Littwin: It’s not only hearts that are broken when kids are killed in school shootings

If we didn’t know better — and, of course, we do — we’d think it was pretty much impossible for a president to appear on TV to console a nation after the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., and mention only once, and in passing, the critical fact that the 17 victims died in a mass shooting.

But that was Donald Trump’s mission — to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to offer whatever help he can to the victims and their families and, most especially, to not say a single word about guns or the epidemic of gun violence, although, to be fair, he did once use the word “gunfire.”

In his brief address, Trump made what sounded like an important point. He said that when addressing these massacres “it’s not enough to take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference — we must make that difference.”

That’s true, or would be if we didn’t understand what he was actually saying.

Here’s the easy translation. The actions that “make us feel like we are making a difference” all have to do with addressing gun violence. And the actions that actually “make that difference” are those actions that have nothing to do with gun violence.

Trump didn’t mention any kind of action that might be taken — difference-making or otherwise — other than falling back on the Republican/NRA go-to position, that the real problem is mental illness and not guns. You don’t need to be a psychiatrist, though, to know that there are mentally ill people everywhere else in the world, but only in America do we have this problem because only in America do disturbed people also have such easy access to guns.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump had said that potential shooters must be reported to the proper authorities, as if that were the problem. But this shooter apparently had many interactions with the proper authorities. The police were often called to his house by his mother. He had been to a mental health clinic. He was seen as a problem by school authorities at Stoneman Douglas before he was expelled and transferred. And he had been reported to the FBI for his apparent comments on a YouTube post that he would become a “professional school shooter.”

With red flags flying, he legally purchased an AR-15, “countless” rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, smoke grenades and then killed at least 17 people. Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, it’s easier in Florida to buy an AR-15 — the semiautomatic used at Newtown,  San Bernardino, Las Vegas,  Sutherland Springs and Parkland — than it is to buy a handgun. More shocking still, it’s that way in most states.

If Trump had no plan to offer, that’s because there is no plan that can work without addressing gun violence as a societal crisis. Maybe we should have a study. But no, we don’t have studies because studies might show that there are ways, many ways, to reduce gun violence, and that nearly all of them are opposed by the NRA, meaning nearly of them are opposed by nearly all Republicans.

What we have instead is a broken social contract, in which we repeatedly watch our children die and then do nothing. It has been clear at least since Sandy Hook, where, remember, 6-year-olds were slaughtered, that Congress would not be moved. Remember Las Vegas and bump stocks and how those would be banned? There has been no action. Remember Sutherland Springs and the Air Force’s failure to report a court-martial that would have shown up in the FBI database? Nothing there either.

Here’s maybe the most tragicomic story to come out of Parkland, as if anything here could be funny. At a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was asked if there were any money in the proposed budget to combat gun violence. Mnuchin said he wasn’t sure, but then added: “I will say, personally, I think the gun violence — it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues.”

It sounded like Mnuchin was saying — against all Trumpian logic — that Congress should look at these issues, but a Treasury spokesman soon explained that the secretary wasn’t actually talking about new gun laws, but, uh, something else. Anything else.

Meanwhile, reporters were digging into the Trump budget and how it was funding one of Barack Obama’s responses to Sandy Hook — a small government program to make schools safer “and increase access to mental health services.” It was a $64.7 million program which the Trump budgeters have reduced to, as one reporter put it, $0.00.

According to Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the lack of action by Congress and by the Trump administration makes them complicit in the violence. As he said to his colleagues on the Senate floor, “This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting, it only happens here. Not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction.”

After reading that, I re-checked the tweets from Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman and Ken Buck. Looking at the first tweet from each on the shooting, the word “tragedy” appeared in all three, “hearts” made two, as did “prayers.” But none mentioned guns. None mentioned shooting. Not a word.

The sad state of gun violence is such that we have websites dedicated to keeping track of mass shootings, school shootings, child shootings, etc. There is some argument about how many school shootings there have been already this year and what actually qualifies as a school shooting. But in its fact-check on the question, The Washington Post offered an analysis that I guarantee will shock everyone.

It found that since Columbine in 1999, more than 150,000 students, attending no less than 170 elementary schools and high schools, have been on campus during a school shooting. That number doesn’t include suicides. It doesn’t include after-school shootings. These were simply kids having gone to school and having been exposed to the trauma of a campus shooting.

The number is staggering. The number is appalling. The lack of response is just heartbreaking.

Image by Mike Licht, via Flickr: Creative Commons



  1. Come on, Mike. You know we’re not supposed to talk about the gun issue so soon after a tragedy, because “it’s not the right time”. Let’s just postpone that discussion for a couple of days, until another shooting makes it not the right time either….

