During the period 2015 thru 2018, there has been 215 deaths as a result of mass shootings–an average 54 per year–highest, as compared to average 19 during the period 1966-2014.
IRSHAD SALIM — President Donald Trump, the 72-year-old real estate mogul and businessman best known for his “You’re fired” catchphrase on The Apprentice, announced on June 16, 2015 he was running for president with an eccentric speech attacking immigrants and promising to build a great wall along the US-Mexico border.
Trump had been flirting with the idea of standing for the country’s highest office for decades, but on that Tuesday made it official on a stage in the basement of his Trump Tower building in Manhattan, New York, in front of eight American flags, and revealed his net worth: “I don’t need anyone else’s money, I’m really rich,” he said. “I have total net worth of $8.73bn. I’m not doing that to brag. I’m doing that to show that’s the kind of thinking or country needs.”
“Sadly the American dream is dead, but if I get elected president I will bring it back,” he said. “Bigger, better and stronger than ever before,” he told the crowd holding what looked like homemade Trump for president banners.
Trump went on to attack most of the rest of the world as he blamed Barack Obama (first African-American to be elected President of the US) for letting the country collapse to the level of “a third world country”.
Most of his wrath was directed at Mexico, which he accused of “bringing their worst people” to America, including criminals and “rapists”.
“They’re sending us not the right people,” he said, adding: “The US has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems.”
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems,” he said. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting.”
He promised that as President Trump, one of his first actions would be to build a “great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall”.
Trump said that Obama, and previous administrations, had allowed Mexico, China and other countries to take American jobs and prosperity. “China has our jobs, Mexico has our jobs,” he said.
“Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day, and the US as a country is getting weaker and weaker. How stupid are our leaders, how stupid are our politicians to let this happen? Our president doesn’t have a clue.”
He added: “Politicians are all talk and no action. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promised land.”
“China has our jobs, Mexico has our jobs. I’ll bring back our jobs and bring back our money.”
Trump also pledged that “nobody will be tougher on Isis than Donald Trump”, and that he would be “the greatest jobs president that God ever made”.
Trump said he knew that standing for office would be a “tough” job but somebody had to stand up to stop the country “dying”. “We’re dying, we’re dying,” he said. “We need money, and we need the right people.”
His words morphed into buzzwords, catchalls and cliches until the battlecry slogan of ‘America First’ surfaced and found traction during the polls.
All said and done, having been elected to his dream chair, Trump has been resolutely following up his promises for social and economic change. Social reactions though to his political battlecry have been divisive in form and nature and continues to create actionable substances never heard or seen before–it has been right from the let go.
During the period 2015 thru 2018, there has been 215 deaths as a result of mass shootings–if mass shooting was a virtual currency akin to the Bitcoin, the probability is it would have been bearish on the New York stock exchange–using Trump’s doctrine of monetizing issues, events, etc.
There has been during his 4 year outrageous public discourses and crass monlogues (2015-2018), there has been average 54 killings every year as compared to 19 during the 49 year period prior to his national presence on American politics (1966-2014)–the tally of total 1135 killings todate begins on Aug. 1, 1966.
And, if you want to know where mass shootings are most likely to occur, look no farther than small-town and suburban America. The ‘melting pot’ America wind slows down most when it reaches there, and therefore it’s more likely for social interpretation and reactions to Trump’s mantra, diatribes and battlecries behind ‘America First’ to manifest in individuals.
Trump won magnifying faultlines, by drawing a line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in the American melting pot and in the process hyping up majority of the American on nationalist lines specially in the bible belt and the suburbs. Some went too far, like school and mass shooters.
These are seemingly idyllic places to grow up: low crime rates, good schools and a sense of community. And it’s exactly those attributes, experts say, that are why small rural and suburban towns are a breeding ground for the next school shooter.
“People tend to think of violence associated with cities, not violence associated with small-town America, but this type of violence is the one associated with small-town America,” says Peter Langman, a psychologist who has been studying school shootings for years and operates a database of school gun violence in the US and abroad.
Parkland, Florida, where authorities say a former student in February gunned down 17 people, had just recently been voted the safest town in Florida.
Newtown, Connecticut, where a shooting in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School took the lives of 20 children and six adults, is a classic New England town, seemingly a world away from the crime and problems of nearby Bridgeport, one of that state’s largest cities.
The site of the Columbine High School tragedy was a Denver suburb, the Virginia Tech massacre happened in a college town of about 40,000 people. The shooting took place in a town of 13,000 people about 40 minutes southeast of Houston.
California has had more of these public mass shootings than any other state, with 25 during the last 50 years. The state had the largest immigrant population of any state in 2016, at 10.7 million. In terms of regions, about two-thirds of immigrants live in the West (34%) and South (33%). Roughly one-fifth live in the Northeast (21%) and 11% were in the Midwest.
Does social media play a role in accelerating the mindset for mass shooting based on hate and bigotry? Indeed. Gab, called the “Twitter for racists”, has been blamed for the synagogue shooting in October. The mostly conservative social media platform used by the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, enabled the mass killing of 11 Jewish Americans, several media reported.
(The writer is a business & construction consultant, analyst, and Editor-in-Chief of PKonweb and DesPardes presently based in Islamabad)
Analysis based on reports in The Guardian, CNN, The Washington Post, Pew Research Center, and AP report.