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Donald Trump and Gun Violence: Blake Wheeler’s breaking point

Until this season we knew little of Wheeler’s politics. We now know a lot and they are decidedly left.

2018 NHL All-Star - Media Day Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Blake Wheeler has called out American President Donald Drumpf more than once on his failures to the American people. As a man of privilege, using his platform to call the president out on some major fundamental issues, Wheeler is doing his job. He has non-aggressively shown his support for those who are against Drumpf in any way. Yesterday, Wheeler spoke out about the issue of mass shootings in American schools which has reached a crisis point with the latest one being on Valentine’s Day when 17 students were killed. Wheeler stated that when players are deciding where to play, school shootings are now taken into account. It is a privilege that few can afford and it bares some uncomfortable realities.

As a teacher in Manitoba, I am know that schools have to have provincially mandated lockdown drills. We have to lock our classroom doors, black out any inside windows and move the students to an area of the classroom where no one could possibly see them. We also work through a situation called a “hold and secure” where there is something happening outside the school that makes it unsafe for anyone to enter or leave the building. We practice for these situations. I also seek out ways I could smuggle students out of the building if needed. It is a reality in the world.

I cannot imagine the fear someone must feel knowing any day could be their last day because they went to work. I cannot imagine the burden of responsibility one must feel knowing that you might have to make the call on how to save students lives. That is the reality of anyone who works in a school in the United States. The burden to too big to grasp.

Parents have to live with the reality of sending their kids to school and possibly never seeing them again. To understand how complicit the state is in this danger understand this: public schools as we know them today were opened during the industrial revolution to give parents a safe place to send their kids while they worked until their kids were old enough to work themselves. As stronger work place regulations came into effect, children spent more time in school. It was seen as a safe place to send your kids while you worked and that safe place is being lost in the United States thanks to violent extremists with unlimited access to guns.

Yesterday, Blake Wheeler spoke about how NHL players are aware of the dangers involved with gun violence in the United States as it applies to school shootings and it is something that they think about when it comes time for them to sign a contract. It is sad that it has come down to this. It is terrifying that people are so powerless that they have to take into account the safety of their children when deciding where they want to play.

It is sad that it has come to this. It is horrible that there seems to be no safe place in the United States. Money does not by protection unless it is protection from people regulating guns. I have been in many high schools in Winnipeg. I have never once had to go through a metal detector. I have never seen a police officer in the school, although I know they do have to go into schools. I know that we have community resource officers as well. However, I have never felt like my life could change because of one violent person with access to a gun.

If NHLers are starting to look at Canada as a place they can play where there is less gun violence that is a sad, sad thought. It means that players no longer see their home country as a safe place. There is an alternative for them. There is not an alternative for many others and this is where Blake Wheeler really shone: he told Drumpf to stop letting children and their families down when it comes to their safety. No matter what is said, individual people are powerless when it comes to the powerful political machine like the NRA and the president’s wants and wishes.

This is the crux of what Blake Wheeler has been doing; using Twitter to call out Drumpf intermittently. He has not said much or done much else that we know of, but unlike many hockey players who have stood quietly and not spoken up when Drumpf has tried to use his power to intimidate and harm people, Wheeler is speaking up. He is in a conservative, privileged sport that has a hard time seeing beyond it’s own. There are players who do not understand that for them to help protect others from the president’s hateful agenda they have the ability to help delegitimize by not doing anything that can be seen as supportive of Drumpf.

It is a precarious path that any public figure trends when they speak out against a country’s leader. Wheeler has been able to speak out at times with eloquence to show solidarity with those who’s struggle is far greater than his. His recent comments on school shootings and the conversations he has had to have with his wife about their children’s safety and the benefits of staying in Canada show a much sadder side of the issues facing the United States when it comes to guns: how can you keep your family safe in a country that does not do the easy thing?

Blake Wheeler has taken a quiet, but forceful stance on his views on Donald Drumpf. He has since added another layer which is the fact that kids are having their lives put on the line every day because no one will do anything about gun legislation in their country. Wheeler is one American who lives in Canada and in the long run what he tweets means very little, but it is more then he has ever said before. He is actively choosing to stand against his president and with victims who only want to be safe and protected. It’s the bare minimum, but based on what others in hockey have done and said when it comes to Trump, Wheeler saying anything is radical and needed. He is against Trump and he has no issue in people knowing it.