The heartbreaking and all too familiar news of a mass shooting incident at a college sparked outrage today. The rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon on October 1st has left at least 13 people dead and 20 others wounded. Reports have confirmed that shooter, a 20-year-old male has been counted among the deceased after exchanging gunfire with the police.
After an uphill battle for some kind of gun control – one that has gone nowhere – President Obama was visibly upset when he delivered a statement from the White House briefing room about the mass shooting on Thursday. With a tightly clenched jaw and exasperation fueling his words, Obama acknowledged and bemoaned his inability to prevent further gun related travesties and pleaded with Americans to see the damage being done and force the change needed. The lack of political desire to change the laws that could aid in putting an end to more mass shootings.
“There’s been another mass shooting in America,” is how Barack Obama opened his statement before lamenting on the atmosphere of fear and grief that spreads every time such a tragedy strikes. The President stated how, without a doubt, each of the victims and their loved ones would surely be wrapped in the prayers and love of the American citizens. In what is actually Obama’s 15th statement on mass shootings since he took office, the President also urged the people to recognize that thoughts and prayers are not enough.
“I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America. Next week or a couple months from now.”
Rolling Stones explained that, by its definition, a mass shooting is classified as involving 4 or more gunshot victims, not including the shooter. They also went on to show just how damaging the issue of mass shootings are and outlined that October 1 is the 274th day of the year and there have been 264 mass shootings in 2015 alone according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Sadly, the tragedy of such frequent mass shootings is a situation that only occurs in the United States. The President acknowledged that, though the reasons behind this shooter’s actions are not yet known, and it can be inferred that anyone who commits such an atrocity is mentally ill, this does not justify the prevalence.
“But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses who want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings, every few months. Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings. And later that day there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day. Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.”
The power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has formed a blockade at almost every step towards gun control laws that Obama has tried to implement, though, and has in fact successfully fueled their own agenda and managed to make access to guns even easier in many states. The New York Times insinuated that, during his speech, Obama made a thinly veiled “swipe” at the NRA by asking those Americans who own guns and use them in lawful activities to truly contemplate if their views are being properly represented by the organization, since it suggests to speak on their behalf.
Polls have suggested that a majority of Americans are aware that laws should be in place to monitor gun usage. Obama pointed out that there is essentially a gun for every man, woman, and child in America, saying that the argument that more guns will make the country safer is preposterous.
Lacking the hope that his speech following the Charleston Massacre had, Obama ended his speech with the hopes that during the remaining days of his tenure as President he would not have to return to the podium and deliver more condolence speeches to families and loved ones of mass shootings. Given the numerous ones he has had to deliver thus far though, the hope seemed to lack any true belief, and, from the man who had hope as a key player on his campaign trail, it is a disheartening sight.
“Each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up. Each time this happens, I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it.”