Obama to visit Roseburg in wake of shooting

My old “Liberal Operative” front door.

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The victims of these shootings are not only victims of a few disturbed individuals, but of a national epidemic: the failure to enact any kind of meaningful gun control legislation.

No more responding to a preventable catastrophe with “stuff happens”. I have a thick skin, and those comments didn’t bother me, but the reaction was telling.

Obama has renewed his call for stricter gun laws following the shooting and has expressed exasperation at the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. They’ve been at this a long time, they’ve perfected what they do.

When I spoke with John C. Fields, the Executive Director of California’s Rifle and Pistol Association, regarding Barbara Boxer’s Pause for Safety Act, he said of the Isla Vista tragedy, “What happened here was murder by a bad person against a good person, and that’s all it is. Sure, lots of American think that universal background checks are a good idea, but they don’t really care that much”.

That same data showed more than 240,000 background checks for gun transactions since September of previous year. Acquiring guns should not be absurdly easy. Which brings us to another related argument…

President Obama also urged Americans to consider “whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor” in the gun control debate. Gun ownership in the United States is a staggering 88.8 per 100. Yet they have not been enough to sway our legislators to side with those whose lives have been endangered or lost rather than with the all-too powerful lobbyists of pro-gun organizations. “The more that we break that stigma, the better off we are going to be”. Would more gun laws have broken their silence?

A few educators, students and parents, and anti-gun policy groups, however, are deeply opposed to a campus culture with hordes of armed pupils, saying more guns would increase violence. Students use the Roseburg Rod and Gun Club, a short drive from campus, to shoot or get help registering for a concealed-carry permit, an employee there said.

Politicians at all levels are voicing their thoughts about guns. They were overly aggressive in their pursuit of gun bans. The president has asked his people to “scrub” existing gun laws to assess what can be done to prevent massacres. It never was. Rather, what the rise of the mass shooting touches on is a cultural problem, a societal tendency to cultivate pathological forms of narcissism, fragile characters dependent on others for constant, self-aggrandising recognition, sensitive to the perceived slights of others, craving their affirmation, and raging when that affirmation is denied; characters who obsessively want to see themselves in the world, and who are childishly angered by the world’s refusal to yield to their demands.

Last Friday’s headline in The Guardian reports that since the December 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, 994 incidents where four or more people were shot took the lives of 1,260 people and wounded 3,606 more.

Are such laws a panacea? Surely if firearms were determinant, all gun-crime would be on the rise? That’s a pretty extreme standard to have to meet. That’s more than one per day so far this year.

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him“. “But that is ongoing work and if there are any conclusions that are arrived at that the President agrees with then we will announce it publicly”. “As if to say, “we will not be defined by violence” …Violence will not have the last word in Roseburg”.

Gun control and gun rights are not incompatible. We will not act unless political parties that block action lose their majorities.

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“When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities”.

US President Barack Obama speaks on gun control as former US representative Gabby Giffords watches