  2. “You don’t need to be a psychiatrist, though, to know that there are mentally ill people everywhere else in the world, but only in America do we have this problem’

    In China and Taiwan the preferred method of killing large groups of people is to take a flammable liquid onto a crowded bus and set it aflame. In the worst case 42 people were burned to death. This is another case.

  3. When’s the last time someone set a school bus full of kids in fire, Steve?

    Does someone set a bus on fire every three days?

  4. Nothing is going to change until voters refuse to elect anyone, from either party, who takes campaign contributions from the NRA.

  5. Not really, Comrade Don. There is zero correlation or similarity in the example Steve gave and the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.


    It’s an obfuscation. An example of a right wing platitude to try to normalize gun violence.

    There would literally have to be kid-filled buses set ablaze on a weekly basis to make that a “good point”.

    In fact it’s so absurd, you have to wonder if it was actually meant to be a joke.

  6. Yeah, but watch out for the epidemic of bus fires in Asia…

    Stop pouting and get back under the bridge, Comrade Don.

  7. Jay L. Bird,

    In the words of the renowned George Carlin, “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

    2016 Electoral College Results

    President Trump 306
    Hillary Clinton 232

    This ain’t no popularity contest.

  8. Jay L. Bird,

    Believe it or not you finally asked a good question and it’s about time!

    I can’t answer the “what’s Mueller doing” part of your question but the election was clean. I don’t expect you to accept that from me so I’ll quote Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:

    “There is no allegation in (Mueller’s) indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” he said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

    Allow me to repeat the part of that response that answers your question:

    “There is no allegation in (Mueller’s) indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

    Just one more time and this time I’ll do it slowly:

    “There-is-no-allegation-in-(Mueller’s)-indictment-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of- the-2016-election.”

    I don’t expect miracles so I doubt you’ll accept an answer that runs contrary to what you want to hear but facts is facts.

    Glad I could help

  9. Don Lopez. Thanks for taking things slow. However, “There-is-no-allegation-in-(Mueller’s)-indictment-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of- the-2016-election.”

    But absence of details in the pages of one set of indictments is NOT proof of the absence of participation by Americans or altering the outcome.

    Considering what Mr. Mueller is doing, we’ll need to wait a bit for court proceedings to reveal names of the conspirators mentioned in these indictments and for more crimes to be charged. Beyond the Special Counsel’s investigations, there will be other investigations revealing what was done and a variety of analytical articles showing causal links from the known advertising and impersonation to voting behaviors.

    We are less than 18 months after the Republican convention nominating Mr. Trump. Watergate, a much more evident set of crimes, took over 24 months to reach its crisis point.

  10. Comrade Don finally gave us a glimpse behind the tinfoil curtain…and it’s just as bad as one would imagine.

    This is a good reminder that there are some serious questions about the alternative reality that has been carefully concocted on the far right. Comrade Don is a good example of someone clearly not able to come to terms with the reality of the Mueller investigation of Russia’s influence on our election and the collusion they received from Trump’s administration. While clearly in the minority nationwide, this kind of moonbeam thinking has permeated the ranks of Republicans…which is terrifying.

  11. JohnInDenver,

    What you’re saying is that maybe, perhaps, conceivably, possibly at some unspecified time in the future there may be proof that the results of the election were altered,


    What I’m saying is that as today, February 17, 2018, there is no proof and “There-is-no-allegation-in-(Mueller’s)-indictment-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of- the-2016-election.”

  12. wow.

    You’re just reduced to spitting random word salad at this point aren’t you.

    Mueller is not finished, as much as you and the tinfoil hat brigade would like to believe to the contrary.

    He’s just getting started.

    Your willful ignorance about that ain’t doing your credibility here any favors….not that you have any left to tarnish. All you’re doing is bolstering the case that you’ve lost your honor by defending the indefensible.

    Furthermore, the childish fingers-in-the-ears attempts at simply refusing to acknowledge what the vast majority of the country already has, is a problem for Republicans come midterms.

    There’s only a six point difference among Republicans with the willful ignorance syndrome displayed above, and the Republicans with enough intellectual honesty to face reality about Trump and Russia. At some point soon, those numbers will flip and then it’s a matter of momentum and political expediency.

    Republicans are going to start coming for their own.

    That will finally lead us to the long coming civil war in the Conservative ranks, with the majority of members acknowledging the obvious, against that stubborn, astroturf=built, far right third of the country who simply cling to “alternative facts” no matter how many times it’s spelled out for them. They’re the rubes responsible for Trump and they’re finally going to have to pay the bill.

