Seventeen people were gunned down last Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by a former student, Nikolas Cruz. Another fourteen were wounded during the rampage.

Cruz, 19, used an AR-15—a semi-automatic rifle that Cruz legally obtained—during his killing spree. It was yet another mass shooting in America that could’ve been prevented.

In the aftermath of the shooting, many Republicans offered up token prayers for solidarity during this time of grief. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, many may have thought America would have been over mass shootings. Apparently not.

On Feb. 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump rolled back an Obama-era regulation that required background checks for the mentally ill seeking to purchase firearms.

President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block those with severe mental health problems from buying guns.

It did not gain much attention at the time, however, I am drawn back to it because President Trump tweeted this on Feb. 15 at 7:12 a.m.:

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

Here ye, here ye! President Trump failed to acknowledge he made a fatal mistake!

However, the Republican Party is partially controlled by the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby, so it’s appropriate that their collective script after a mass shooting is: “This is an unspeakable tragedy,” or my favorite, “Don’t politicize this.”

The fact of the matter is Cruz was affiliated with the Republic of Florida, a “white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics” whose goal is to create a “white ethnostate” in Florida. This registered hate group routinely espouses racial and homophobic tenets.

By definition, Cruz is a domestic terrorist.

The same Republican Party that lampooned Obama for refusing to call ISIS, ISIL and the Taliban by their phrase “Islamic Terrorists” is afraid to define these school shooters by the correct terminology. It is quite deplorable, depraved and morally reprehensible.

Meanwhile, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) tweeted his condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy in Parkland.

Within seconds, the Twitterverse lit his mentions up, reminding Portman of the $64,877 in campaign donations he received from gun rights groups during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle, the “A” rating and the $3,061,941 in blood money he’s received from the NRA during his political career.

Marco Rubio received $3,303,355 from the NRA during his political career, according to the New York Times.

Senator John McCain has received $7,740,521 from the NRA throughout his political career.

After taking office, President Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a fan and ardent supporter of the gun lobby.

Part of the problem is as long as the Republican Party is in bed with the NRA, these mass shootings will continue.

Personally, I am not against guns. I am for responsibility. That responsibility lies in more effective gun control.

President Obama had the right idea by creating stricter standards for mentally ill persons desiring to purchase firearms. However, the root of the problem is the incessant finger-pointing, the unwillingness to systematically destroy these hate groups, enacting or enforcing common sense gun laws and stopping the underfunding of psychological services.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised the Department of Justice will enforce the current gun laws, I laughed. These empty-handed promises do nothing to solve the problem, it kicks the can down the road. Newtown, Sandy Hook and now Parkland. Where’s the next city that’ll be gravely affected?

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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