Whenever a mass shooting like the recent attack in Parkland, Florida occurs, public discussion is dominated by opinions on how to prevent similar tragedies. Although many have called for stricter gun control laws after Parkland, some, including President Donald Trump, have called for adding more guns in schools by arming teachers. And today, February 26th, Trump continued to defend this idea, saying that he would have run into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting — with or without a gun.
At a meeting for governors held at the White House, Trump condemned armed school resource officers present during the shooting, including deputy Scot Peterson, who was stationed outside of the high school and didn’t enter the building. Trump called the deputies’ inaction “frankly disgusting” and then declared that, had he been there, he would have intervened.
Trump added that he had met with NRA executives and that the organization wanted to help. He defended the pro-gun group, claiming, “they’re on our side.”
In the weeks following the Parkland shooting, Trump has called for “gun-adept” teachers to be armed in the classroom, arguing that this move would protect children. In today’s meeting, he reiterated this idea, saying that having more guns on school grounds would help prevent shootings. This rhetoric is in line with NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s refrain that the only way to stop a shooting is a “good guy with a gun.”
Despite Trump’s grandiose claims, it’s impossible for any of us to know what we would do in a crisis situation until it happens. By declaring that he would act, Trump insults the experiences of those who actually lived through this tragedy, and frankly, we find that disgusting. The president’s comments also show a deep lack of understanding: FBI data shows that just 3.1 percent of shootings between 2000 and 2013 were stopped by a “good guy with a gun.” We don’t need our president to brag about his own heroism. We need him to take action to stop school shootings once and for all.