As hard as it may be to believe, Donald Trump Jr. made a tasteless video rant about the Uvalde massacre and posted it on Twitter on Saturday. Whether or not this particular rant was cocaine-fueled I cannot say. Perhaps it might be better for him had drugs been the cause. At least then he could blame it on drugs. But he made a common false equivalency that I think we need to destroy right now. He suggested that the Uvalde shooter could have done the same damage with a baseball bat.
The quickest way I know of to demolish that argument is to ask yourself this question: if you had to be attacked, which would you prefer, to be attacked with a baseball bat or an AR-15? If you’re thinking clearly then the answer is a baseball bat. With an AR you can murder 10 people in five seconds. With a baseball bat you probably couldn’t kill one person in five seconds under most circumstances, unless they cooperated with you.
Also, it takes very little muscle power to kill someone with an AR-15. An extremely week person could murder an extremely strong person with ease using an AR-15. They’d be at a real disadvantage with a mere baseball bat. You can defend against a baseball bat by merely running away. There is no defense against an AR except the extraordinary kind: body armour, thick steel walls, extreme distance, and some luck. It’s absurd that I even have to make this argument. What’s insidious about it is it takes time to make it and you have to think a little, two commodities in short supply in MAGAland.
I’m reminded of the imperious lecture Ted Cruz gave about how easy it would have been to thwart the killer had the school only had one steel door in and out and an armed police officer standing guard in front of it. Yeah, that might have worked. It wouldn’t be such a great idea if there was a fire, of course, but never mind, Ted doesn’t mean a word of it anyway. It doesn’t help when the kids are on the playground, either, unless the playground is inside a prison.
The thing is, Republicans don’t believe their own “solutions.” There will be no money for schools to be redesigned with bulletproof glass and steel doors, no funding for armed police officers standing guard. That money is for Republicans and their rich friends. Besides, that won’t work either. Mass killings happen in stores and theatres and public places and so on.
There will just be angry talk. As long as anything but guns get blamed Republicans are fine with it. If more kids die they don’t give a shit. They’ll just get mad and shout about how easy it could be to prevent, while not even doing that much. Anything to keep from offending the NRA.
In fact, that’s the Republican job description these days. They’re offense avoiders. They avoid offending people like Donald Trump, the NRA, billionaires and anyone or anything that helps their power base. The one thing they won’t do is offer solutions. In fact, they’ll make it worse. Every time a disaster like Uvalde happens, gun sales go way up, Republicans pass legislation making it even easier to get guns, and more murders and mass shootings occur. Death is their business — and business is good.
Let’s face it, even the Uvalde massacre is good for business. Thanks to Uvalde everybody knew about this year’s NRA convention. The party of “pro-life” secretly relished the publicity. Gun sales are booming, if you’ll pardon the expression. They always go way up after a murder spree like Uvalde. What’s not to love about it if you’re a gruesome, death-loving Republican? As long as it doesn’t happen to them or their kids they’re fine with it. Besides, their kids are coddled in private schools far from the usual purveyors of violence, or taught in their homes by high-priced tutors.
While I was writing this, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted again. He invented a new word, “neopfarious.” He immediately deleted the tweet. I’m sure he meant “nefarious.” Anyway, it was a new rant. This time against pornography. Pornography is probably the reason why Uvalde happened. As if they don’t have pornography in other countries. Anyway, he just retweeted the deleted tweet. This time with the word “nefarious.” Here’s what he wrote:
“It’s hard to imagine any scenario whereby this kind of study from these people is anything but nefarious at this point. The assault on our kids never ends. WTF!!! UNICEF Report Says Pornography Not Always Harmful to Children.”
So there you are. Anything but guns is to blame. These rants will continue until Uvalde drops away from the daily news, as it inevitably will in a few days. Then Republicans will put their rants away for safekeeping, until they are called upon to haul them out again after more children are murdered. And more children will die. Of course they will. Sooner than you think. And on and on it goes. And on and on. And on and on.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.