Experts explain why Trump and the NRA's focus on 'evil' makes the mass shooting crisis worse

Speakers at the National Rifle Convention in Houston, Texas viewed the school shooting massacre in Uvalde through a counterproductive lens, according to experts on mass shootings.

"One by one, they then rejected any suggestion that gun control measures were needed to stop mass shootings. They blamed the atrocities on factors that had nothing to do with firearms — the breakdown of the American family, untreated mental illness, bullying on social media, violent video games and the inexplicable existence of 'evil.' Above all, they sought to divert pressure to support popular overhauls like expanded background checks by seizing on the issue of school safety, amid reports that the gunman in Uvalde gained easy access to Robb Elementary School through an unguarded door," The New York Times reported Friday.

Trump spoke about evil during his speech.

"The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens and that is why one of the core missions of the NRA is to train, prepare and equip responsible American men and women with the knowledge and tools they need to defend themselves," Fox News reported Trump said.

But experts say that's counterproductive.

"Three years ago, Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology at Hamline University, and James Densley, a professor of criminal justice at Metro State University, decided to take a different approach. In their view, the failure to gain a more meaningful and evidence-based understanding of why mass shooters do what they do seemed a lost opportunity to stop the next one from happening. Funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Department of Justice, their research constructed a database of every mass shooter since 1966 who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces and places of worship since 1999," Melanie Warner wrote for Politico.

The life history of 180 shooters was published in their 2021 book, The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic.

"I’ve heard many references over the last few weeks to 'monsters' and 'pure evil.' You’ve said this kind of language actually makes things worse. Why?" Warner asked.

"If we explain this problem as pure evil or other labels like terrorist attack or hate crime, we feel better because it makes it seem like we’ve found the motive and solved the puzzle. But we haven’t solved anything. We’ve just explained the problem away," Densley replied.

"What this really problematic terminology does is prevent us from recognizing that mass shooters are us. This is hard for people to relate to because these individuals have done horrific, monstrous things. But three days earlier, that school shooter was somebody’s son, grandson, neighbor, colleague or classmate. We have to recognize them as the troubled human being earlier if we want to intervene before they become the monster," he explained.

Watch the clip below.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at NRA Convention in Houston