    Going to get ugly.

    Fortunately for America, the nutters don’t outnumber the sane Conservatives…although some days it sure seems like a tenuous majority.

  13. Jay L. Bird,

    Are you out of breath?

    But what exactly does that have to do with Attorney General Rod Rosenstein statement that, “There-is-no-allegation-in-(Mueller’s)-indictment-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of- the-2016-election.”

  14. Sigh.

    Lay off the Fox. It is making you stupid.

    Like I said…it’s now other Republicans, not Democrats, that you on the far right have to worry about. At some point Conservatives will throw Trump and all the complicit seditionists like yourself under the bus.

    “It’s now incontrovertible”
    =HR McMaster, Trump National Security Adviser, on Russian interference in the election, following latest Mueller indictments.

    It’s going to be like the Republican Congress version of Thunderdome.

    It promises to be as entertaining as it sounds.

  15. Jay L. Bird,

    After re-reading your last few comments I understand better why you refuse to use your last name.

    You should try reading what you quote, if it’s not too difficult. What McMaster said was incontrovertible was that Russians attempted to interfere with the 2016 election.

    What he did not, repeat, did not say was that their attempt altered the results of the election.

    You do understand the difference, right?

    Let me repeat that s-l-o-w-l-y. Try to keep up, “There-is-no-allegation-in-(Mueller’s)-indictment-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of-the-2016-election.”

    No magical thinking will change that.

    You’re welcome.

  16. You’re lying, as usual, which is, again, why you have no honor.

    Your change is intellectually dishonest. He said “in this indictment”. That doesn’t mean it never happened…just that “this” indictment doesn’t include those charges, not that the trump traitors had been cleared.

    Apparently the rubes who feed on nothing but Fox are the only folks on the planet who are still clinging to the wildly ignorant belief that Mueller won’t bring more indictments.

    Keep clinging….ain’t going to help.

    Like playing dodgeball with toddlers…

  17. Jay L. Bird,

    I’m dealing with what is (i.e. reality) not what may or may not happen in the future.

    You’re dealing with fantasy.

    But at least you admitted “in this indictment” “There-is-no-allegation-that-the-charged-conduct-altered-the-outcome-of-the-2016-election.”

    It’s a small step but at least it’s progress……sort of.

    You suggest you have some magical powers that allow you to predict future Mueller indictments and what those indictments will include.

    So why not share that information with those who don’t possess those magical powers and tell us what’s coming.

    And by the way you do realize the indictment also suggests Russians attempted to help Bernie Sanders.

    What do you think about that? No rush, I’ll wait while you consult MSNBC to tell you what to think.

  18. Wait, now it’s a “fantasy”…I thought it was a hoax? Your argument that Russia nestled, but they were so bad at it that it doesn’t matter, sounds bonkers pathetic and doesn’t fly here or in court…obviously. I call it the false “we were stupid not guilty” defense.

    Yeah, it sounds stupid because it’s stupid.

    This kind of extremist crap just doesn’t play outside of the Faux News bubble.

    Your rants make you sound desperate. You sound a lot like Trump right now actually. I think he’s desperate to dismiss the indictments too. His arguments sound just as silly as yours, but for some reason neither of you are self aware enough to realize that.

    The indictments prove that Trump was lying about the “hoax”.

    That means you’re a liar too, Comrade Don.

    Why do you think that is? Could it be because you both rely on “alternate facts”?

    Hint…there’s a pattern here…

    Good for you for coming back like a good boy for your spankings though.

  19. Jay L. Bird,

    You accuse me of lying but won’t say where.

    You accuse me of having no honor but won’t say why. Part of that, of course, is because you wouldn’t recognize honor if you saw it.

    You’re on the outside looking in with no clue on how to get back in.

    The word “loser” comes to mind when I read your comments but then so does “unhinged”.

    Hillary Clinton lost, get over it. If you can.

  20. That’s it?

    It always comes down to some pouting and the inevitable name calling, but after all that I expected a little more. Yes, you’re Liar for spreading fake news (the same as Russian trolls) about a president* who accepted help from our enemy to get “elected” by a minority of Americans…which is why you have no honor.

    They call it sedition. Troop.

  21. I tell you what, Comrade Don, if Mueller packs up shop this week and declares this the end of the Russia-Trump investigation and these indictments as evidence of case closed…I will offer you my heartfelt apology. You will be right.

    Otherwise…if Mueller and his team of bloodhounds keep going…you’re full of sh!t, just like your traitorous president.

