Last Thursday, a professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), blamed the Vegas shooting on President Donald Trump and said that she was “right” in predicting that people would die under Trump’s leadership. In support of this claim, she pointed to Trump’s bellicose rhetoric toward North Korea and said that words can inspire violence.
As a fellow college history professor, I’m appalled. This is wrong on a number of levels. It’s unseemly to say I told you so, even if you were right, but especially on a matter as sensitive as this. The shooting is raw for many people, and trying to take a victory lap when the dead aren’t cold or buried is obscene.
On top of that, I don’t see any connection between Trump and this event. The professor has a vague sense that Trump is “bad” and that words can kill. As a historian, she should be aware of things like the false cause fallacy and the ability to see cause and effect in events.
The battlefield deaths of World War I could be blamed on Woodrow Wilson for declaring war. But in this case, this is some fuzzy, politically motivated thinking without any actual evidence. Crap like this has become more and more normal in academia, and it’s why I’m focusing on my writing career.
Finally, this shows the bubble that many college professors live in. Somebody living in Las Vegas should realize the many difficult emotions that many people are processing. I’ve covered similar attacks in London, Paris, Orlando, and San Bernardino for OpsLens, but it’s been even tougher covering the shootings from a location that I drive by and for an activity that I do. (I actually attended two different concerts the same weekend as the shooting.)
This UNVL professor should have enough situational awareness and tact to avoid making outrageous comments less than a week after the largest mass shooting in American history.
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With 58 killed by the shooter (who then took his own life) and over 500 wounded, almost everybody in town knows somebody or has a friend of a friend that is personally affected by the attack. My ex told me that her sister was at the concert and that she considered attending with my daughter.
This is a free country where people are entitled to their beliefs. But there should be some common sense and decency to avoid taking a victory lap based on no evidence, in a college classroom that should be devoted to rigorous thinking, just a few days after the event, in front of an audience personally affected by the attack.
Morgan Deane, an OpsLens contributor, is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman who also served in the National Guard as an intelligence analyst. He is the author of the book “Decisive Battles in Chinese History,” as well as “Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon.” This OpsLens article is used by permission.
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