President Obama slammed Congress on Tuesday for their obedience to NRA overlords, pointing out that the United States does not have a lock on psychosis or insane people, yet suffers tragic losses on a weekly basis from gun violence.
Speaking in stark terms about the need to take action against gun violence and stem the rising tide of public shootings, he lamented what he sees as a growing public complacency, especially on Capitol Hill, about mass killings being the price to pay for the 2nd Amendment.
“We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens,” the president said. “And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this.”
Since the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut in Dec. 2012, where one young man carrying an assault rifle murdered 20 children and six educators at an elementary school, there have reportedly been 74 school shootings, including Tuesday’s.
“I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don't surprise me,” the president said. “The fact that 20 six-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn't do anything about it was stunning to me.”
In the wake of Newtown, efforts to impose stricter background checks at the federal level fizzled in Congress. While some states, such as New York and Maryland, passed laws trying to curb access to military-style assault weapons, others, like Georgia, decided to ease restrictions on weapons.
Gun lobbyists argue that preventing citizens from carrying guns means only criminals will have access to them, making law-abiding Americans less safe. Moreover, the gun lobbyists say that mental health issues stand at the root of the problem, not the ability of people to buy high-powered rifles or easily concealed handguns.
Obama refuted these claims.
“The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis,” Obama said.
“And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what's the difference? The difference is, is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses. And that's sort of par for the course.”
“There's no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.”
Saying he respects the right of Americans to own guns, the president said a change in public opinion was the only way to pass effective gun regulation.
“So the country has to do some soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me,” the president said in closing.
It should be terrifying to everyone, and yet as the president says, it's just a one-day story. With Eric Cantor's loss to an unknown, I doubt there will be many headlines about the Las Vegas or Oregon shootings in the past two days.
The NRA will heave a sigh of relief and ratchet up the paranoia a little further, and there will be more tragedies, and nothing will happen.