The horrific events that transpired earlier this week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have sparked nationwide outrage from activists, celebrities, influential figures, and lawmakers alike, as one of the most deadly school shootings in the country’s recent history has re-sparked the ongoing debate surrounding gun control. The attack, which left 17 dead, shed light on the endless gun violence that has run rampant throughout the country, prompting many to speak sharply against the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers.
In what has become typical of Republican rhetoric following any major shooting in the country, Donald Trump and others were quick to discredit any conversation of lax gun laws being the foremost reason for the attack, instead attempting to shift focus onto mental illness. The president sent out a tweet one day after the shooting took place, claiming that the blame for the senseless attack lies solely on the mentally unstable behavior of the shooter, and implying that the community had the obligation to report the man’s erratic and questionable behavior to authorities.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
As Trump and the GOP remain adamant on blaming mental illness for this attack, those who were far closer to the incident are raising their voice and taking action, in hopes of showing Republicans that their unwillingness to reform gun control laws has gone on far too long. According to a Boston Herald report:
‘A group of high schoolers has walked out of classes to protest gun violence after a mass shooting killed 17 people at a neighboring school.
‘The South Broward High School students began their protest along U.S. 1 in Hollywood as school started on Friday morning. Students told news outlets they were protesting gun violence, the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump. One sign also took aim at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, showing him with $$ for eyes and accusing him of taking $3 million in NRA blood money.’
The student protests shed light on the fact that people around the country are growing tired of the ongoing interest-based policy decisions of GOP lawmakers that are padding their own pockets, at the expense of innocent lives. The issue surrounding the relationship between Republicans and gun lobbyists, most notably the NRA, is one that is becoming of increasing concern, as the financial contributions by the lobby groups have made it effectively impossible for comprehensive gun control legislation to be passed.
— Manuela Goren (@ManuelaGoren) February 16, 2018
The protests take place in a timely manner, just ahead of a planned trip by President Trump to visit the site of the deadly shooting and meet with families of victims. Both students and local officials have criticized Trump’s hypocrisy in showing his concern and condolences for the families, citing his opposing stances on any form of gun control in the country.
Trump can soon visit the #ParklandSchoolShooting community in Florida and hand out some of his phoney thoughts and prayers like he did in Puerto Rico, on the way to his 100th golf outing at #MaraLago….He should be greeted in Parkland with protests, tomatoes and rotten eggs.
— Bruno Amato (@BrunoAmato_1) February 16, 2018
With the frequency of mass shootings increasing heavily in recent years, it has become clear for many that the continuing appeasement of gun lobbies in government has been complicit in allowing these events to take place. GOP lawmakers are being heavily criticized for their unwavering support of groups like the NRA, prompting nationwide backlash. With the midterm elections growing closer, the GOP need not only worry about the challenges facing the credibility of their party at the hands of the Trump administration, but more so whether their own immoral stances on gun control will survive an election that has citizens ready to bring about a change.
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