The Second Amendment recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court’s Heller decision (decided June 26, 2008) affirmed that the Second Amendment does indeed speak of the rights of individuals. The court’s McDonald decision (decided June 28, 2010) applied the Second Amendment to the states. Progressives love to cry “It’s–any decision, edict or law they favor– settled law; even discussing it is a distraction; move along.” Law doesn’t get much more settled than a fundamental, inalienable individual right specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights, affirmed as such and applied to the states by the Supreme Court, yet Progressives never fail to take or manufacture every possible opportunity to inveigh against it. Why?
The attack at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon has provided such an opportunity, just as the Sandy Hook Elementary attack in Newtown, CT provided an opportunity. The motivations that inexorably drive progressives to limit and eliminate this most important liberty are many and varied, but easily understood. The founders enumerated the right to keep and bear arms primarily to ensure that citizens would have the ability to overthrow a tyrannical government. To be sure, they also understood, both philosophically, and having only recently settled America, and still facing deadly dangers individually and corporately as the young nation expanded, internally and on the world stage, the necessity of arms for defense of self, family and others. These rationales are easily found in the writings of the founders, and absolutely horrify contemporary Progressives.
Armed citizens cannot be easily ruled, and it’s dangerous to try. It’s that simple. People that own and carry firearms are free men and women, not subjects. That mere fact is a painful reminder that American citizens rule, not their elected representatives, who only exercise a temporary, limited trust on behalf of the citizenry. Those that would rule us all are offended, outraged, and terrified at the arms common, everyday Americans have amassed. The self-imagined political and intellectual elite really do believe the God and gun clingers of flyover country–as Mr. Obama termed us–are lesser beings, fit only to be guided in matters so trivial as their choice of light bulbs by superior beings such as themselves, and standing in the way of their consolidation of absolute power is, ultimately, private ownership of guns.
Gun control, or “common sense gun safety” as they now term it, is not about doing away with all guns. It is, rather, about who gets to keep and use them, and against whom? Should Mr. Obama and his like ever successfully seize most privately owned guns from the law-abiding, only two classes would retain gun ownership and use: criminals, who are accurately so called because they do not obey any law, and government, who Mark Twain accurately called America’s only native criminal class, because they acknowledge and obey only those laws that currently support their whims.
That “common sense gun safety” is not at all about safety or the suppression of crime is ridiculously easy to prove. Far more children are accidently killed in bicycle accidents, drowning, motor vehicle accidents, and other mishaps each year than in firearm accidents, yet there is no hue and cry for the control and elimination of bicycles, swimming pools, and other means and mechanisms. Far more adults die in motor vehicle accidents than in accidental shootings, and one hears not a peep. In fact, as Americans have amassed far more firearms than at any time in history, accidental deaths, and even criminal misuse of guns, are at equally historic lows.
In places like Chicago–Mr. Obama’s adopted hometown–thousands of young men, many of whom presumably look just like the son Mr. Obama never had–are being slaughtered by criminals using firearms, yet Mr. Obama remains silent. And as Paul Mirengoff at Powerline reports, a bi-partisan group of Senators are proposing sentencing “reform” that would retroactively–and of course, in the future-–provide early release for violent drug criminals and other felons that used firearms in their crimes, thereby receiving enhanced sentences. Mr. Obama has promised to sign such legislation, thus making clear that the suppression of gun-using criminals of the worst sort has nothing whatever to do with his anti-gun intentions. In addition, in the cities–such as Ferguson and Baltimore–where the Obama Department of Justice has taken over police agencies and imposed Obamite policing policies–in other words, made it impossible for the police to enforce the law against the worst criminals–violent crime, including that involving guns, has immediately and uniformly skyrocketed.
“Common sense gun safety” indeed.
Progressivism, too, is about rhetoric, gestures and feelings. Progressives impose and maniacally defend “gun-free school zones” that they, and supposedly, teachers and students, might “feel safe,” but such zones provide safety only for criminals and maniacs intent on mass murder, who can be certain that their victims will be numerous, easily found in confined spaces, and unarmed. Feelings are notoriously ineffective at deterring and stopping criminal violence.
It is little known that on the same day as the Oregon attack, a teenager, who would want me to mention his name, tried to murder a high school principal in Harrisburg, SD, a small town some 10 miles from Sioux Falls. He fired one shot, slightly wounding the principal, and was immediately swarmed and captured by other staff members that happened to be present. The principal and students and staff at that school–a gun free zone, of course–are very fortunate indeed. One wonders if anyone at Harrisburg High School still feels “safe?”
