twitter — exclusively when they involve a Muslim assailant — has remained silent through Thursday afternoon.

The president has repeatedly used ISIS-affiliated mass casualty events to push his agenda but has remained silent when the perpetrators were white. On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted that Sayfullo Saipov, the Manhattan truck driver who killed nine people on Tuesday, should be executed.

However, while ethnicity- as you may have noticed- matters to Trump, the more important factor is firearms. Were Scott Ostrem black, the President might have spoken up but his reaction still would have been fairly muted. Just as he has pandered to the religious right, Trump has pandered to the National Rifle Association and will not challenge such a powerful organization with its influence both upon legislation and GOP politicians.  Oblivious to, or contemptuous of, common sense and the experiences of other nations, the killing will go on and on and on.

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