Outside the White House, Gun-Control Activists Make a Subdued Call to Action

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Zhang Jun / Xinhua / ZUMA

Supporters of gun-control legislation hold candles during a rally in front of the White House to pay respect for the victims of a deadly shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012

As twilight descended on Washington on Friday afternoon, about 50 gun-control activists clustered on the pavement outside the White House for a candlelight vigil to urge action from the President after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school left 27 dead, including the gunman.

There will be an appropriate time for chewing over national gun policy, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters earlier Friday, “but I don’t think today is that day.” The activists disagreed. Many toted placards reading “#todayIStheday.” Another hand-scrawled sign bore a fatalistic warning: “Today: Sandy Hook. Tomorrow: ?”

The vigil had a slapdash feel; it was assembled on the fly earlier Friday by a coalition of anti-gun advocates already in Washington for meetings. Preachers, professional activists and sympathetic passers-by offered prayers for the President, testified to how gun violence had impacted their lives or simply joined in chants of “We Shall Overcome.”

Many praised the tone of President Obama’s tearful call for “meaningful action” earlier Friday, during brief remarks delivered in the White House briefing room named for a shooting victim. But they said the sentiments alone were insufficient. “It’s not enough, Mr. President,” said Toby Hoover, the executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. “It’s just not enough.” Leroy Duncan, an activist from Minnesota, spoke movingly of the 86 Americans who die of gun violence each day. “These people need heroes,” he said. “President Obama, you can be that hero.”

It just wasn’t clear how. Amid the recent spate of mass shootings that have wracked the U.S., even many lawmakers who believe in gun control have been glum about the prospects of imposing the most modest curbs on guns. For all their rallying cries, most of the activists were vague when it came to policy prescriptions. Some echoed Carney’s statement that the day of a massacre wasn’t the right time to delve into details. Others who named specific ideas — from better mental health care to restrictions on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines — said they had little faith that a Congress that has seemingly bowed to the force of the gun-rights lobby would find the courage to act now. “I have no confidence that anything is going to be done,” says Jerald Lentini, a writer and lawyer from Silver Spring, Md. “It’s a matter of political will, and I really don’t see it.”

Gun-rights activists recoil at the practice of harnessing tragedy to promote a political agenda. To many of their opponents, there is no better moment to combat the gun violence than when the wounds are still fresh from the senseless deaths Friday morning of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the rampage that also killed six adults and ended with the death of the 20-year-old gunman.

“Nothing is more powerful than a classroom of kindergarten kids getting killed by assault weapons,” says Bob Edgar, a preacher and former Democratic Congressman who is now the president and CEO of the liberal advocacy group Common Cause. Or, as a government employee who wandered over to the vigil from work put it: “It helps that it was a bunch of white children in a school.”

As the activists chanted, a few dozen members of the crowd raised flickering candles in the gathering darkness. Some brushed away tears, their lips quivering. Christmas lights festooning the tree under the White House’s front portico twinkled. Over the White House, the flag flew at half-mast. After the last speaker finished, before heading home, the protesters heeded the instructions of a pastor and hugged the person next to them.

245 comments
SunLite
SunLite

THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT WANTS TO DISARM ITS CITIZENS ITS THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT GRANTED THE MILITARY THE RIGHT TO IMPRISON ANY CIVILIAN AND EXECUTE THEM WITHOUT TRIAL WITH NDAA

MohamedAlHashimi
MohamedAlHashimi

How bloody American people are? Bombing in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan also more Syria and other .. In the end, American people are killing themselves.  

sammcnoon
sammcnoon

Teachers and other personels should get training how to shoot guns and they should have concealed handguns to protect students.

Barb128
Barb128

That should have read w should NOT pointing our fingers at those with mental illness.

Barb128
Barb128

CerebralSmartie

How do you think we can  change our culture when  kids, older than these, effect the death of another through simply words in school, bulling those that they are able to bully and  social media.  I totally agree with the banning or automatic and semi automatic weapons.

