Monday, December 17, 2012

A change is gonna come

President Obama's speech in Newtown, CT last night is being called his Gettysburg Address by quite a few of the very serious pundits.

It wasn't that earthshaking from my seat. In fact, it felt a bit too much like a sermon to me in the beginning. For a while I thought he wouldn't mention gun regulation at all. But then he went there:
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America -- victims whose -- much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When he got to this part, I seriously teared up out of sheer gratitude that at least the words were being said:
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.
Yes, I know talk is cheap and we always throw a lot of it around in the immediate aftermath of these horrifying massacres. And then nothing happens. And surely, though I've seen many calls demanding immediate action, it's not going to going to happen quickly. Nor should we try to solve such a complicated problem in the heat of emotion. It demands a cool-headed, well thought out approach.

But I have hope we will do something because this time, the victims were so very young, the public shock and anger is so widespread, and the shared sorrow so very deep. I find it a positive sign that I'm seeing so many people yelling at the right buildings. I'm seeing constructive suggestions and a determination to make something happen that I haven't seen in very long time. It just might translate into some kind of first steps towards sane gun regulation.

I'm not going to give up that glimmer of hope unless and until it becomes indisputably clear that there isn't any.

[Optional soundtrack for this post, Sam Cooke]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I've been angrily accused of advocating inaction because I've said much the same thing, but that's because so many have decided that more of what didn't work is the answer and even suggesting that there's a wider set of factors than magically making guns go away that needs to be examined generates hysteria.

I think he did well here, although the NRA will take that as proof that he intends to steal your guns.

Why are so few asking how we can keep armed nuts out of the schools? Because it isn't about safety, I suspect. It's about fear.

2:14:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I'm in a weird place. Don't own guns. Don't like guns. Never shot a gun. But my world is filled with responsible gun owners who enjoy doing those things. Hard to figure out how to strike a balance between sensible safety measures and security theater that does nothing to ensure safety.

11:48:00 AM  

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