I want to say something about Trump's reaction to today's tragic shooting in Pittsburgh. I don't want people to misunderstand my intent here though. Obviously this isn't about me. This anti-semitic attack of terrorism was against the Jewish community and I wish the best for the friends and family of those involved as well as the safety of Jewish people everywhere.
Today Trump said something that frightened me more that most other things he's said. "I mean the world has violence, the world is a violent world." This is one of the worst, most damaging things he could have said and it scares the hell out of me. I'll explain why.
When I was a young boy, I got beat up a lot in school. Sometimes it was as mild as being pushed into a puddle and laughed at and sometimes it meant being held down and punched repeatedly in the face. I always knew it was a bad one, when I could hear the kids saying "ew" at the sight of my damaged face while being punched. The routine went like this... I got teased, pushed down, straddled and punched. Then a teacher would come running over, stop the "fight" (I was like, the wimpiest kid. My attempts to fight back were comical at best), and bring us into the principal's office, sometimes taking me to the nurse's office first. If it was bad enough, our parent's were called.
We'd sit in those cheap, bright orange, plastic chairs, sometimes with me holding an ice pack to my face, and we'd listen to the bully being told very thoroughly why he cannot do this to "poor Tarol here". Then the bully would usually get some kind of punishment like detention or something. He'd often be forced to give me an apology, which he would moan out reluctantly while giving me the required, minimal eye contact. Then the worst part of the whole thing would happen. Far worse than the beating itself. At the time I didn't know it was the worst, most damaging part. At my young age, I barely noticed it happening at all, but it happened every. Single. Time.
A teacher, nurse or principle would decide that everything was smoothed over and then utter a powerful phrase to all of us. "Boys will be boys." This phrase would always get a chuckle out of the adults in the room and sometimes one of them would break into a story about how her son is so mischievous "but what can ya do, right? Boys will be boys."
As I grew up, I began to understand what this phrase was. This was a statement of status quo. I proclamation that this is expected to continue. By saying this in front of the bully, they were saying "Not only is it okay for you to keep beating up kids like Tarol, but if you don't beat them up, you're not a real boy". Although the bully was being lectured and punished, he was ultimately being taught that by beating up the smaller kids, he was an upstanding representation of his demographic. Almost as if he was fulfilling some prophecy that caused the surrounding adults to chuckle, smile at each other and bond over his admirable boyish adventures.
After I discovered what this phrase 'was', I started to wonder why it was said so often. Why, without fail, it was a mandatory part of the whole routine. Eventually, I came to grips with the reason for the phrase's importance. The school was removing responsibility from the bully, sure. But the real reason it was said, was to remove responsibility from the school. If this is all part of some unending force of nature, that "boys will be boys", then the adults can all openly agree that none of this is their fault. This was unavoidable. This has always and will always happen. The adults weren't trying to get the bully to beat me up again next week. They were simply dodging responsibility. Accepting this as "the way things are", placed no blame on them. But taking new steps to try and really stop this from happening again, would have meant that they could have taken those steps earlier, but didn't. It would have exposed the possibility that they were not doing everything that could to keep the kids safe. That previously they were doing a bad job.
"Boys will be boys" was said by the adults for their own benefit. I'm sure many of those adults didn't understand why they liked saying the phrase. They just knew that it made them feel better about everything.
So when Trump said "I mean the world has violence, the world is a violent world", it stood out to me and the same tool as "boys will be boys". Hearing Trump say this leads me to strongly believe that he accepts these shootings as normal and will allow them to continue. The longer they go on, the more it proves that they're not his fault. It's not him at all. It's simply that the world is a violent world.
Now run along and play.