    I’ll even bet real dollars we see a Republican on tomorrow’s political talk shows publicly declare that these indictments in no way clear Trump of any crime whatsoever, and make no statement about the effect on our election by his Russian helpers.

    Like I said, it ain’t the Deyou ms folks on the far right third have to worry about…it’s the Republicans to your left (of which thankfully there are enough), who are increasingly not buying what you and Trump (and Russia) are selling.

    Here’s a thought. There’s still time for you (and many Republicans) to try doing what is right, denounce Trump and his Russian backers, and regain your honor by moving the republican party forward in a direction that doesn’t need that kind of “help”.

  22. Jay L. Bird,

    Do you have any actual, real, concrete proof that President Trump, “accepted help from our enemy”? I mean other than the stuff you make up in your head.

    If so please share it with the Colorado Independent readers or, if you like, Mr. Mueller.

    President Trump won the presidency by winning the Electoral College. If you’re
    unfamiliar with the Electoral College refer to the US Constitution, Article II.

    And in case you forgot here are the Electoral College results for 2016:

    Donald Trump 306
    Hillary Clinton 232

    What that means is Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States and Hillary Clinton, well, isn’t.

    Even you should be able to follow that, right?

    So, on Monday—-Presidents Day—-we celebrate President Trump but of course you could unofficially celebrate Hillary Clinton or you could simply wait until April 1st.

  23. Again, if the election was clean…what is Bob Mueller doing?

    Now you’re just running yourself in circles…like a good little dog.

    You just going to repeat yourself back into the corner yet again?

    The beatings will continue until the traitors get it.

  24. Jay L. Bird,

    Do you have any actual, real, concrete proof that President Trump, “accepted help from our enemy”? I mean other than the stuff you make up in your head.

    Since you failed to answer that rather straight forward should-be-easy-to-answer question I assume you have none. Other than, of course, the delusions occupying your “sedition” obsessed mind.

    But that’s not surprising.

    By the way, I don’t remember what branch of the military you served in. And in case you forgot what the choices are here’s a hint:

    – Air Force
    – Army
    – Coast Guard
    – Marines
    – Navy
    – None of the above

  25. Ok…looks like all you have left is willful ignorance…which means you’re once again cornered.

    Always fun to see the trolls reduced to whining, pouting messes.

    Remember…if Mueller doesn’t end the investigating this week…you’re a lying piece of traitorous sh!t…but if he does, I owe you an apology….good luck!

    Anything else, or are you starting to get the picture that you’re the bad guy here. Trump supportets don’t get a pass.


  26. Jay L. Bird,

    Do you have any actual, real, concrete proof that President Trump, “accepted help from our enemy”? I mean other than the stuff you make up in your head.

    Since you failed to answer that rather straight forward should-be-easy-to-answer question I assume you have none. Other than, of course, the delusions occupying your “sedition” obsessed mind.

    But that’s not surprising.

    By the way, I don’t remember what branch of the military you served in. And in case you forgot what the choices are here’s a hint:

    – Air Force
    – Army
    – Coast Guard
    – Marines
    – Navy
    – None of the above

  27. Remember, Comrade Don, you’re guilty of Borrowed Valor for being a good Russian troll. You don’t get to wear the colors with honor ever again, understand?

    Furthermore, your uninformed ranting about an investigation you clearly know nothing about just proves my point about how out of this world stupid Trumpsters have become. Do yourself a favor, turn off the Fox and actually take some time to read about the Mueller investigation and what has already been proven to have transpired. Maybe then you won’t look so much like an uneducated rube.


    (1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;

    (2) with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;

    (3) fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition.

    Take a breath and try to come to terms with the fact that you’re the bad guy here.

    You’re the traitor.

    And all the pouting and childish willful ignorance ain’t going to change that.

    Like this president*, as of Friday, Trump supporters will always wear the asterisk as a mark of shame.

    Shame on you for trying to pretend otherwise.

  28. Because it’s really super important to provide all information on your military background to a traitorous Russian troll.

  29. Jay L. Bird,

    Do you have any actual, real, concrete proof that President Trump, “accepted help from our enemy”? I mean other than the stuff you make up in your head.

    Since you failed to answer that rather straight forward should-be-easy-to-answer question I assume you have none. Other than, of course, the delusions occupying your “sedition” obsessed mind.

    But that’s not surprising.

    By the way, I don’t remember what branch of the military you served in. And in case you forgot what the choices are here’s a list:

    – Air Force
    – Army
    – Coast Guard
    – Marines
    – Navy
    – Did not serve

    In the definition of sedition isn’t President Trump the “lawful military authority”. After all he is the Commander In Chief. Duly elected.

