Trump: Armed Teachers “Much Less Cost Than Guards”
The President makes his “case” this morning in a series of frenzied Tweets:
Then, as almost a footnote, he adds:
The part that gets us most riled up, is a large part of the President’s reasoning stems from the fact that, as he says, teachers come “at much less cost than guards”.
We will also point out, as Sandy Hook father Mark Barden did during a meeting Trump had with aggrieved students, parents, and siblings yesterday at the White House, that most attacks (though not the most recent one in Florida) have been planned as suicide missions by the shooters. As Barden attempted to explain to the President: “A deranged sociopath on his way to commit and act of murder in a school…knowing the outcome is going to be suicide, is not going to care if there’s somebody there with a gun”.
At That Meeting, The President Spends About An Hour, Mostly Listening, But Also Landing Squarely On The Idea Of Arms Training For Some Teachers
Trump contended designating schools as “gun free zones” only act as invitations for “maniacs” to attack, because “they know bullets won’t be coming back”. Which of course makes no sense, since most attacks (though not the most recent one in Florida) have been planned as suicide missions by the shooters.
And the President seemed most engaged when Parkland father Frederick Abt brought up the idea of arming teachers. Here’s Trump’s response (click on the photo to play):
Politico points out arming teachers is a tough sell for school boards and superintendents, who ultimately control school districts in most states.
Trump’s repeatedly brought up the “good guy with a gun” argument before. After the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando where 49 people were killed. After 14 people were killed in San Bernadino. After 26 people were killed in Sutherland, Texas. As CNN points out, it’s a staple argument of the N.R.A. because of course at its core is a contention we need more guns, not fewer.
Not everybody agreed. Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden said his wife is a teacher and she would tell the President schoolteachers have more than enough responsibilities already.
He addresses the President here (the typo identifying him as “Son of Boy Killed at Sandy Hook” is C-Span’s, not ours). Click on photo to play:
Most of the suggestions in this gathering centered around school safety, with several parents noting the lack of security personnel on the high school campus. Reuters points out that even though Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had a single point of entry that all students had to pass through in the morning, in the afternoon when school was letting out, because of the school’s relatively large size, all the doors were opened, which is around the time the shooter turned up. Reuters also notes Florida’s Republican controlled legislature has not increased funding for school safety at all in the last 8 years.
Trump suggested one solution could be to bring retired military into schools.
Among the carefully vetted audience (many comments went along the lines of thanking Trump, and saying they know he’ll do the right thing), only a very few brought up the idea of gun control. In fact, the most passionate participant, Parkland father Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed last week, while expressing strong anger at the government (although not specifically at Trump) went out of his way to conclude “this is not a gun control issue”. A sentiment that was then echoed in a statement by his son.
He’s got the last word today:
Meanwhile, CNN Town Hall In Florida Almost Entirely Centers Around Gun Control
This is also worth a watch, and if you haven’t there’s a link to excerpts available here.
The discussion, which often seemed like a debate, was surprisingly civil, given the fact that the shooting itself is just one week in the past, and emotions still very raw.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio showed up, perhaps surprisingly, as he was repeatedly criticized during his unsuccessful run for President in 2016 for never going off script. And Rubio, while defending his refusal to consider a ban on assault weapons, appeared to move ever-so-slightly on a couple of other issues: he seemed to endorse raising the age at which somebody can buy a rifle to 21, and said he was thinking about restrictions on high-capacity magazines.
Here’s a clip of Rubio confronted by Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed. Again, click on the photo to play:
The N.R.A. showed up in the form of spokesperson Dana Loesch, and the event was actually the first time that organization publicly commented on the Florida massacre. No surprises to her responses.
Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott did not show up.