A letter to "President" Trump about his "listening" session

"President" Trump,

I haven't written in awhile because really what is there to say to you. I felt compelled to write you today because yesterday I watched you during your "listening" session with the victims of the Florida shooting. I couldn't watch the whole thing. It made me too angry. What I did see made me sick.

I saw the part where you were holding a microphone and telling the students, their parents and the parents and siblings of victims who died that the solution was arming teachers with weapons. Here's what you said:

"If he had a firearm, he wouldn't have had to run, he would have been shot and that would have been the end of it," you said. "It's called concealed carry where a teacher would have concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun free zone."

You also posited that if Aaron Feis, the football coach who shielded students from the gunmen and lost his life had been armed he could've shot the assailant. The subtext in the statement is that Mr. Feis would not have died.

You used words like "firearms", "gun", "concealed carry" "gun free zone", "attack". You said these words in a room full of victims who are barely one step away from the tragedy that has ruined their sense of life and safety.

I want to talk to you about post traumatic stress disorder. My sister Lissa died over twenty years ago in a car accident. I still suffer from post traumatic stress because of it. Every time I see the aftermath of a car accident on television or the news I am brought back to the night I received a phone call from her friend telling me, "Lissa was in a car accident. She might be dead."

That shock resurfaces when I'm driving and something suddenly appears in my periphery. That shock and the floodgate of anxiety sneaks up on me unexpectedly and I imagine always will. I've been in therapy for this and it still haunts me.

You were speaking to people who were traumatized seven days ago. You were talking to people whose lives are irrevocably changed. Every time you lectured them, used trigger words and put the names of their loved ones; not in prayer but in theory in your mouth you continued to erode at their foundation. You did them great harm.

You did great harm to the people watching when you said that "gun free zone" to a maniac means "let's go in and let's attack" Do you know what is was like dropping my daughters off at school today at their "gun free zone" school? It was awful. I kissed my youngest daughter's cheek and simultaneously prayed that I would see her later today.

You're not helping "President" Trump. You aren't helping at the base level which is to give comfort and some reassurance and to ease fears. You in fact are making things worse strictly by what you are saying let alone what you are proposing.

I with to God you were a better man. I wish to God you weren't bought by special interests. I pray that no teacher is ever in the position where a gun is locked in their desk and the expectation would be on them to set aside their skills as a teacher and at a moment of high alert and panic become an expert marksmen. Your proposition is absurd.

Your insensitivity yesterday was a pornographic display of narcissism and self-serving ceremony. You're familiar with pornography aren't you?

May the victims of your listening session start again in their healing process. You set them back. You set us all back "President" Trump. For shame.


Tania Richard


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