President Obama Mourns Aurora — and Misses an Opportunity

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Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

President Obama observes a moment of silence for the shooting in Aurora, Colo., at an event in Fort Myers, Fla., on July 20, 2012

Before the dead were buried, and before the killer appeared in court, President Obama arrived in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday to grieve. He met with families of the victims and spoke eloquently about the sorrows inflicted on the community. He was somber and respectful, which is the sum of what we have come to expect from elected leaders in times of tragedy.

There is a well-thumbed script for politicians who are required to react to mass murder: a mix of paternalism, prayer and platitudes that allow leaders to speak at some length without offering any answers. Obama is skilled at these ritual displays of public mourning. It’s one of the few talents Republicans freely acknowledge in him. Last year, when a Congresswoman was shot in the head by a schizophrenic gunman in Tucson, Ariz., Obama gave a stirring speech that helped quell the raft of public recriminations. This time his response, as well as that of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, was sober. “Appropriate,” the pundits declared. But these statements were more notable for what they didn’t say than for what they did.

(MORE: Colorado Movie-Theater Shooting: Remembering the Victims)

Obama didn’t mention that the alleged shooter had spent two months legally stockpiling a fearsome arsenal — four guns, 6,000 rounds of ammunition purchased online, head-to-toe body armor and a gas mask. Romney didn’t note that as Massachusetts governor, he had signed a ban on the kind of semiautomatic weapon the Aurora gunman used to murder 12 people. Neither leader mentioned gun laws at all.

What good could come from veering off the gentle clichés and pat expressions of sympathy? The fear of being criticized for politicizing a tragedy has thwarted any possibility of preventing its recurrence. You could argue, as many did, that the political debate should wait until after the nation’s wounds heal. But the truth is that no one seems especially interested in having a debate at all.

That includes Obama, who has actually expanded gun rights by signing bills that allow firearm possession on Amtrak trains and in national parks. In 2010 the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, citing Obama’s “extraordinary silence and passivity,” awarded the President an F on gun control. This while the NRA warns that Obama is prepared to strip away gun rights in a second term. Will the issue elbow its way into the general-election campaign? “We’re taking this day by day. It’s too early to say on the specific policy issues what that will mean,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

(PHOTOS: Scenes from Aurora: Aftermath of the Theater Massacre)

On both sides of the aisle, the notion of a legislative solution to the atrocities was flatly rejected. “Unfortunately, I don’t think society can keep sick, demented individuals from obtaining any type of weapon to kill people,” said Republican Senator Ron Johnson. Citing the power of the gun-rights lobby, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, an advocate of the federal assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004, conceded that few Democrats had much appetite for a battle over gun control. “The gun organizations go out to defeat people in states where they can, and they pour a lot of money in, and some people lost office after they voted for the legislation before,” she said.

From the shootings in Littleton and Blacksburg to Binghamton and Fort Hood, we have accepted that the unthinkable is inevitable. Instead of talking about teachable moments, we observe moments of silence. Maybe it’s impossible to prevent every deranged person inclined toward violence from slipping through the cracks. Indeed, the difficulty of sussing out the warning signs was underlined by the carnage in Aurora, where after four days, we’re left without even the vaguest hint of a motive.

But our leaders are not elected to express the kind of defeatism on display from John McCain, who on Sunday opined that since tighter gun laws aren’t foolproof — witness the plight of gun-wary Norway, where a fascist massacred 77 people last summer — there is no cause to try them now. “I don’t know, to tell you the truth, what we can do,” McCain told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “I think we need to look at everything, if that even should be looked at, but to think that somehow gun control is — or increased gun control — is the answer, in my view, that would have to be proved.” McCain noted that the Second Amendment is a constitutional right and a safeguard for a free and law-abiding citizenry. But until he walked into a packed movie theater and shot 70 people, the alleged Colorado killer was a law-abiding citizen too.

(MORE: Trying to Forget Breivik: One Year After the Norway Massacre)

Obama spoke for seven minutes on Friday; Romney for three. “If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious,” the President said. He and Romney have observed the niceties the tragedy prescribes — pulling their ads, leashing their attack dogs, putting partisanship on hold. Soon the cease-fire will end and the two candidates for the most powerful office in the world will return to their campaigns of honking buses and Twitter insults.

Instead of initiating a discussion about what we can do to protect ourselves from the next psychopath, Obama on Sunday confined himself to somber words of comfort. He quoted Scripture, commended the community and recounted tales of heroism amid the horror. “Out of this darkness, a brighter day is going to come,” he promised. The speech was pitch-perfect. But it was just a speech. And as Obama said, “words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations.”