With this in mind, let’s explore Mr. Obama’s “passionate” speech in response to the Oregon attack. We know it was passionate because the lamestream media praised it and told us so.
There’s been another mass shooting in America — this time, in a community college in Oregon.
That means there are more American families — moms, dads, children — whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief, and communities across the country forced to relieve their own anguish, and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their families or their children.
Mr. Obama’s empathy for these families must be tempered by the knowledge that his public empathy is always reserved for those that may be used to promote his policies. Good photo ops, like a good crisis, should never be allowed to go to waste.
I’ve been to Roseburg, Oregon. There are really good people there. I want to thank all the first responders whose bravery likely saved some lives today. Federal law enforcement has been on the scene in a supporting role, and we’ve offered to stay and help as much as Roseburg needs, for as long as they need.
Any Obama speech must be inherently self-referential. Who cares if Barack Obama, or any politician, has been to Roseburg? Mr. Obama’s policies and actions speak eloquently to his true feelings about the police and military; they are not appreciative or affectionate. Federal agencies were immediately sent in case the shooter was a Muslim terrorist, which would have required herculean efforts to deny and cover up any Islamist motivation or involvement.
In the coming days, we’ll learn about the victims — young men and women who were studying and learning and working hard, their eyes set on the future, their dreams on what they could make of their lives. And America will wrap everyone who’s grieving with our prayers and our love.
Americans will. Mr. Obama will profess concern as long as it’s politically useful, and as long as it can be used to distract the public from his, very, very bad, no good political week and abject humiliation at the hands of Vladimir Putin.
But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now.
We don’t yet know why this individual did what he did. And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.
Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, ‘The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws — even in the face of repeated mass killings.’ And later that day, there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day! Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.
Progressives–and sometimes, Republicans–use tragedies for political gain. Barack Obama has elevated it to a deranged art form. “We have to do something!” they cry. Usually there is nothing that can be done, and law made in the heat of passion is always very bad law indeed.
“Our thoughts and prayers” don’t “capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel.” If we don’t agree with Mr. Obama, we don’t have the right feelings, and feelings are what are important. They’re what should drive legislation and enforcement of law–or more likely, executive edicts.
And notice how all-knowing and all-seeing Mr. Obama is. He demanded more “common-sense gun-safety laws” and that day–’’that day!”–there was a shooting in Louisiana!
Notice that Mr. Obama weakly admits that he knows nothing about the Oregon shooting, but that surely does not stop him from demagoguery.
Mental illness? Was the shooter mentally ill? Had he ever been adjudicated as mentally ill? Convicted of a felony or otherwise legally denied gun ownership? Apparently not. And if he were, why would anyone imagine a potential firearms charge–if he survived the attack–would stop someone bent on mass murder? We now know he had a number of lawfully purchased firearms, and at the college had with him from three to five handguns and a long gun of some kind. He apparently owned several other guns as well.
We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.
And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they’ll argue. Fewer gun safety laws.
Is anyone specifically arguing for the ownership of more guns in the aftermath of mass shootings? No doubt, Mr. Obama’s rhetoric will increase gun and ammunition sales, which always happens when he signals his intention to damage or obliterate the Second Amendment. What Mr. Obama is actually arguing for is making it much, much more convenient to ignore or wipe away a fundamental, inalienable human right.
Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country –they know that’s not true. We know because of the polling that says the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws — including the majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.
Mr. Obama refers to polls that are either rigged or non-existent. If Mr. Obama really had the majority behind him, he wouldn’t be making this argument. He would already have the laws he wants and would be scheming to impose more. And to what laws does Mr. Obama refer? He assumes that any law that restricts or harasses the law-abiding gun owner is a societal good in and of itself. He makes no proposal that would in any way inconvenience criminals or enhance their sentences for using a gun in a crime.
There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not borne out by the evidence.
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.
How can I make that argument with a straight face? Watch me. There are more guns than at any time in history in the hands of the law-abiding. Violent crime, despite the best efforts of the Obama DOJ, continues to decline. More guns, less crime. Less crime, greater public safety. Criminals will obey additional gun laws? Really Mr. Obama? Really? And states with more gun laws have lower crime rates? Talk about bald-faced lies…
Mr. Obama is apparently unaware that the population of America is enormously larger than that of England and Australia, making the more frequent incidence of all manner of things a foregone conclusion. He is also unaware of the rampant violent crime in England. Such comparisons are deceptive at best, and virtually always useless.
