I'm not an Instagram regular. But Spiegel Online [article, in German] made me click on a photoseries found on Trumpelchen's Instagram account. And what you can find there, gives you a very ambivalent feeling about the well-known American optimism in dark hours.
It's 16 years since Bowling for Columbine opened the eyes of many people on this side of the great lake for America's unhealthy obsession for guns of all sorts. It's been 15 years since my last visit to the States (for a friend's wedding, make a bit of the "German Loop", and visit my relatives). Part of Nebraskan wedding-time entertainment for the German guests (and some west-coast liberals) was – naturally – shooting on cans and clay-pidgeons (county with c. 120%, no kidding, of the electorate voting for the then worst-ever president, Bush the Younger). Since then, I know ordinary people (like and including myself) shouldn't own guns for fun.
I also vividly remember the information signs at the security check-in (domestic flights) at Omaha airport informing us that it is "now" (that was nearly two years after 9/11 attacks) prohibited to carry (unloaded) guns in your hand-luggage, and that they should go into the checked-in luggage. Yes. The checked-in luggage. No one questioned the need to take guns with you when you fly from one place in the U.S. to another at all (not the only thing in Nebraska that made us doubt being in a country of the first world). I can't stop wondering how many of the people that travelled with me between Stockholm, Paris and Vienna, ever thought of checking in a gun as a normal thing to do. And we have a lot of hunting enthusiasts, too.
Now, a probably disaffected, possibly bit insane (to a yet unknown degree) kid killed again 17 pupils and, business-as-usual, the NRA-funded political class engages in prayers and well wishes, rather than to adopt the American constitution to the 20th century (yes, 20th, would already be a step forward).
A truly 'unpresidented' reaction
And the sitting U.S. president react the same as usual. He thanks the quick responders for their great/tremendous work, and blames the FBI for not having stopped it, because all its 35,000+ employees were busy with his "no Collusion with Russia" investigation (see yesterdays tweets). But everyone who reads a tweet of Trumpelchen from time-to-time (not me), or watches Stephen Colbert's monologues, or John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, or Samantha Bee's Full Frontal, or Trevor Noah's Daily Show, or reads any proper newspaper or journal (the ones he calls "fake news") knows he's a no-nothing big (often crying, again, see his tweets) baby surrounded by a cabinet der geistigen Umnachtung (tricky to translate in English: LEO gives 'mental derangement', but that is not really getting it). Anyway, the flesh-and-bone incarnation of the opposite of "great".
Being geschmackslos (see here for translation) is his second name, something his fans consider refreshing unpolitical correctness. No, it's not, it's just stupidity peppered by ignorance.
It comes as no surprise that Barack Obama, a real (former) president, reacts like this ...
We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we're doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) 15. Februar 2018
... and the orange-billionaire impersonating a president tweets photos of himself with a victim and her family smiling into the camera.
Already these photos are profoundly disturbing. The U.S. president (POTUS) with his wife (FLOTUS) posing at a victims' bed smiling like he actually won the popular vote, and boosting a "well-done" thumb-up in midths of a group of apparently very happy hospital staff. But well, he's an idiot (no nice way to put it), you would not expect anything else from him. His standards are the lowest possible.Our entire Nation, w/one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims & their families in Parkland, FL. To teachers, law enforcement, first responders & medical professionals who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We THANK YOU for your courage! https://t.co/3yJsrebZMG pic.twitter.com/ti791dENTy— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 17. Februar 2018
But what is wrong with the victim's family and the hospital staff posing on these photos? You don't smile in the camera for a presidential line-up photo, when 17 kids died because of medivial-style legislation (in civilised countries, the state ensures safety, not a gun under your pillow). It's not like some rich billionaire saved your daughter by paying for a life-saving treatment, you could not provide, since you live in the only high-developed country without universal health care.
You may be relieved (and very happy) that she was only shot and did not die. But, you normally would have the decency (and compassion) to not openly boost your happiness, when there are others lost in grief. And the natural follow-up reaction would be anger that your kid was shot at all because you live in a pretty gun-crazy country.
The full photo series
On Instragramm, you can find the four tweeted photos and more, pretty odd iconography. Be assured, fellow Americans, Trumpelchen and his administration is "hear for you" and tries to "learn everything [they] can" (that'd be either a lot, 'cause you seem to know little, or little, 'cause it's hard to teach an old, somewhat unruly man).
As a German with grandparents (born in the 1910's) indoctrinated by Nazi ideology, I get a little shiver running down my neck, when I read in this context "... tackle the difficult issue of mental health". Just a thought: Why not just tackle the much simpler issue of selling guns and ammo to everyone. Because of the 30 Mio $, the NRA spend to get you elected?
