A man whose son was shot to death has an issue with Donald Trump’s rhetoric
Donald Trump caused a lot of controversy last week when he made a comment that sounded suspiciously like he was asking second amendment supporters to use their guns on Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee for president has since claimed that’s not what he meant/the media has twisted his words/he was being sarcastic (I can’t remember which excuse he used but it was one or all of those).
Regardless of whether he meant what he said or not, in a world in which shootings seem to happen every day, such words shouldn’t be taken lightly. Especially not when they are being spoken by someone seeking the highest office in the land.
One father whose life was shattered by gun violence spoke out.
In an article from The Guardian, Richard Martinez, whose son was shot and killed in a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California in 2014, says Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous.
“Early in the campaign, he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. And this week, he suggested that gun violence could be a way to deal with Hillary Clinton because she wants to “essentially abolish the second amendment”.
“He either doesn’t understand, or he understands and means it. On the one hand, he is incompetent. On the other, he is evil.”
Martinez is right. Every Trump rally seems to have the potential for violence. Trump either blindly or purposefully lathers up the crowd by playing into their frustrations and then making casual threats of violence, to protesters in the crowd, to the speakers he didn’t like at the DNC, to his opponent, either without any clue as to what he’s doing or without regard for the consequences. The video the New York Times recently shared of some of the more unseemly goings-on at Trump rallies is a visceral indication of how revved up his supporters are. And he continues to fan the flames.
Someone with the influence and power Trump has, and someone who could be the president of the United States in a few short months, needs to take more responsibility for his words, and for the tenor of his entire campaign. There’s no doubt that the anger and frustration he is stirring were simmering below the surface long before he rose to prominence this campaign season, but it’s equally clear that he is both feeding off it and playing to it, and whether he becomes president or not, he should be more careful about poking the bear.
Richard Martinez has witnessed the consequences of gun violence firsthand, and he doesn’t like what he’s hearing from Donald Trump.
“At this point, Donald Trump should understand his impact on the people he’s talking to. All you have to do is go on Twitter and see that some people took his words seriously in the worst possible way. He’s completely irresponsible, completely dangerous, unpatriotic and in complete disregard of what this country stands for, our system of government and our values.”
Obviously gun control is a divisive issue, as is the matter of who you support for president. But even if you are pro-Trump, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why someone like Richard Martinez is unsettled by a callous disregard for the power of his rhetoric and the tone of his message.
If a kid in high school made a joke about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue just to see how people would react, that kid would be in a fair amount of trouble for making such a comment, in jest or not. Donald Trump is neither a kid nor in high school. He’s a grown man who is running for President. His words carry weight.
He should try harder to consider how he uses them.