And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic. I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over 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. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
Of course playing politics over the bleeding bodies of innocents is a good thing, because Barack Obama is doing it to make sure we all have the same politically correct feelings. And news organizations shouldn’t publish facts, but should take Mr. Obama’s orders and compare meaningless numbers that ignore the Constitution and illuminate nothing. The “data” of which Mr. Obama speaks refers to law that prevents federal agencies such as the Centers For Disease Control from wasting millions conducting “studies” with pre-ordained results that treat criminal violence and accidents as diseases.
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 loved 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 saves lives. So 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.
Mr. Obama’s biggest problems are the Second Amendment, and the understanding of most of the American public that when his lips are moving, they can be certain he is lying. It is this that has made him the most successful gun salesman in history. We can regulate cars and the other devices and activities to which Mr. Obama refers because they do not involve a fundamental, inalienable human right, a right that secures mere existence. Again, notice that Mr. Obama is not at all speaking about dealing with criminals.
So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue. And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision. If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.
So, if I don’t support Mr. Obama in this, I’m responsible for the deaths of innocents? I expect my elected officials to reflect my appreciation for the Constitution and the rule of law, which is quite the opposite of what Barack Obama demands.
And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners — who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, for protecting their families — to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you.
And each time this happens I’m going to bring this up. Each time this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we’re going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I’ve got to have a Congress and I’ve got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this.
Again, Mr. President, what laws? What specific pieces of additional legislation would have had any effect on the Oregon shooting, about which you’ve admitted you know nothing, or any other school shooting? Every law Mr. Obama has proposed to date, all that “common sense,” would have had no effect whatever.
I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. And it can change.
May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change.
The change of which Mr. Obama speaks is not the kind of change that comes from God, but from Barack Obama and his fellow statists.
Umpqua Community College is a gun free zone, “protected” by a single, unarmed, security guard. In the recent past, there was discussion about possibly arming that single security guard, but nothing came of it. I wonder why Mr. Obama didn’t mention that?
After the Newtown Shooting, the NRA suggested federal funds be allocated to provide for armed security guards or police officers in every American school. Mr. Obama ridiculed that suggestion and so did I, but for different reasons. My objection was that we didn’t need more federal involvement in education, nor did we have the money, particularly when allowing school staff to carry concealed weapons would cost little or nothing and provide a far more effective deterrent. Mr. Obama simply can’t abide honest, law-abiding people with arms, even if they would be used to protect the children about whom he professes to care so much.
Remember that Mr. Obama and his family are surrounded, 24/7/265 by many men and women with automatic weapons. This armed protection will be his for life, courtesy of the American taxpayers to whom Mr. Obama would deny the means to protect themselves and their families.
Also missing from Mr. Obama’s speech was any mention of Army veteran Chris Mintz, who saved many lives at the college at the cost of absorbing five bullets. He survived, but courageous, individual action by Americans is apparently unremarkable, and is never appreciated by Progressives who see only the actions of government as heroic and proper. I suspect that had Mintz been armed, the shooting rampage would have ended then and there, and Mintz would not have had to turn himself into a bullet stop.
Gun free school zones are death traps for the teachers and students forced to inhabit them. The only good thing about them is that, despite what Mr. Obama would want us to believe, actual mass school shootings remain rare in America, even as such shootings in other nations (Norway, Russia) greatly exceed the casualty count of American shootings. The odds of a given child being involved in a school attack are low, but there is, in most schools, nothing preventing such attacks. Yet, Mr. Obama will not even consider the obvious, low or no cost, solution: concealed carry for school staff.
Politics, philosophy, and self-aggrandizing posturing aside, when an armed madman is entering the front doors of a school, having ignored the gun free school zone signs, and all of the wonderful, magical “common sense gun safety” laws advocated by Mr. Obama, all that matters to real human beings, the children and parents about which Mr. Obama so claims to care, is what that school is ready to do, at that moment, to save the lives of their children?
When schools are gun free zones, protected by only a single, unarmed security guard–which is more than many schools have–the answer is: nothing. The body count will be determined by the speed of the police response, the lack of marksmanship and the mercy of the shooter. No rational person should bet the life of their children on any of those factors.
But Mr. Obama will, and does.