Trump’s response to Vegas was a conscious, poor choice

America has a uniquely American problem with mass shootings. Here at Wichita State, we need to have our own discussion.


America has a uniquely American problem with mass shootings. We can’t stop them from happening.

After Stephen Paddock fired on a crowd attending a country music concert in Las Vegas killing at least 58 and injuring more than 400, President Donald Trump made comments on Monday morning calling the act, “pure evil.”

He’s right, Paddock’s murder of innocent people was an act of pure evil.

It was also an act of terrorism.

Paddock’s murder of more than 50 innocent people incited and inspired fear. He isn’t only some crazed loner, he’s another crack in our fragile sense of peace.

Paddock, a 64-year-old white male, was a domestic terrorist.

The fact that Trump didn’t make that clear during his remarks wasn’t a mistake, it was a conscious choice and a poor one.

It’s a disdainful habit that holds us back when we call a white gunman, “lone wolf,” or “mentally unstable.” Those titles are often half-truths. The person may be both of those things, but their murder of civilians incited fear.

Now battle lines are drawn as one side calls for gun-control legislation and the other side calls for the Second Amendment protections, offering up mental illness instead. We’ve seen this argument go 12 rounds before following mass shootings in Aurora, Charleston, and Newtown.

This debate always ends in stalemate. If anything, these policy skirmishes only serve to keep people entrenched in their political party. They’re the reliable, satisfying meal for the bleeding-heart liberal and the greedy conservative.

Here at Wichita State, we need to have our own discussion.

Under Kansas law, no permit is required to concealed-carry a firearm and anyone can concealed-carry on public university campuses.

Do we feel safer?

While it’s doubtful that anyone is wandering campus with an automatic rifle like Paddock used in Las Vegas, the idea that someone would need to carry a firearm with them always is rooted in unrealistic fear. It makes things more dangerous for everyone on campus.

In a hypothetical active shooter situation, someone with a concealed firearm that decides to intervene is probably more likely to be misidentified as the shooter or to injure themselves or others. We have campus police for a reason other than to write parking tickets.

Do we assume that this person who acts has the dozens of hours of invaluable response training? Or is it more likely that this person is either an enthusiast or a casual hunter?

How can students even be sure that a person taking advantage of the concealed-carry rules on campus understand basic muzzle or trigger discipline? Is the chamber clear when they set their backpack down in class?

The idea that a good guy with a gun makes us all safer is unfounded, and now is the perfect time to revive the gun debate here on WSU’s campus. This kind of firearm policy is silly.

America has a uniquely American problem with mass shootings, but this time we don’t have to let the wheel turn over again.

It’s time for change.