According to conventional wisdom, it’s a wise man who admits he knows nothing.
Whilst this may indeed be a mark of wisdom and self-awareness, it’s also the mark of a man who is completely out of his depth and floundering around for any sort of an answer. So it is with Donald Trump, who reportedly asked diners at Mar-a-Lago what he should do about America’s gun problem in the wake of yet another mass shooting.
This provides an interesting window into Donald’s view of the world. He asked a bunch of millionaires what they thought he should do, because in his head this is presumably what “consulting the people” looks like. He probably doesn’t even realise there are other people with other opinions and ideas. Anyone worth listening to is rich, and therefore already a member of his club.
It may even explain his racism. The reason there aren’t any black people at Mar-a-Lago isn’t because of systemic oppression that stops them affording membership – or because any self-respecting black person wouldn’t be seen dead amongst a bunch of stuck-up old white dudes – but because black people are inferior. They must be. If black people had any merit, they’d be at Mar-a-Lago, right?! Nobody outside Trump’s little world matters.
In any event, it seems that the advice Donald got from his millionaire buddies was to do something about bump stocks, a readily available add-on to modern rifles that allows them to essentially fire at the same speed as a fully automatic weapon at the cost of reduced accuracy. In other words, bump stocks are the perfect attachment if you want to spray bullets indiscriminately into a crowd. Trump came away from Mar-A-Lago with the opinion that they should be outlawed.
For a moment, it looked as though Trump was going to take a difficult position for the common good that some people wouldn’t like. It looked as though he would actually have to be presidential.
Then Trump remembered that he doesn’t have the balls and that his whole schtick is attempting to please all of the people, all of the time. He quickly switched his attention to calling for armed teachers in schools, because this was more in line with what his base wanted to hear.
Speaking of Trump’s base, how great must it be to live in their world? Seriously. Just try to think the way they do for a second.* Imagine living in a world where global warming isn’t an issue, where yours is the only religion, where any people who make you uncomfortable or challenge your ideas will be arrested and where all of reality is an ongoing episode of Happy Days, or the Andy Griffith show, or basically anything involving Ron Howard in his “still had hair” period.
In keeping with this delusion, in Trumpland there is no such thing as mass shootings. They literally don’t happen. This is because, as any conservative wingnut will tell you, all these “victims” of “mass shootings” are actually paid actors pretending to be survivors or grieving relatives. The same theory was put forward after the Sandy Hook massacre, and has become a staple of the far right. The Deep State – a shadowy government controlled by either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or their genetically engineered hellspawn Hillarack Clobaminton** – stages fake massacres to distract the public from their evil plans.
There aren’t really children being shot at a horrifying rate in American schools – it’s all just a clever ruse to take people’s guns away.
Just to put this theory to the test, let’s look at both Sandy Hook and the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Seventeen people – most of them students – were killed in Parkland. Twenty little kids were shot to death in Sandy Hook along with six staff. That’s forty three people who, according to the conspiracies, didn’t exist.
Let’s take the easy route and assume that 70% of these people were from single parent, god-hating liberal communist families. That’s a minimum thirty two actors that have to be hired just to play grieving parents. It’s an acting gig that will never end, of course. These “actors” will have to “pretend” to be suffering from deep emotional scars for the rest of their life. They must be such good actors that the public buy their performances, but also utterly unheard of and uncredited in any other acting job, ever.
Some of these actors will probably get so into the role that they kill themselves. The rest will never get another acting gig. This is it for their careers. But the deep state presumably has deep pockets that make this lifetime role worthwhile.
Next up, we have to hire students and teachers to pretend to be survivors. Again, these are actors so on the day of each respective shooting, the REAL students and faculty will have to be shipped off elsewhere for the day so that a pretend gunman can kill imaginary kids in their real school and actors can be upset about it.
That’s two entire school’s worth of actors who, again, can never be on TV or do anything else. They’ll have to live in that town, convincingly feigning PTSD and addiction and psychological trauma, for decades. The fact that nobody in town will have seen them before, or that they don’t really work at the high school? That one doesn’t seem to have occurred to the conspiracists.
Then there are whole batches of police and paramedics and first responders who will have to be hired in to make these “shootings” look legitimate. Pretty soon you realise that there must be hundreds of paid actors for every mass shooting, and that not one of these people has ever broken their silence and admitted to being a government plant. Conspicuously, none of the “real” students and faculty ever come forward to say they were shipped off elsewhere during the massacre so a bunch of actors could take their place.
We haven’t even gotten to how many actors and effects people would have to be hired to stage the Las Vegas massacre last year.
It’s an impressive feat of mental gymnastics – or thudding stupidity – but it is at least understandable. Like many conspiracy theories, it’s comforting. It’s better to believe that the world operates around a plan – even an evil one – than to face the horrible reality that life is cruel and arbitrary and one day a crazy person might shoot you or your children.
Because if that were true, it would be almost too horrible to comprehend even once. If it kept happening, over and over across the entire nation, it would be utter madness. It would certainly demand that the people in power took action.
If those same people in power had already been bought off by the National Rifle Assosciation so that they refused to take any action, it would be a moral crime of the lowest and most abhorrent level.
Luckily, this isn’t the way things work in Trumpland. In Trumpland, you can do what you want (if you’re a straight white Christian man), including owning as many guns as you like. Because nobody is allowed to take your toys away, and you can say whatever racist thing you like without being told off, and facts don’t matter if you don’t want them to, and everything is fine. Your whole world will be warm and safe as long as your head is in the sand.
And if there is a problem, the President can just ask the folks at Mar-a-Lago what to do.