I will tell you this and that is that we will never agree on God in school or let us say this  a higher authority, I have a different past than you and it has allowed me to come to these convictions.  

These things did not happen in the 60s - would you like to come up with a solution to change our culture?

Banning violence in all its forms?  Stop debasing females/males?  Remove all the violent games the even young kids play?  Remove violence in any form such as in movies, etc.

Those are just a few items that come to mind.  And I may be wrong here but I do not believe that is a democratic way of life.

We should be pointing  our fingers to those that have mental health issues - these act  are acts of anger, a loss of contact with reality!

The children of Sandy Hook have lost their innocence - how very sad that is!!!!

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

Change Gun Laws but also change our culture. Prevent Loners. Parents- this is a teaching moment. Teach your kids: Help kids who lack friends. Do not shun them.Include them.

Disinterested
Disinterested

Place a gun on a table and leave it there, loaded.  Come back 50 years later.  If the gun got up and killed someone, ban them.  If its still exactly where placed, then ban deranged cowards instead.  Ask Mexico about their gun and ammunition ban.

JadelynCooper
JadelynCooper

This certainly is tragic, but anyone who's saying that firearms should be banned are fooling themselves. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. By outlawing guns, you are removing the second amendment given to us by our founding fathers who saw that it was our right to protect ourselves. If you outlaw guns, people will still continue to kill using any weapon they can find, baseball bats, knives, fists, etc. If you want to outlaw guns because of killings, you might as well ban all physical contact, as anything can be used to take another's life. Also by doing that, you would encourage more criminals to obtain a firearm, as they see that committing crimes gives them an adrenaline rush. In truth, I believe that disciplinary action should be strengthened and made much stricter. Children commit murder and are only in a juvenile detention center for a short time, when everyone knows that they are certainly old enough to know that their action is morbidly wrong. Homeless people carry out crime and know that they will be treated to a warm bed, a meal, and a roof over their head. Guns are used by most people for recreation and protection, so, people who want to outlaw guns, you are basing the "evil" of a gun (which is not at all possible as it is the fault of the mind behind the trigger) on the small percentage of people who use them for bad? I believe you should rethink society.

getdips
getdips

Why can't we give weapons like electric shock throwers for personal safety!! Have different grade of such weapons . Abolish bullet based weapons all together!!

dcooper0011
dcooper0011

We will put gun control on the table IF the left will pursue and prosecute blatant acts of corruption. Our right to bear arms was not so that we could go duck hunting. It was given to us to keep government in control. 1 example of blatant corruption:We were given the freedom of information act. Richard Fine and Dr Shirley Moore discovered that the L.A. Superior Judges were taking bribes. After Sturgeon vs. Los Angeles County declared those payment's UNCONSTITUTIONAL they paid a lobbyist to pass SBX211 (Retro Active Immunity from Prosecution) When Government and Corporations are held to the same standards of the LAW then we will put gun control on the table. But No more taking the money from the people and giving it to banks. Government must be held accountable to the laws with NO Retro Active immunity From Prosecution.

Barb128
Barb128

@danaviv 

I did not say that religious people do not kill in fact they often do.  However, I believe I am much older than you and I can honestly over time has is without a doubt for us/me when all these heinous acts seem to be occurring - especially this year .  It not going to get any better, unfortunately

I am no gun nut by any means having said that when, I went to grade school we always started the class day with the reading of the old testament so that no  one would be offended and a silent prayer.  I did not attend a religious school but rather a public one.  

That taught each and everyone of us that there is a HIGHER POWER than humans and to strive to be a better person.  But then came M. O'Hara and none if us ever thought  the Supreme Court would rule in her favor so the silent majority did not speak up.  I believe this nation is paying for that ruling as well as all violence this generation has been and continues to be exposed to.

