President Donald Trump on Thursday addressed a grieving nation once again gripped by the horrific violence of a school shooting, this time in Parkland, Florida, where at least 17 people inside a high school were killed the day before. The president urged Americans to “answer hate with love” and vowed to tackle issues of mental health. “I will heal you,” Trump added.
But in his first public remarks since Wednesday’s shooting—the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook—Trump never mentioned the word guns. He never cited the suspected gunman’s use of an AR-15 rifle, which he was legally able to purchase despite a troubled personal history to carry out the massacre. Trump also failed to include the fact that there was an armed officer patrolling Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the shooting.
The absence of any mention of gun control in Trump’s remarks is business as usual for Republican lawmakers who routinely avoid discussing gun control legislation every time a mass shooting takes place in the US.
When asked on Thursday if he had a message for Trump and congressional lawmakers, David Hogg, a student at the school, expressed frustration: “Ideas are great, ideas are wonderful, and they help you get reelected and everything. But what’s more important is actual action, impertinent action that results in saving thousands of children’s lives.”
“Please this is the 18th one this year,” he continued. “That’s unacceptable. We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role.
Hogg also appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss the shooting, which he revealed killed two of his sister’s best friends. “What I wish people would know is that this is something people cannot get used to. This is something that we can’t let keep happening. Because if we do, and we get used to it, it’s going to happen again.”
From a student who witnessed the shooting: “This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there's a serious issue here." pic.twitter.com/LwcocFbo1L
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) February 15, 2018