We expect our leaders to grieve after a tragedy like Aurora. We no longer expect them to change anything.

PHOTOS: Gun Culture USA

137 comments
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Vincent Lovece
Vincent Lovece

Like it or hate it, we have a second amendment, backed up by powerful Supreme Court decisions, numerous lobbyists, and centuries of traditions. 2nd amendment supporters have numbers, money, and precedent on their side. 

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

It's absolutely DISGUSTING that gun control advocates are ALWAYS ghoulishly trying to capitalize on the tragedy of the dead.  I can't believe that so many people aren't making the connection between the Bush-era police state and the current regime's stealth approach to gun control: both presidents know that they can't

openly support gun control, they must go another route.  We have expansion of government not merely far beyond its constitutional limits, we have a government that is well into the territory of Orwellian Police State.

...And this isn't about the Obama/ Rahm Emanuel doctrine of "never let a good crisis go to waste", which is exactly what Mr. Altman is advocating.  WE ALWAYS CONVENIENTLY GET AN INCIDENT LIKE THIS whenever a key vote comes up, such as the U.N. Small Arms Disarmament Treaty in two days...

And I don't get how an unemployed college student can acquire over $20,000 worth of police and other tactical gear without assistance?  Such as the assistance he got in entering the theater - someone opened the exit at the front of the theater for him; who was it?   How does a stable and balanced college student suddenly end up in the looney bin, and when the media is finally permitted to see him, he acts all doped-up?  It all rather looks like an engineered event; a false flag, if you will.  Why do I say that?  Because I've seen it before.

Even at that, 6,000 rounds of ammo is nothing, and it doesn't constitute an arsenal.  Anyone who is a serious shooter can burn through that much ammo - if not more - in a single weekend.  Everyone I know has at least that much!  One Marine Corps veteran I know has in excess of 100,000 rounds - half of which is cached.  The type of firearm isn't the issue either; ALL firearms suitable for military/militia service are the province of the 2nd Amendment... and before you get your panties in a twist, just forget about that 2nd Amendment: It does not give people the right to keep amp; bear arms, and neither does the Constitution: the Right predates not only the establishment of our nation, but even predates the first settlers on this continent!  It's a God-given right, which puts all the humanistic statists instantly at odds (in other words, attacking "bitter clingers" satisfies the globalist need to attack faith and freedom).

WAKE UP.  Gun control kills!  Google "Death by gun control" (JPFO) and "Innocents Betrayed"!

Listen folks, I'll be plain.  There are over 150 million gun owners in this country, and many of them have been stocking up on arms amp; ammo like a war's coming.  Why?  Because if anti-gunners amp; certain government functionaries think they can disarm gun-owners, if they think they can outlaw the manufacture, trade, use, transfer, even mere ownership.... and if they actually try it, then there WILL be a civil war!

We already have an out-of-control government, and Altman thinks it should be made all-powerful before a disarmed populace?  All gun control ultimately leads to total disarmament, inevitably.  Too many Americans will not countenance this, even though it's clear that the government doesn't give a hoot what We The People want.  This is the agenda of globalists like the Bilderberg Group, to name a few (...very few).  It's an agenda that a growing number of Americans are quietly deciding needs to be resisted, even by force of arms, if need be. 

So I would suggest to Mr. Altman and all the other sycophants out there

in the "lamestream media", they think twice about advocating for the

gun-control agenda.  Nobody out here in 'flyover country' is going to

sit still for the systematic disarming of Americans, and some REALLY

disgruntled people might start looking at some MSM reporters as being

collaborators of tyranny, and treat them accordingly.  This is just an

observation based on historical precedent.  Caveat emptor.

We cannot honestly speak to the motives of the shooter; he's all drugged up and probably was on something psychotropic long before he acted.  But I can guarantee that if the UN gun control plan is signed, there will be a lot more shooting in this nation's future, but the casualties will consist mainly of those guilty of undermining liberty.  There are a LOT of angry Americans out there who have had it with the deprivations of liberty, the total surveillance state, the systematic elimination of rights for those who are targeted by agents of the regime, political dissidents and unsuspecting citizens alike.

It will make the French Revolution look like a picnic, and I won't cry a single solitary tear for any of the enemies of liberty who get their just desserts: their agenda, and the actions of those who serve this agenda, have already caused the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans over the years (starting in 1933).  And if you don't know of what I am speaking, then admit your ignorance, go to websites like infowars.com and get up to

speed.  Tyranny is best served when the public discourse is populated by the ignorant.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

You are the enemy of my government, my President, my country.  Thankfully, my government can take you out in a flash.  You are a fool.   

superlogi
superlogi

That's true.  Barry had a couple of US Citizens taken out in Yemen with a drone.  However, opposing totalitarian Marxism isn't foolish.  In fact, two liberal Presidents sent us to war to do just that.  I know, I fought in one of them.  What is foolish is being self-destructive by voting for the buffoon twice after seeing what a disaster he was on the first go around.

