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    Friday, September 30, 2022

    Never mind gun control, disarm Trump

    I understand the best time to enact new gun control legislation is right after a mass killing, before the public sense of alarm fades.

    That worked in Connecticut, which toughened its gun laws after the tragic Newtown school killings in 2012. The Las Vegas shootings might even generate some modest gain for gun control in the national debate. I'm all for that.

    But I would urge Connecticut's senators, leading voices in the national gun control campaign, to turn their attention instead to a much more alarming prospect, a president glad to kick sand in the face of a nuclear-armed madman.

    I found Donald Trump's staged remarks to reporters last week, as he was surrounded by military brass, that we are in a "calm before the storm," to be terrifying.

    When asked whether he was referring to flash points like North Korea or Iran, Trump said wait and see, as if he were pimping for the next segment of his reality TV show.

    Except this is as real as it gets, and we are all potential hapless victims.

    This strange warning coincided with an authors' tour last week for a new book in which dozens of psychiatrists and mental health professionals express their alarm about the president's mental health.

    The book is part of a "Duty to Warn" movement by health professionals, thousands strong, to assess the president's mental state, a break with past professional standards that precluded analyzing a public figure one has not examined.

    This a frightening moment in time, these doctors suggest, and the need to sound the alarm is greater than professional niceties about diagnosis from afar.

    As Tony Schwartz, ghost writer of Trump's "Art of the Deal" and a co-author of the new book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," notes, the insecure and tempestuous president could punch in the nuclear codes at the drop of a hat, maybe just to settle a score.

    This is where Connecticut's senators should put their outrage to work. Never mind the next crazed person that might senselessly kill dozens of people, let's disarm the unstable and threatening president who could put millions at risk.

    I would urge Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy to do more to promote legislation, already introduced by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, that would prevent a president from launching a first nuclear strike without the permission of Congress.

    This is plain and simple and should even be bipartisan. It should apply to this and all future presidents.

    No single person, no matter how sane, should be entrusted with the means to initiate nuclear annihilation.

    The issue is more pressing now that we have a president whose mental state of mind is being questioned by qualified medical professionals, at the same time he is making bellicose threats.

    The other frightening confluence of events is the tightening grip of the special prosecutor investigations, which have the makings of pushing this volatile president into a corner, as the indictments come down.

    This has all the makings of "Wag the Dog" syndrome, after the 1997 black comedy about fabricating a war to distract attention from an unfolding political scandal.

    Does anyone, even those who like his policies, doubt that Donald Trump is capable of this?

    Alas, we are apparently in the quiet before the storm.

    I am glad our Connecticut senators are always ready to engage in the fight for stricter gun controls, to keep military-style weapons where they belong: on the battlefield.

    I would suggest, though, that Sen. Murphy refrain from using tragedies like the mass killing in Las Vegas to juice up his fundraising emails. It's unseemly.

    Better yet, worry about the far greater threat. And please work to disarm this scary commander in chief.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.


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