Rihanna took to Instagram to criticise Trump’s response to the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend, which left 29 dead.
As of Sunday (the 216th day of the year) there have been 251 mass shootings in America so far this year, according to data from the non-profit organisation Gun Violence Archive. That means there’s officially been more mass shootings than days in 2019, two of which left 29 people dead this past weekend.
While the motivations of the second shooter in Dayton, Ohio have yet to be confirmed, federal authorities revealed on Sunday that they are treating the first shooting in El Paso, Texas as a possible hate crime.
Motivations aside, both of these shootings were acts of senseless violence aimed at killing innocent people, and people were rightly angry when president Donald Trump refused to refer to the tragedies as what they were - acts of terrorism.
Taking to Instagram, Rihanna criticised Trump for his response to the tragedies, calling on the Republican president to make drastic changes to gun regulation across the states.
Beneath a screenshot of the president’s response to the deaths in El Paso, in which he referred to the shooting as a “hateful act,” Rihanna called on Trump to change the way he speaks about gun violence.
“Um… Donald, you spelt “terrorism” wrong! Your country had 2 terrorist attacks back to back hours apart leaving almost 30 innocent people dead,” the singer and businesswoman Rihanna wrote in an Instagram post.
“This, just days after yet another terrorist attack in California, where a terrorist was able to LEGALLY purchase an assault rifle (AK-47) in Vegas, then drive hours to a food festival in Cali leaving 6 more people dead including a young infant baby boy,” she continued, referring to another mass shooting which occurred in California a few days before the events in Texas and Ohio.
She then went on to challenge Trump’s harsh immigration policies in light of the recent events, criticising the president for creating a country where it’s easier to buy an AK-47 than it is to get a Visa.
“My prayers and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims and the communities affected and traumatized, from Texas, California, and Ohio,” she concluded. “I’m so sorry for your loss! Nobody deserves to die like this! NOBODY!”
This isn’t the first time Rihanna has used her platform to speak out on important social issues. At the end of June the singer used her Instagram (which currently has over 73.9m followers) to raise awareness of the Sudanese political crisis, posting pictures of Sudanese protesters with a caption stating that “they have a right to speak out and demand peace, justice and a transition to civilian rule”.
Other celebrities were quick to respond to the events as they unfolded, with many calling for greater gun control or reform to restrict who can buy guns.
“I am sick to my stomach over what has happened in El Paso today,” wrote Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart. “I can’t believe this is happening in my country and no one is doing anything about it. Who has to die for laws to change?”
“Malls, elementary schools, workplaces, food festivals, concerts, movie theaters, places of worship— our lack of responsible #guncontrolnow laws are destroying innocent lives everywhere,” actress Constance Wu added. “My heart is devastated for all the victims & their families.”