The kids are not alright

"To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High, we're with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever." —Donald Trump

"We will be with you forever." What the hell does that even mean? As far as I can tell, the only thing Donald Trump has consistently been with since he became president is a golf ball.

If all else fails, maybe Dorothy could take Mr. Trump down the Yellow Brick Road and the wizard could give him a heart, a brain, and some courage. She went down that road once before, although she might want to reconsider returning to a decimated, post-Brownback Kansas, where I'm sure the Gale farm, fertilized with all that GOP concern for the common man, went belly up a long time ago.

Mr. Trump's current version of courage is threatening to unleash the military might of the United States on anyone who dares to disagree with him. You might say that the president is always ready to place American troops in harm's way as long as he, like most other big wind politicians, stays comfortably behind the battle lines. Five deferments distance as I recall but, given the man's amazing ability to put a shiny gloss on his own entitled history, he probably thinks he is brimming over with courage.

The rest of us may recall that this is the guy who didn't show up at a White House Correspondents Dinner because someone might have said something that hurt his feelings. Paint the target on Sarah Sanders' forehead instead.

This is the guy who made a snide remark about John McCain's not being worthy of admiration because he was a prisoner of war for five years in Hanoi, while Rich Boy Trump was living the high life with the dissolute set in Manhattan.

This is the guy who refuses to issue an apology when one of his dimwitted White House flacks says that Sen. McCain's opposition to a torture condoner heading the CIA doesn't matter because "he's dying anyway." (Aside from his family, where does Trump manage to unearth these terrible people!)

And this is the guy who was going to finally stand up to the might of the NRA after a lunatic armed with an assault weapon killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14. If his Republican cohorts were too cowardly to do it, then Donald Trump was going to don his superhero outfit and save the kids in American schools.

A few short weeks later, he was pandering to his base at an NRA convention in Texas by warning that their sacrosanct Second Amendment rights were under siege. In another example of Trump's remarkable ability to immediately contradict what he just said, he told the crowd that "they will never be under siege as long as I am president." They are under siege, but they will never be under siege. Dr. Seuss made more sense.

If Mr. Trump can be said to have any intuitive skill at all, it is in his ability to determine what a majority of the people in the room want to hear at any given time. That is what he will tell them and the pronouncements are completely valid until he walks into another room. He's dripping with sympathy when he has to deal with the traumatized victims of gun violence and then stoking the fury of rabid gun owners when they make up the audience.

There were two notable responses and one horrific statistic in the aftermath of the shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas that left 10 people dead.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel told an audience: "President Trump said he is 'with the people of Santa Fe in this tragic hour and will be with them forever,' except for when it comes time to do something -- then he will not be with them, and neither will any of the congresspeople or governors who don't ever do anything because they are fearful that it will hurt them politically. They know the truth; they know this has gone too far. But they are too cowardly to do the right thing. So they sit there with their hands in their pockets, pockets that are full of gun money, and they do nothing. They just wait for the outrage to pass."

Houston Police Chief Art Acevado posted on Facebook: "This isn't a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it's a time for prayers, action and the asking of God's forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing). I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I've hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue. Please do not post anything about guns not being the problem and there's little we can do."

There have been 22 separate school shootings in 2018. The bone-chilling statistic that emerged after the Santa Fe incident is that more of our children have been killed in schools in the United States than soldiers serving in the military. Trying to get an education in America is potentially more lethal than serving in Afghanistan.

What, in heaven's name, must the civilized world think of us.

Aldren Graves writes a regular column for the Journal.


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