RevolutionaryonTwtter
RevolutionaryonTwtter

Ok here is a little news flash for all you abysmally stupid people. Gun

control laws will not work. Why  you ask? The reason is very simple it

is already against the law to kill people. Does it stop people from

murdering. no it does not. So by your peoples reasoning somebody who

suddenly wants to go on a murderous rampage will decide against it

because they cannot get an assault weapon? Smarten up already will ya.

People kill people it has always been that way and it always will be.

The shooting was a tragedy perhaps all the people should have gone to

the exercise at Colorado University which played out the exact same scenario on the exact same day. Are you stupid bastards starting to get an inkling yet?

RevolutionaryonTwtter
RevolutionaryonTwtter

Ok here is a little news flash for all you abysmally stupid people. Gun control laws will not work. Why  you ask? The reason is very simple it is already against the law to kill people. Does it stop people from murdering. no it does not. So by your peoples reasoning somebody who suddenly wants to go on a murderous rampage will decide against it because they cannot get an assault weapon? Smarten up already will ya. People kill people it has always been that way and it always will be. The shooting was a tragedy perhaps all the people should have gone to the exercise at Colorado University which played out the exact same scenario on the exact same day. Are you stupid bastards starting to get an inkling yet?

Boon Companion
Boon Companion

Hey Alex Alteredman, news flash: you are morally depraved - and a fool. 

nyctreeman
nyctreeman

not to mention he's a liar

Boon Companion
Boon Companion

R.S. finally banned me. I guess they couldn't bear having their corrupt arguments successfully defeated a minute longer.

nyctreeman
nyctreeman

lol! yes I did notice that ... just remember, before they hated you, they hated me first :P

I was banned after only 27 comments

selmore2012
selmore2012

Congratulations Boon - Wear it as a badge of honor!

James Williams
James Williams

More guns are the solution not less guns. If we could actually defend ourselves instead of waiting for the police to show up these incidents would be far less devastating. If even one person in that theatre had a concealed carry this guy would have been dead within seconds.

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

This is what you get in a 'victim disarmament zone'.  Personally, I don't give a hoot what a theatre's policy is, I ALWAYS go out armed, ALWAYS.  If a theatre touts itself as 'gun-free', I'll give them a blast of righteous vitriol for infringing on the RIGHT of their patrons to protect themselves, and then I boycott them.  If that means we all stay home and no money is made at the box office, then that's the way it should be - and then the theatres that don't infringe on our rights will be the only ones that stay open to make money.

What Americans must NOT tolerate is the asinine suggestion that I keep hearing about metal detectors, and a heavy police or (worse yet) TSA presence at theaters.  If that happens, then everyone needs to become video pirates, and steal the movies they want to watch, so Hollywood amp; the Box Office pay for their opposition to gun rights and our other liberties!

This BS keeps up, and there's gonna be a 2nd American Revolution pretty damn soon.

superlogi
superlogi

You know, I should carry all the time, but generally don't (and yes, I have a CCP) except if I'm going to a troublesome area.  But then you never really know when and where troublesome is, do you?  In any case, after this Aurora tragedy, I may have to rethink not carrying all the time.  I suspect there's quite a few people who are rethinking  their behavior toward guns as well, since gun sales increased over 40% in Colorado alone.  Not exactly what gun control advocates were expecting.  But one thing is an absolutely certainty.  No matter what gun control measures are put in place, it won't have any effect on the bad guys.  None whatsoever.

许俊锋
许俊锋

I just want to say "hi! hello"

sacredh
sacredh

Hi and hello right back at you!

Wrex Allen
Wrex Allen

Well, at least this only an opinion piece, and you are allowed the right to your opinion, even though these evil, dirty guns, gave you and protects that right. 

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

 I know you're being sarcastic when you say "evil, dirty guns", but let's be clear: people who would use their 1Am right to deprive you of ANY of YOUR rights are abusing the freedom, and do not deserve to live in a free republic.  (In fact, we're no longer living in a free republic which rather makes my point).  But *IF* Americans are to restore liberty, a post-tyranny America must by definition have already deported people like Altman, for being supporters and enablers of tyranny.

And if his editor TOLD HIM to write this cr@p, as in 'keep your job', then the Nuremberg Principle applies and both of them must still go.  There are enough bloggers on the internet to support a revitalized free press.  The Mockingbird media is not 'free and independent', and we all know it.

