President Donald Trump’s media critics have found yet another reason to attack him, this time about his sarcastic tweet following the weekend terror attack in London: “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”
Trump’s observation was not as off the mark as writers at Salon or the Globe and Mail would have their readers believe. Indeed, considering the bias about guns that seems to pervade the press, he may have been spot-on.
Writing at Salon, Heather Digby Parton had her own sarcastic observation: “It’s hard to know where to start. The ‘gun debate’ has nothing to do with terrorist attacks, per se. Yes, some terrorist attacks are carried out using guns. And when they are, people rightly point out that the attack would have been far less lethal had guns not been used. If the London Bridge attackers had used semiautomatic weapons of the kind easily obtained in the U.S., they might have killed dozens of people rather than seven. This is simply a fact.”
Parton might recall the attack in Nice, France, where the terrorist used a cargo truck to mow down 86 people. That’s seven dozen victims.
Steve Peers at The Globe and Mail also hit Trump, stating, “Mr. Trump concluded by linking the tragedy to the debate about gun control in the United States.”
Trump’s critics are being less than candid about this. After terror attacks in the U.S. in San Bernardino and Orlando, the talk quickly turned to gun control. Guns were used in both incidents.
But following the Boston Marathon bombing, did anyone discuss pressure cooker control? After Oklahoma City, did anyone debate the easy access to large moving vans?
Even after Elliott Rodger killed six people in Santa Barbara – three of them with a knife – the press referred to him only as “the gunman” as if all six of his victims had been shot.
When Aaron Alexis opened fire at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard, most reports suggested he was armed with an “assault rifle.” But one reporter, Jackie Bensen at NBC4 got it right almost from the beginning, revealing that it wasn’t an “assault rifle” after all, but a shotgun with which the killer was armed.
Perhaps it is only the president’s delivery that was off, but not what he said. Trump was making an argument that has considerable validity.
Parton was somewhat correct. The “gun debate” really doesn’t have a thing to do with terrorist attacks. It’s not the weapon such people use, it is the radical beliefs they hold that drive them to mayhem and murder.