"This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loves ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it safes lives. The notion that gun violence is somehow different—that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt, and protect their families, and do everything they do under such regulations—doesn't make sense." —President Obama on the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon: http://go.wh.gov/7Gk8Eh #UCCShootingPosted by The White House on Thursday, October 1, 2015
President Barack Obama was visibly frustrated as he condemned the recent mass shooting at an Oregon community college on Thursday.
"Somehow this has become routine," Obama said from the White House. "We've become numb to this."
Ten people were killed and 20 left injured after a shooter opened fire on students at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
There have now been 994 such events in the United States since the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012 which a gunman killed 20 children, six adults before shooting himself. And after the Oregon rampage, Obama could not help but express his frustration over how he couldn’t do anything to put a stop to gun violence in the past three years.
“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,” Obama added.
The entire speech had an element of despair which remained till the very end. Obama hoped he would not have to repeat his words to some other family during the time remaining in his tenure as president, but he grimly asserted he couldn’t guarantee that based on past experience.
There was, however, one point the president left for everyone to think about when he mentioned how guns were killing more people in the U.S. than terrorism.
"Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who've been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and the number of Americans who've been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports," he asked.
Obama’s right. According to stats available on the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, around 18 people died in terror attacks in the U.S. last year – while claiming 3,521 lives between 1970 and 2014.
On the other hand, a staggering 9,948 people have been killed by gun violence so far just this year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive figures. In addition – as discussed in greater detail in a previous blog – here have been 294 mass shootings in 2015 alone.
So Obama’s right when he says the U.S. spends over a trillion dollars, introduces numerous reforms and passes various laws to protect Americans from terrorism when a more imminent security threat is present on the streets, churches, homes, campuses etc in the form of gun violence.
But will these stats, deaths, debates and pleas be enough to move the Senate lawmakers who rejected a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on gun sales in 2013?
Only time will tell.