Paul White
Paul White

There’s nothing outlandish about a citizen’s ability to carry a weapon. It’s a quality

of The US that both ensures the public’s ability to resist oppression as well

as acting as a deterrent for criminal activity. There’s countless times

responsible people have stopped incidents like this using their own lawfully

carried weapons. I guess I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s still astonishing,

the major bias people have against personal armament.

I wouldn’t look to Britain or the UK as a model of ‘reasonable’ gun-control.

While they’ve had an overall decrease in the use of guns, they still suffer

from the same types of violence we do on about the same scale, and this

includes criminal use of banned weapons.

Criminals will always exist, and they’re going to harm people one way or

another. But rather than selfishly limiting yourself and others out of

emotional belief or personal fear, why not consider giving yourself the means

to protect from these criminals? It CAN make a difference, believe it or not.

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

 If people are biased against personal self-defense, it's either because they love drinking the koolaid, or they think they stand to benefit from taking away other people's liberty.

The gun control bunch admitted in the 1990's that gun control is not about reducing crime, or enhancing justice.  One can only conclude that the gun control agenda here in the USSA is the same as at the UN: disarming everyone so you can impose a world agenda that NO ONE would willingly surrender to!

...Which is all the more reason to remain armed at all costs, even if it means a shooting war on US soil.  Gun control inevitably leads to genocide.  I used to be a cog in the prison-industrial complex that's growing here: "Concentration camps in America" is not as outlandish as it sounds when you've seen the machinery in the course of one's official duties.  I don't think I'll ever wear the badge again after what I've seen!!

Buy as much ammo as you can, before the 27th, if you can swing it.  We may need it all after Obama signs ATT, which is why he's been so "strangely quiescent" about gun rights; it's the stealth attack to end ALL gun rights forever, if we let it!

Aksa8
Aksa8

Right from early childhood one has been aware that guns being fired are not always so entertaining as in the numerous shoot-em-up westerns or gangland movies one viewed on the Sunday morning spots the local cinemas in India reserved for Hollywood imports.

Public memory is littered with horrendous episodes such as the most recent one, and places, from the grassy knoll, the Texas Tower and the countless, now infamous, landmarks that are now symbols of the ability of those seeking to do violence to actually translate intent into action with the help of firearms.

I recall how an issue of LIFE (April 1982) stated "Guns Are Out Of Control". It would appear they still are.

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

So you're suggesting that we disarm America because some "lone gunman" was put up to each of these tragedies?  Who do you suppose paid for the $20,000+ worth of tactical equipment this fellow obtained in less than 60 days??  Who the hell let the shooter into the emergency exit door by the theater screen? His handler, perhaps?

GUNS aren't out of control, our GOVERNMENT and the POLITICIANS are what's outta control!!  The only guns that are "out of control" are the firearms that the ATF deliberately walked into the hands of Mexican drug cartels (Google "Fast amp; Furious" and "Operation Gunwalker" or visit: waronguns.blogspot.com)

Aksa8
Aksa8

"...So you're suggesting..."; Where did that come from? If these contentious and intractable issues could've been resolved with simplistic notions such as "disarming", "banning", "regulating" then, surely, someone would've done the needful by now. Observing is not 'suggesting'.

 It stands to reason that when the press writes about firearms being 'out of control', they're referring to the users and regulators as well as governance and policy issues that lead to misuse and tragedy. An assault rifle doesn't, obviously, get loaded, cocked and blast away on it's own volition, except in animated movies.  

Stop
Stop

So if Holmes had chosen Time magazines offices instead of the theater, you guys would be calling for Obama to not miss political ops, right?

You guys are as bad as Breitbart and ABCnews playing vultures over this story. The MSM sucks.

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

 That's why I call them the "lamestream media", not MSM.  I get my news online; better to visit Infowars.com than Time, I'm just here to drop some truth bombs and fire some 'patriot missals'.

Minuteman Patriot
Minuteman Patriot

 ...Which is why I find the timing of this massacre so suspect... I do not believe in coincidences.  The suspect was awarded an NIH grant for neuroscience research, the same exact kind of applications as "MK Ultra", which the CIA said they stopped working on (but didn't) - and now this fellow shows up in court all dopey and 'not all there'??  Sorry!  This killing has 'False Flag" and 'Engineered Event' written all over it!  The fellow at the front of the theater who got up amp; opened the door at the front to let in the shooter - was that his Federal handler??

Billy_jean
Billy_jean

Hey Alex you wana-be slave, up yours.

MOLON LABE