Following two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left at least 30 people dead and dozens more injured, President Donald Trump addressed the nation Monday morning, offering some preliminary policy ideas to help combat the issue.
In a speech that lasted around ten minutes, Trump called the two shootings barbaric slaughters that were "an assault upon our communities, an attack on our nation and a crime against all of humanity" and condemned white nationalism.
"In one voice, our nation must condemn racist bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated," Trump said. "Hate has no place in America.”
Following reports of a 4 page racist manifesto posted online by the El Paso shooter, Trump said the nation must recognize that the internet has become a "dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts."
"We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start," Trump said. "The internet, likewise, is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and they will not be ignored."
"We can and will stop this evil contagion," Trump said, calling for bipartisan solutions.
Trump went on to offer several preliminary policies aimed at combating the rise of mass shootings in the U.S. including acting on early warning signs of mass shooters, by calling on social media companies to develop tools that could pick up on those warnings.
Trump also blamed the "glorification of violence" as seen in "gruesome and grisly video games."
"It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence," Trump said. "We must stop or substantially reduce this and it must begin immediately."
Third, Trump also called for reform to mental health laws to better identify those individuals who are at risk of committing acts of violence, citing support for "Red-Flag Laws" that would prevent mentally ill individuals from purchasing guns or seizing guns from those at risk.
Trump also called for legislation that would institute the death penalty in cases involving hate crimes and mass murders, saying the punishment should be applied, "quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay."
Trump said he was open to discussing any and all ideas to "address this plague."
Earlier on Monday, Trump wrote on Twitter he would be willing to link gun reform legislation like expanding background checks, with immigration reform.
"We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!
A follow-up tweet from the President's account also blamed news coverage for "the anger and rage that has built up over many years."
"The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!"
The shootings on Saturday and early Sunday morning left at least 29 people dead and 53 other injured. On Monday, the El Paso shooter was charged with capital murder after appearing in the El Paso Criminal Law Magistrate Court. The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, of Allen Texas, is being held without bond.
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