On Tuesday morning, President Obama gave a powerful, potent speech—undoubtedly one of the milestones of his presidency—declaring executive efforts to combat gun violence with improved gun safety laws and comprehensive background checks.
The speech was an undeniably emotional one; it began with an introduction from Mark Barden, whose son Daniel died during the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut three years ago. President Obama referenced Sandy Hook, along with the dozens of other shootings that have occurred (Charleston, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Chapel Hill) to contextualize our current state: a sense of numbness to the extreme violence we see entirely too often. The president teared up during a point in the speech, thinking about the first-graders who lost their lives in Sandy Hook. He talked about the “fierce urgency of now,” of the idea that this cannot continue with inaction.
He questioned the utter insanity of bipartisan gridlock concerning one of America’s deadliest problems: “How did we get here? How did we get to the place where people think requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people’s guns?”
The message was clear: “We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom.”
Such a speech and executive action has actually come much too late; this should have been brought forth years ago, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook. The ideas for gun control Obama delineates in his speech are not particularly revolutionary either (background checks, as Obama emphasizes, are common sense).
Yet the public has been starved for some sort of strong leadership regarding this issue, and an outpouring of support for Obama emerged from Twitter as users hashtagged #StopGunViolence to express their appreciation for the president finally taking action.
I'm a responsible gun owner. I support anything that helps stop the next mass (or any) shooting. Let's #StopGunViolence.— Godless Utopia (@GodlessUtopia) January 5, 2016
Obama: We need background checks, enforce our laws, and mental health programs. What GOP heard: No Guns, Hitler, Satan. #StopGunViolence— MATTY ICE (@MattyIceAZ) January 5, 2016
As Obama stated, this issue will not be resolved during his presidency or with this Congress. Yet he has taken the bold, crucial first step forward that will make all the difference in history.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @BBCWorld