The Dial

Trump’s differing responds to gun violence attacks

By Max Rosenblum, Politics Editor

First Las Vegas, then New York, then Sutherland Springs. Within just the past two months, three deadly attacks have plagued different states across the nation evoking a variety of responses. In their aftermath*, reactions from the President  and other notable political figures have garnered significant media attention. However, the substance and rhetoric used in these responses have raised the question of how attacks carried out by terrorists of different races are perceived.

Trump’s responses to different types of violent attacks represent a pattern as well. While violent attacks have historically been carried out by white men, Trump has tended to push aside talk of legislation or political action and instead focus on the psyche, mental state, and brutality of the attacks. However, with violence carried about Muslim attackers, Trump has called out past legislative policies and subsequently fostered conversation for replacements. This pattern preceded his presidency, part of his campaign strategy as seen in his responses to the Orlando and San Bernadino attacks in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Trump’s responses to the three most recent terrorist attacks on American soil provide support for this pattern.

On October 1st, a 64-year-old white man named Stephen Paddock shot dead 58 concert goers and wounded 546 attending the Harvest Country Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. This attack was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

The morning after the attack, President Trump called the shooting an “act of pure evil.” With this response, he emphasized the gravity of the attack. In toher he honed in on the likely mental instability of the shooter.

After this preliminary response, he disregarded questions from the news media surrounding gun control. For example, when asked about gun legislation to rebuke the incident, Trump responded, “The police department has done such an incredible job, and we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” This attack specifically could have necessitated basic gun legislation since the shooter used a device called a “bump stock” to allow his semiautomatic weapon to fire at the rate of an automatic one. Instead, it seems as if Trump’s responses focused in on the tragedy of the attack rather than any course of action, which he pushed aside – a controversial decision for many Americans.

At the other end of the month, the October 31st attack in Lower Manhattan received a very different, more active response from the President. Minutes after 3pm on Halloween afternoon, a man identified as Sayfullo Saipov rammed a rented pickup truck down a bike path, killing 8 and injuring 12. Authorities later discovered the attacker entered the US from Uzbekistan in 2010.

A short time after, the President demanded the Department of Homeland Security “step up its already extreme vetting program,” announcing that the driver had arrived through Chuck Schumer’s “diversity visa lottery,” which he harshly criticized. He finally called for the use of the death penalty against Saipov. These quick responses and calls for action were in stark contrast to the President’s more solemn, passive attitude following the Las Vegas attack, which was carried out by a white man as opposed to one from a Muslim majority country.

The most recent attack, on November 5th, consisted of a series of killings inside a rural Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The killer was identified as a 26-year-old white male named Devin Patrick Kelley, who entered the Church, killed 26 and injured 20.

President Trump called the shooting a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation,” adding that the gunman was a “very deranged individual,” repeating his trend of passivity seen in response to the Las Vegas attack. He continued that it was “an act of evil” and a “very sad event.”

Since Trump has delivered such drastically different responses to attacks carried out by white men compared to Muslims, many have speculated as to what his intent, if any, is in doing so. Yet any type of political action to change gun control law in the US has either failed or is yet to be passed — and Trump has not played any significant role in altering gun control laws more liberally or more conservatively following the attacks of the past two months.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The voice of the student body
Trump’s differing responds to gun violence attacks