Nuzum1469
Nuzum1469

little fun article for everyone...not saying arm everyone..but knowing there's possibly a gun someone can fight back with is always a deterrent to criminals....notice there's a town that passed a gun ban and crime went up...banning guns will do nothing but cause criminals to have guns where law abiding citizens do not....they will find away around all the laws we pass no matter what...i mean if it was that easy why dont we make drugs illegal....oh wait.....

http://www.wnd.com/2007/04/41196/

handfree
handfree

drunk drivers kill more people then knives guns or most any thing else in this country , but no one wants to go up against big beer alcohol companies they just want to condemn smokers and take there gun >when the last time someone got drunk from smoking and ran over a person 

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

Sandy Hook is a terrible tragedy, but the relentless pursuit of gun control by the media is simply pandering to the magnitude of the moment. 

And yes guns contribute to a lot of problems in the United States but they really are very important and mainly for reasons other than you think.

Yes guns are for hunting and personal defense and target practice, but they are also a commitment that in the United States we are not simply the subjects of our Government, our Betters, our police or those who would control us for their own ends.

The removal of firearms from citizens will remove one more barrier between those who would exploit us and the people of the United States.

If we the people have no power at all, Government and Corporate corruption and tyranny will almost certainly result in our eventual subjugation.

So yes, guns are for those other things you seem to think are our justification, but without them it is very likely we will lose what is truly most important, Our Freedom.

Given Banks and bailouts and foreclosures and payoffs and lobbies and videos of clearly unjustifiable police beatings do you really trust them that much? 

You are betting all our lives and our futures on it.

ArxFerrum
ArxFerrum

While many anti-gunners are genuine and simply wish for a better world, they are still quite naive. You could outlaw guns, knives and cast iron skillets and you're still ignoring the reason people do these things. It is, of course, easier to take this route and there is a sector of the anti-gunners who would prefer to disarm the entire nation. But... politics aside, we need to cease the easy fixes that are useless, if not hurtful gun laws and spends some time and money (gasp!) on recognizing the causes of tragedies like this. 

handfree
handfree

gun control is making sure you make every shot count DON'T blame a gun for a persons stupidity .I guess we will quit selling matches to make sure no one can lite a forest fire ..listen to how stupid you sound talking gun control ...in the years to come america will come under attack from a  country and everyone will fight for there freedom and every man women and child will take a stand against them and the government will struggle to succeed ,but with are help we will survive and have freedom once again ..so those who think gun control is great the borders are open and you can leave anytime and we want miss you .and if you think this story of war is crazy ,then lets resurrect  Washington and ask him  what he would do ....

Barb128
Barb128

I have already posted in another forum from Times.  Everyone is blaming guns but a gun is simply a piece of metal, it is an inanimate object that cannot think, nor move on its own and has no ability to comprehend

Barb1287.

It is rather the human that has the gun that does these inhumane things., not the gun in or of or itself.

I do not think America is getting what it wants but rather by this country's decision to take God out of school this is what we have gotten.!

g

Obbop
Obbop

@MohamedAlHashimi  

Please realize that the USA is a class-based society with a small minority at the top of the socio-economic hierarchy  well-served bt their federal government, corporate systems and other entities.

As with all social systems from governments to religions to even a tribe or village indoctrination occurs.


The USA has a HUGE propaganda/indoctrination system that all are immersed in for life. The USA elites use these systems to their own advantage and the majority of USA residents believe that as things are is correct and proper.


Please, also realize that, in general, as with ALL countries and other ways humans gather together, the USA via its leaders and elite-class owners and their brainwashed multitude of subjects/peons/serfs, DOES make mistakes in interacting with others BUT... there have also been many instances of the USA trying to help others.


Famine? The USA sends food. Disease? The USA (and other countries) have devoted time and money to create cures and preventive medications and have often disbursed those for free.

If the USA was truly evil it could have actually ruled the world at the end of World War 2 but, instead, the USA freely offered HUGE sums of money and materiel to assist other countries... even the countries they savagely fought during that war!!!!

Please try to cast off some of the indoctrination you have been immersed within and try to view reality. That plea is true for ALL people everywhere!!!!

Elites in every human grouping do what they feel is needed to maintain their lofty positions and it is usually done at the expense of the masses of common folks.