    Who’s the Commander In Chief in your world?

  30. Nope.

    You still don’t get it.

    You can stamp your feet and whine like a child all you want, Comrade Don, but because of your sedition, you gave up the right to question anyone’s honor.

    You’re a traitor.

    There are things that wearing the asterisk gets you. Respect and honor are not among them…and certainly not the high ground when it comes to service to this country.


  31. You’re still using phrases like “duly elected”.

    That doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Particularly post-muelleroscopy.

    The election gets any asterisk…just like yours.


  32. Jay L. Bird,

    In the definition of sedition that you provided—-repeat, you provided—-President Trump is the “lawful military authority”. .

    Your failure to recognize that reveals everything anyone needs to know about your intellect or lack thereof.

    Here’s a definition of sedition—-and link—-even you can understand and hopefully recognize yourself in:

    “The Sedition Act was passed by Congress in 1798, which made it illegal to ‘write, print, utter or publish…any false, scandalous and malicious writing’ against the Federal government, including the Congress and the president. Individuals could be tried under this law if they had the intent to either defame the government or incite hatred amongst the people against the government. If convicted, the guilty could receive a fine up to $2,000 and/or up to two years in prison.”.

    Here’s the money quote “malicious writing against the Federal government, including the Congress and the president”.

    And now as a special service I’ll make one substitution to make the above quote even more understandable for the thinking impaired:

    “malicious writing against the Federal government, including the Congress and (President Trump)”.

    So writing maliciously against President Trump is the textbook definition of sedition?

    Recognize anyone?

  33. If anyone would know about sedition, it would certainly be you, Comrade Don, but you’re showing your ignorance again.

    My definition is from Article 94 UCMJ: Mutiny and sedition. You guilty of stolen valor as well as borrowed valor?

    So I noticed Mueller, rather than wrapping up the hoax of a witch hunt, is instead indicting more folks.

    That makes you a liar lying on behalf of a liar, no?

    Russian trolls get no shelter here.

  34. Jay L. Bird,

    I know you have a big problem multi-tasking so I’ll limit this to just one question, just one.

    Ready? Okay, here goes.

    In the definition of sedition that you provided—-repeat, you provided—-who, in your opinion, is the “lawful military authority” that definition refers to?

    That shouldn’t be too difficult to answer provided, of course, you can stop watching MSNBC long enough to do so.

  35. Jay L. Bird,

    You don’t know what sedition is do you?

    You never knew!

    You talk about things you know nothing of, like the military or sedition or valor or honor.

    You’re the quintessential Colorado Independent reader.

    By the way, I would never call you a useful idiot because you’re useless.

  36. I think you’re finally getting it now, traitor. Your country doesn’t want you anymore, move to Russia.

    It obviously hits your core because you’ve been pouting about it for days.

    That’s what happens when you betray your service…you’re lucky you’re not being given a dishonorable discharge to go with your shame.

  37. Jay L. Bird,

    This just in:

    2016 Electoral College results:

    President Trump 306
    Hillary Clinton 232

    President Trump duly, legally and Constitutionally elected.

    You have no clue—-absolutely none—-about what sedition is and yet you display no shame when called out on it.

    By the way, you can’t get a retroactive dishonorable discharge it doesn’t work that way but it doesn’t surprise me that you didn’t know that. After all how could you know since you never served.

    in fact it reinforces my belief that there’s very little you do know.

    If it’s not too much trouble
    could you explain what you meant by this quote:

    “You’re still using phrases like “duly elected”.

    That doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

    In your fuzzy little head how do you define “duly elected”.

  38. 2016 Electoral College results:

    President Trump 306*
    Hillary Clinton 232

    There…fixed it for you.

    You’ll always be a seditionist traitor.

    Your behavior and beliefs have consequences…able you’ll find no mercy from me, Bowe.

  39. Jay L. Bird,

    Two things:

    What does the asterisk mean?

    Have you finally—-finally!!—-figured out what sedition is and if so please explain who, in your opinion, is the “lawful military authority” that definition refers to?

    But we are making progress. At least you finally—-finally!!!—-admit that President Trump won the 2016 Electoral College count meaning, of course, he is the duly, lawfully and Constitutionally elected president.

    Thanks Jay, now we’re getting somewhere.

  40. Jay L. Bird,

    Or it could be it means nothing which, judging by your other comments, is probably the right answer.

    Here’s a quote from one of your many hard to follow comments. Since, according to you, I don’t know what “duly elected” means I assume you do. So what does it mean?

    “You’re still using phrases like “duly elected”.

    That doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

Comments are closed.