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Comment: Donald Trump's only political skill is to feed hate and division logo 4/10/2017 Chris Uhlmann

Every day in America there is a mass shooting where four people are killed or wounded.

Every single day.

So the body count has to be high for a US mass murder to make national or world news.

Enter the latest name written in blood: Stephen Paddock. Who knows why he took aim at a crowd of concert-goers in Las Vegas but we can guess that he got what he wanted. His image and name will now be etched alongside the grim statistic - worst mass shooting in American history.

That is until some other lunatic armed with perfectly legal, military-grade weapons takes his place.

US President Donald Trump is now musing about gun laws.

Believe there will be change when you see it. If American politicians were not moved to change the law after the massacre of innocents at Sandy Hook they will not change it just because the body count for a single massacre hits a new high.

And if any change does come it will likely be a legislative feint; some minor, meaningless tweak to apply the gloss of progress to a system that is so broken you can buy a semi-automatic weapon in a supermarket.

America’s gun laws are a profound failure of political leadership over generations.

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on hurricane recovery efforts with first responders at Luis Muniz Air National Guard Base. © Evan Vucci/AP Photo President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on hurricane recovery efforts with first responders at Luis Muniz Air National Guard Base. President Trump is just the latest in a long line of Presidents, Senators and Congressmen and women who refuse to tackle the all-powerful gun lobby. That lobby cites the second half of the Second Amendment as its sacred text: “... the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

But that amendment was penned when the people carried muskets, not automatic weapons that can kill dozens in a minute. And the first part of the Second Amendment makes it clear it was inserted to protect state rights from the new federal government: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State…”

And if leadership is required on gun laws then there is little hope any will be found in President Trump.

Today in a visit to hurricane devastated Puerto Rico he complained that the disaster had “thrown our budget a little out of whack". 

"Because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that's fine, we've saved a lot of lives," he said.

He went on to say that the Hurricane body count in Puerto Rico paled beside “a real catastrophe like Katrina”.

"What is your death count?" he asked as he turned to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. "17?"

"16," Rosselló answered.

"16 people certified," Trump said. "Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people and all of our people working together.”

So, in a perverse twist on body counts, 16 dead Puerto Ricans is a number that inspires the President.

The people of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States of America. They are a proud people. No doubt they would like to be proud of their President.

It’s just a pity that the man they look to for comfort has only one real political skill: an innate ability to feed division, discord and hate.

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