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Imagine if London terrorists had guns and Orlando shooter had only knives:

James Alan Fox, Opinion columnist 5:21 p.m. ET June 6, 2017

Donald Trump didn't feel the need to say anything, even in a tweet, about a mass murder in his own country.

In the pre-dawn hours last Sunday, President Trump (alias @realDonaldTrump) grabbed his smartphone and tweeted a response to the recent terrorist attacks in London: "Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!"

Not surprisingly, our tweeter-in-chief took a beating in the court of public opinion, both here and abroad, for his unsympathetic and politically opportunistic comment on the tragic loss of life. Of course, Trump no doubt delighted his friends and supporters in the National Rifle Association who helped put him in the White House to safeguard the Second Amendment.

Curiously, the president's Twitter feed offers nothing at all about Monday's mass murder at an Orlando factory at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee who had been fired from his job back in April, in part because of an altercation with a co-worker. That co-worker was one of the five employees of the Fiamma Inc. facility killed before the 45-year-old gunman took his own life just as the police were closing in.

It seems that Trump should have felt compelled to write something even 140 characters about a tragedy in his own country, after having tweeted multiple times following the events across the Atlantic. His silence isn't for lack of alone time with his mobile device, as he has been tweeting about some of his favorite issues, such as tax cuts, his trip to Saudi Arabia and his desire for a travel ban.

Donald Trump, leader of the GOP (as in Gun Owners' Party), may not wish to have a debate about guns and mass casualty incidents, but there are plenty of politicians and pundits who continue to note the high frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. compared with other Western nations that do have tight restrictions on firearms.

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The Orlando factory shooter was methodical and selective, as is typical of mass killers, choosing to target those whom he blamed for his misfortune and purposely excusing others. He ordered one woman, a new temporary employee, to leave the building.

Part of the assailant's planning process involved what weapons of mass murder destruction he would need to execute his final act of revenge. As an Army veteran, he was comfortable with his semi-automatic handgun, but he also brought along multiple knives for his early morning assault.

If only the Orlando gunman had attacked his victims only with the knives and not had access to a more deadly option. In all likelihood, the death toll would have been much lower, perhaps even zero. The headline, one that probably wouldn't have gone national, might then have read, "Knife wielding man disarmed by employees." It is, of course, difficult to kill multiple victims with a knife, unless they are asleep or otherwise incapacitated.

Whereas 64% of (non-arson) homicides in the U.S. since 2000 involved a gun, 77% of multiple victim incidents were committed with a firearm. Conversely, 16% of the homicides involved a knife, yet only 10% of multiple victim incidents were carried out with a knife.

By sharp contrast (no pun intended), consider the statistics in the country that suffered the recent terrorist attack about which Trump remarked on the matter of guns versus knives. Of all murder victims in England and Wales between April 2004 and March 2015, 37% were stabbed to death while only 7% suffered fatal gunshot wounds.

Although of no consolation to the families of the seven people killed in the recent London attacks, it is fortunate that the perpetrators used knives and that the truck employed as a battering ram wasn't filled with an arsenal of guns and ammo. Then, Mr. President, the debate about the role of guns in mass casualty attacks would have been as lively and relevant in the U.K. as it is here in the U.S.

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University and a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors. He is co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder.  Follow him on Twitter @jamesalanfox.