An outraged President Obama did not try to comfort the nation after its latest mass murder—this time at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Thursday—but instead admonished it for not fighting gun violence.
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted somewhere else in America—next week or a couple of months from now,” he said.
Obama went further, likening what Americans do to each other with guns to what terrorists do.
“Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans killed who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks through the last decade and the number of Americans killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side in your news reports,” he admonished the press.
On Tuesday, Obama convened a summit at the United Nations to counter “violent extremism,” speaking to representatives of more than 100 nations about the threat from groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. Two days later, the president spoke about terror at home; the terror of being shot on the streets, in schools, movie theaters, churches, and countless other places where guns have killed.
“This a political choice we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We are collectively answerable to those families, who lose their loved ones, because of our inaction.”
Obama said the nation wages war on the threat of terrorism but stands idly by while Americans murder each other by the thousands every year.
“We spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so,” he said. “And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.”
Obama welcomed pundits and critics who he said would accuse him of “politicizing” the latest tragedy.
“This is something we should politicize, it is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”
Just as the country strives to make mines or roads safer after accidents, he said, it should do the same with mass shootings and enact “common sense” gun laws.
“Each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up. Each time this happens, I am going to say that we can actually do something about it but that we are going to have to change our laws.”
“I would hope and pray I do not have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to the families in these circumstances, but based on my experience as president I can’t guarantee that.”
“And that’s terrible to say.”