Trump’s visit to Las Vegas contrasted sharply with his visit to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico just a day earlier
Jaisal Noor: Visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 4, US President Donald Trump praised the bravery of survivors of the biggest mass shooting in modern US history. They risked their lives to help other victims as bullets rained down from a nearby hotel during Sunday night’s deadly shooting spree. Donald Trump: Depths of horror, we will always find hope in the men and women who risk their lives for ours. The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America’s heart with grief. America is truly a nation in mourning. Jaisal Noor: His trip to Las Vegas contrasted sharply with his visit to Puerto Rico just a day earlier. Donald Trump: I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack. Jaisal Noor: Where he threw paper towels at survivors and downplayed the death toll there, which was nearly doubled after he left and some estimate to be in the hundreds. Meanwhile, the island remains devastated, over three million people remain without power. Donald Trump: I visited the hospital earlier today where many victims are still recovering from their wounds. And we ask God to ease their suffering and to speed their healing. We pray for the recovery of the injured and those injured officers. Jaisal Noor: Trump made his comments after visiting patients and speaking with doctors at University Medical Center in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the attack which killed 58 people and wounded more than 500. But he refused to answer questions about gun control. Rebecca Peters: Even though there’s evidence, abundant evidence and countless examples of tragedies showing the need to strengthen the gun laws in the United States, and even though public opinion strongly supports that, it seems as though the money that the gun lobbyists spend supporting politicians, in the end trumps both the public health evidence and public opinion. Jaisal Noor: The Real News’s Aaron Maté recently spoke to Rebecca Peters. In the 1990s after a mass shooting in Australia, she led the successful movement there to reform the country’s gun laws. They have not had another mass shooting since. Rebecca Peters: In Australia, in the 80s and 90s we had a mass shooting about once a year. And it was a similar, sort of scenario to what you see in the US. There will be a mass shooting, there would be a lot of concern, and grief and ,what should we do, and speeches and prayers, and basically very little action because of a couple of things. One was the same kind of cultural attachment to guns. Australia’s a pioneer country, it’s a very rural country with a great attachment to hunting. And also, the rise of the gun lobby which threatened politicians that if they supported stronger gun laws then they would turn out systematically against them. And at that moment what happened was our Prime Minister, John Howard, who had just been elected and so there’s a similarity too, he had a lot of political capital still available to him. He said, “This has got to stop.” And basically, through sheer political will he negotiated with all the states in Australia to bring about a scheme of harmonizing the laws based on the recommendations from experts in public health and criminology to provide a system that said you can have guns in Australia under conditions that are designed. Well, the first priority is public safety. So we had one of the important measures that we took was a ban on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns because there really is no legitimate reason for civilians to have those. Things like that. And the result of all of those things has been that gun violence in Australia has been dramatically reduced. And the violence has reduced and also the work involved in policing that violence is reduced. And as you’ve said, we’ve never had another mass shooting. But we still have hunting, we still have macho men in Australia. We still do well in the shooting sports and all that kind of thing.