And such is reality for a species that is a "pack animal."

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@Disinterested Place some gold on the table near a window and leave it there, shiny and glistening with  a spotlight on it and an unlocked doors in  a vacant building in a seedy area of town. Come back 2 days later. See if the gold got up and paid itself to the heroin seller, so that the heroin addict could get a quick fix.

SomewhereOverTheRainbow
SomewhereOverTheRainbow

I agree putting guns in the equation comparable to a drunk driver who kills another with his car and saying the car is the problem.

This is a mental health issue

Better intervention, early indetification and intervention to the school age children,,update the commitment laws, demand more accountability from the psyciatrists, better supports for families so they dont just give up and kick these untreated individuals to the curb is a good place to start.  

dancollins10
dancollins10

@JadelynCooper

Try killing 28 people with your fists lol, Goodluck. Killing a large amount of people like this is only possible with a Gun.

Just look at the US deaths related to Guns in comparison to other Western countries... Pretty obvious that allowing everyone in the country to have a gun doesn't work.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

@JadelynCooper Nobody is talking about banning firearms. We're talking about keeping them away from loonies. 

ShaneGraeser
ShaneGraeser

@getdips The problem a lot of law enforcement agencies have found is that these less-than-lethal weapons tend to get utilized far more often than they should.  Cases of premature deployment plague all less-than-lethal systems.

Further, when it comes to personal defense, those systems are only so effective.  "Tazers" only work in direct physical contact or with the use of projected barbs that must successfully strike the target.  They also have a limit to the amount of time they can be used to subdue a person.  They are designed to be followed up by physical restraints - not to be the one-stop shop to neutralizing a threat.

I mean... they're awesome while they work.  But they also have built-in limitations in them to keep from becoming a lethal weapon.  But if you miss - there are no reloads.  If you are sitting there with an attacker writhing on the floor and going... "now what" - you're about to void your bowels when he gets back up and pulls those barbs out.

On the other hand, it'd be absolutely hilarious to read about people literally shocking the piss out of each other on city buses or someone's in-laws filing a suit after being tazed off a balcony at the wedding reception.  Then a few people are going to be sent into fibrillation and die... and that will ruin everyone's fun.

danaviv
danaviv

@dcooper0011 Corruption is a disease across both spectrum of American political ideologies. The right is not immune either to corruption, and this is quite irrelevant to the tragedy of gun violence.

danaviv
danaviv

@Barb128 @danaviv  The majority of American agree on the separation of church and State. If you wish for kids to be reading the old testament before classes, then send them to parochial schools. Not anything to do with higher power, but just irresponsibility among some adults. 

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@GaryRMcCray I hope you find some peace. You sound like someone who feels a little worried, maybe a little paranoid even. You sound so troubled when you write this:

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

It's not the gun, per-se, but the kind of gun (and the easy availability of them).  It's not the 3-shot shotguns that I worry about, it's the banana-clip assault style guns that can shred a classroom before anyone can say "boo" that are at issue.  If you feel the need to own a gun, then fine...get one.   But I think that there should be a serious rethink about the kind of weapons that civilians are allowed to own.  The bright-line for me is that if your gun can fire-off more than 6 rounds without reloading, then you have no business owning it.  For Gods's sake, some of the kids in that school had over 10 bullett wounds.  You cannot tell me that it's just as sporting to shoot targets, or beer cans, or whatever with a 6-shot clip as it is with a 30 shot clip.  The only reason for a larger capacity was clearly demonstrated on Friday.  And for home protection, I would argue that a 12ga shotgun is the very most effective weapon.  Point in the general direction and let 'er rip.  If you miss, the perp ain't sticking around for the next shot.