Last five Instagram comments (Feb 18th) on the photo series
- thomasmazo23: I love you Trump!!!!! God Job [what "job" exactly, tweeting about the FBI's incapacity, and making even this tragedy about his Russian meddlings?]
- rcaty_05: Best president ever [Have you been in coma since birth? Check out Obama's reaction to similar situations]
- hm.chinchillalove: @meeeeeeeeler exactly, there are different factors that go into how citizens behave to different laws. [no problem in the U.S., 'cause everyone can legally buy weapons of mass-destruction or gimmicks that enhance private firepower]
- willstrohbehn: @light_as_rain I get what you're saying, I think it's mainly to prevent a dictatorship [the 2nd Amendmend? No, the main idea was to be prepared for the next Anglo-American conflict]
- eviebullen_superstar: If you got rid of guns I the world we wouldn’t have to pretect ourselves from them [no idea, maybe a Russian bot?]
Staff's a happy crowd, too. It feels so good to be part of fighting evil. America is great again! Thumbs up!
More happy responders, and one has to admire the consistency (and stamina) of POTUS and FLOTUS. Keeping the same pose and happy faces, no matter what background (and whatever tragic reason for being at the hospital at all...)
Enough group photos with happy nurses and doctors. The president is here for serious business.
|Is the guy next to him on drugs, or falling in love with the blonde?|
Sitting down and getting really involved.
Business done. All problems solved. Time for the happy face line-up and all-ok thumb-up of the president of the U.S.
Some (like me) may find it odd someone like the U.S. president posts (or has his PR bunny post) photos of people smiling into the camera on re-unions that have a very tragic reason. Or inappropriate. Or distasteful. Or simply completely out of place.
But it's pure American optimism. Just think of a mass-shooting (or natural disaster) as a good opportunity for a once-in-your-lifetime chance to meet and shake hands with Mr President, the most powerful toddler in the entire world. And remember to buy your daughter a pink semi-automatic gun for the next time she's about to be shot in school (some links you find when duckducking "guns for girls": Girl's Guide to Guns blog; Girls Just Wanna Have Guns store; Packing Pretty; Walmart's Pink Guns display; Oakland's County Mums' pink gun intro). Because you don't want to lose the freedom granted by the 2nd Amendment. No matter the price to pay.
|A direct consequence of the 2nd Amendment: Gun-related violence in the U.S., just this year (Jan 1st–Feb 18th) http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/|
If you lack that optimism and fail to see the greatness in this particular – and unique in the western world – facet of the U.S., emigrate to Canada, Australia (they also speak English, a different sort, but you'll get used to it) or come (back) to Europe. Norway may be a good choice; most Scandinavians speak English (TV series and films are not dubbed), and in the Scandinavian countryside not few have and are allowed to have firearms. It's nearly like home, only that it is very safe, because the state controls a lot and people rely on it.
Yes, we have terroristic attacks here, too (more people died, however, in the 80s/90s than now), and rarely amok runs (not few Europeans own legally pistols and hunting rifles). We have weapon-crazy people, too (stockpiling illegal, automatic guns, in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, ... just search for "Waffenlager entdeckt"). But there is no NRA telling us that arming everyone will make live more secure. Restricting access to weapons does (see Australia). And you can't buy semi-automatic guns or similar prepare-for-civil-war gimmicks in a liquor shop.
- Center for Responsive Politics: https://www.opensecrets.org/
- Gun Violence Archive: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/
- Everytown (For Gun Safety): https://everytownresearch.org/; see here for a quick round-up
- Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/
- BBC Anthony Zurcher's five reasons US gun control won't happen (that was after the Las Vegas shooting) — he is probably right
- The Daily Show's 2013 trilogy on gun control ("can't work in U.S.") and Australia (did work) — a brilliant piece
- The Flemish Peace Institue short factsheet [PDF] on firearms and firearm-related deaths in Europe (we typically use them to kill ourselves or, more rarely, our partners — if you have one, mostly we use other options).
- The Guardian's collection on US gun control; e.g. a 2012 datablog on how U.S. compare to other countries
- If you're not familiar with U.S. common (non)sense on guns: GunsToCarry's complete 2018 guide to Gun Laws By State
- Snope.com's check of the statement that toddlers killed more Americans than terrorists in 2015 (because too many guns are lying around, not because American toddlers are natural-born evil things)
- Wikipedia's (semi-historical) "List of countries by firearm-related death rate"
And just in case you forgot about it: A Brief History of the United States as seen in Bowling for Columbine. With the comments now starting to pop-up, it strikes me that very little has changed.