A gunman walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday and shot 26 people dead, wounding another 20 with an AR-15 assault rifle. On Wednesday another killer strolled into a Walmart in Colorado and fatally shot three people. Last month a gunman in Las Vegas sprayed over a thousand rounds of automatic fire on a country music concert, killing 58.
On Tuesday a man drove a truck down a New York City bike path, leaving eight dead and 13 injured.
President Donald Trump rapidly denounced the New York killer as “sick and deranged,” called him a “terrorist,” vowed to tighten immigration restrictions and demanded he get the death penalty. Trump even tried to implicate Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in the heinous crime because he’d voted for the legislation under which the driver legally entered this country; Trump conveniently overlooked the fact that many Republicans also voted for the bipartisan bill, which was signed into law by a Republican president.
The New York attacker used a rented pickup truck as his weapon. The other three used guns, including assault rifles with high capacity magazines. In those three shootings the president offered “thoughts and prayers” and “warmest condolences and sympathies” for the victims. He cautioned against a rush to judgment, saying it was not the right time to discuss gun control legislation (as if it ever would be). He wanted to know all the facts before commenting.
Trump and his spokespersons cautioned against politicizing the shootings. In the truck attack, the president ignored his own advice and politicized the event at warp speed. He called it an act of terror, a term he chose not to use in the other incidents.
What’s the difference?
In the first three incidents, the killers were native-born white Christians.
In the New York attack, the driver was a Muslim immigrant, as the White House was quick to point out
(Trump doesn’t want to close off all immigration, especially if it good for business – his business. This week the Trump Organization got permission from the US Labor Department to hire 70 foreign workers to serve as maids, cooks and servers at Mar-a-Lago, which Trump likes to call the Winter White House)
What does this tell you about Donald Trump?
That he is a racist? An Islamophobe? A hypocrite? An NRA acolyte? A hypocrite? A petty demagogue?
If the shoe fits….