On June 11, there was a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, FL that left 50 people dead and many more wounded. The shooting is considered an act of terrorism and CNN reported the following day that it was the worst massacre in U.S. history. As the country prepares for the upcoming presidential election, we look toward candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to hear what they have to say about such a tragedy. Both of these candidates offered nothing more than “our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.” While that is nice to say in theory, I think that the shooting was a missed opportunity for the candidates to show their stance on issues of gun violence and how they plan to keep Americans safe for the next four to eight years.
I am disgusted by how many shootings happen in our country. It seems like the government does the bare minimum to make our country safe from guns because of the second amendment. I think that people in our country are using the recent shooting as an excuse to focus on their prejudices against people who follow certain religious beliefs or have different sexualities than their own. This horrible incident should be an opportunity to admit that we have a problem with firearms in America and be used a chance to change laws that result in people losing their lives. The presidential candidates could have used the tragedy to suggest ways to better restrict gun laws in the U.S., whether that includes tightening restrictions on who can buy guns or restricting what types of weapons can be bought by anyone with a license.
Since the shooting, the candidates are constantly on Twitter attacking each other as if they are no better than bickering middle schoolers. I would think that with their recent avid use of the social media platform they would use it for something beneficial. Instead of thoughts and prayers, they should offer hope for the families, friends and loved ones of the victims. They can offer that hope in the form of a plan for more gun legislation to end these types of mass shootings. However, Trump only seems to gloat in wake of the shooting because of the ethnicity and religion of the shooter. He used the horrible tragedy to, yet again, bully other people and further his agenda of Islamophobia in our country. There was no mention that the shooting was a hate crime against the LGBT community. Trump just continued his hate speech against a group of people and the religion that they follow.
Meanwhile, Clinton did not use the aftermath as an opportunity to further her personal agenda and hate. However, she also did not use her political advantage well. Right now would be an ideal opportunity for her to offer some solution to the gun violence we face in this country.
While I think thoughts and prayers offered to these victims and their families are necessary, I expected more from people with political power. They should have spoken up against the violence to try and make our country a safer place. I think either candidate could have proposed more restrictive measures be taken when authorizing gun licenses or even on who buys the guns. As a country, I would like to see less guns being used to kill innocent civilians and I think the only way to do that is to create less opportunity for just anyone to purchase a gun.