While President Trump was en route to the White House following his 12-day trip to Asia, news broke of a gunman who killed five and injured 10 more in the small northern California town of Rancho Tehama on Tuesday. Hours later, Trump tweeted his "condolences" to victims of the Sutherland Springs that took place on Nov. 5, instead of the Rancho Tehama shooting. Many people on Twitter were appalled, noting that Trump's Sutherland Springs tweet might have been meant for Rancho Tehama victims instead.
May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.
On Wednesday morning, Trump deleted the tweet.
In response to what many people read as Trump's mix-up of mass shootings, plenty of Twitter users' reactions ranged from bafflement to anger to resignation. While some pointed out it seems impossible to confuse tragedies, others argued the regularity of such mass shootings was the real issue that needed to be addressed.
One of the most common responses highlighted the disrespect shown to the victims.
Others said that the slip-up was a copy and paste error, as Trump's latest tweet on Sutherland Springs mirrors the original he sent 10 days ago. Immediately following the Texas shooting on Nov. 5, Trump wrote:
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
Many of the Twitter responses criticized Trump for what they saw as copying, pasting, and somehow forgetting to change the name of the city.
Perhaps the most common reaction was bewilderment. Several tweets expressed a sense of disbelief that he mixed up the sites of the shooting.
Others focused on the unacceptable number of mass shootings, asserting that if Trump can't keep track of them, it's time to address what they see as the real issue — gun control laws.
The details emerging about the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama reveal a tragedy that could have been much deadlier. The gunman's first target appears to have been Rancho Tehama Reserve Elementary School.
According to Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston, teachers and staff heard gunshots outside before the gunman attempted to enter. They were able to lock the doors and keep him out, which potentially saved many more lives. That the gunman also appears to have been heavily armed led Johnston to say: "This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random. I have to say this incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse."
CNN reports that one mother risked her life to try and warn those in the school about the shooter. The gunman fired several shots at multiple vehicles as they drove past each other, and one of those random targets was Sara Gonzalez. She had just dropped her daughter off at school, and immediately turned around, honking to try and get the attention of staff inside the building. Another man, Jessie Sanders, told CNN he ran over to the school after hearing shots fired, and tried to distract the gunman away from the building by yelling at him, "Hey, why don't you shoot this way instead."
Every mass shooting is a tragedy, and most would agree the victims of each deserve respect and acknowledgment. For many on Twitter, their belief that Trump was referring to Tuesday's mass shooting as "Sutherland Springs" provided neither to an already grief-stricken community.