Wow. My father and I watched Obama’s speech at the vigil in Newtown tonight, and noted along with everyone else how he made an unmistakable reference to gun control. Making that reference in his announcement the day of the shooting was one thing; his mention of it tonight was extraordinary.
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.
And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.
If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.
Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
It’s rather unmistakable that he’s referring to gun violence. References to shootings, to specific killings and massacres in Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, Columbine, and Blacksburg.
Most notable is his reference at the end, that we cannot continue to believe that the victims of gun crimes are the price for our freedom.
Obama did mention mental health professionals and educators, so it’s not just gun control he’s talking about. And that seems like a smart way to present the issue, as a package with gun control wrapped up with other measures.
What was remarkable was that Fox did not, at least initially, react violently against this. The talking heads on FNC even sounded open to new gun control legislation. Whether this is just them knowing when not to fight back, or if it is the talking heads taking marching orders from Murdoch, who approves of gun control, is not yet clear.
Whatever the case, we might actually get reasonable gun control.
It is just unbearably sad that it took something like this to finally set that into motion.