The leader of a country takes on responsibility for comforting his or her nation when tragedy strikes.
Individuals look to their governing body for guidance; for reassurance this won’t happen again; and for confirmation this is the exception, rather than the rule.
They look to their leader for other things too.
Like damage control; an active effort to deconstruct policy and bring about systemic change to plug any holes that jeopardise safety.
Or inspiration; an overwhelmingly positive gesture of grit or goodwill which empowers in the face of evil.
Listen: Mia Freedman traces Trump’s predictable pattern when it comes to comforting his nation in the wake of a shooting. Post continues after audio.
It’s the third time he’s failed to do so in a single month; a month which has seen over 100 lives fall victim to gun laws unchanged since the country’s inception.
The definition of insanity, said Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
When it comes to mass shootings in the United States, disaster response in the era of Trump follows one of two scripts.
Firstly. If the killer is dark-skinned?
Trump gives a press conference. He blames immigration policies that are in fact his own. He vows to stop the ‘terrorists’ and immigrants ransacking his otherwise puritan land.
It’s always too early to discuss guns, however. That would be insensitive.
Until it’s not too early, by which time it’s no longer a gun problem.
It’s an immigration problem.
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Alternatively. If the killer is white?
Trump gives a press conference. He blames mental health issues that, in many cases, the killer doesn’t have. He assures a country of panicked people that it is in fact not as it seems.
It’s not a gun problem. No, no.
It’s a mental health problem.
A psychotic individual who could not have been stopped under any circumstances.
If only there were something we could do to stop these killers with guns.
The infamous right to bare arms, bestowed the United States as a result of its documentation in The Constitution, dictates that each and every individual is allowed to own a weapon.
But that was a law created in 1787.
"If you had a gun, you might be able to kill three people," says Mia Freedman on Tell Me It's Going To Be OK. "The idea now that everyone has the right to bear an automatic weapon... the second amendment is being misinterpreted. We're in a different era now."
Freedman is referring, of course, to the fact that weapons are now automatic. It's no longer the case that everyone is entitled to a gun too heavy to carry that could maybe hit a deer if you fired at it from five metres away.
Instead, the guns are automatic; fit to steal life from a congregation of people, gathered in their place of prayer, before emergency services can even reach the scene.
President Trump is publicly in favour of vetting every immigrant who enters the United States.
He is not, however, against vetting people already in his country, who purchase and trade guns. Not even individuals on the terrorist watch-list are exempt from their Constitutional right to bear arms.
And it seems for now, nothing that happens is going to change that.
You can listen to the full episode of Tell Me It's Going To Be OK, below.