We need some sane discussion here.  The constitution gives a bunch of "rights", but the "shoulds" are up to us.  Should we limit the ability for mass-shootings like this?  Damn right.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@handfree Let's peacefully  bow our heads and think of the tragedy that just occurred and think of how it could be prevented.  Let's see this as an unthinkable tragedy and let's examine how perfectly rational it is to make sure that the irrational people have limited access to guns. Let's reflect upon making changes in our gun laws.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

People will always find a way to kill others...simple as that.  However, how many of these people would have survived if this monster did not have a high-capacity rifle?  If he had been using, say, a shotgun...just as horrific but probably less deadly since it shoots 3 and then you have to reload. 

I live 40 miles from Newtown, and this is just too close to home.  The time to re-enact the assault weapons ban is now.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@Barb128 Yes, there is a huge problem when our society churns out loners who feel so bad about life that they end life for the most innocent citizens. While I don't agree with your assessment about Prayer in school I do agree that we must drastically improve mental health. Whether we all believe in the same God and we all want to pray to that same God and have our kids also pray to that same God when they are in school really is not the issue at all.The issue  is that we need to prevent people from being so troubled that they become massacre shooters.This starts at home, no matter what God you believe in or even if you are an atheist. Parents much teach kids to reach out to the kids who seem friendless and to include them. Parents must make preach a message of hope and they must teach kids to bounce back when they encounter hardship.What's more, we ought to make sure that those who lack hope ought to have NO ACCESS to guns.  Barb126, I think you might direct your energies to this. I hope so.

Diecash1
Diecash1

@Barb128 Pure, unadulterated stupidity.  It seems that you share that same stupidity with Huckabee.  Pathetic.

danaviv
danaviv

@Barb128  So you think religious people don't kill people? There are already many people being killed in the same of God.

MohamedAlHashimi
MohamedAlHashimi

@Obbop @MohamedAlHashimi  In the world people know that Jewish is leading United States as this government is elected by American votes so American people understand their government goals. However, you said that United States can rule the world after the end of World War 2 so I can respond that China and Russia produced Nuclear bomb when American were busy in Europe with Hitler so American can't enter in nuclear war with Russia and China without protection from nukes. However, George.W.Bush commanded new world order in 11 September 1990 started with fall of Soviet Union but secret agents like KGB and Chinese agents defeated him by returning China and Russia strong again !

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

@CerebralSmartie @GaryRMcCray 

I'm 67 I don't have much left to be worried about, but our children, your darn right I'm worried, the way things are now we are out of control and headed for utter disaster.

And as far as gun control.

Mexico only allows little 22 rimfire rifles and 22 and 380 (very small) handguns and 12 gauge shotguns.

See how well that has worked out for them and their citizens who now live in a constant state of siege from criminals who are better armed than their corrupt army.

Thinking it would be better here is naive at best.

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

@Ohiolib @GaryRMcCray  

I don't think I'd agree with that first one, a huge number of people have in fact been killed by our government, I guess maybe if you have arbitrarily decided they are not tyrannical then it doesn't count.

Currently we send unmanned drones over other countries without their permission to wipe out who ever we deem worthy of killing and not worrying too much about innocent bystanders.

I suppose your right though they use missiles not guns so I guess it doesn't count.

An act that if it were ever perpetrated on us would result in an immediate declaration of war.

Yeah I know you meant in the US, those foreigners don't count, but in the US the Federal government is waging this swell war on drugs where people are sentenced to Draconian prison terms for using drugs where they have broken no other laws.

Maybe you like the vision of Federal Government as Parent or "Big Brother" perhaps, but tyranny at this point is a short step from whatever it is we have now.

In the end I trust my fellow citizens with their guns a lot more than I would trust our government if the citizens didn't have their guns.

ShaneGraeser
ShaneGraeser

@danaviv @Barb128 People kill each other seeking dominance.  It has no connection to religion (though religion has often been a means of power and authority in human history - thus its violent history).  Case-in-point - the rise of Stalin in Russia.

Though I honestly don't think that taking God out of school really had much to do with this.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@Disinterested @TyPollard 

Your point is a simple retelling of the argument "guns don't kill people ..."

My point is responsible gun ownership must include societal norms of "well regulated" state controlled sanity.

I have no problem with gun ownership but assault weapons are more often a toy for the immature or paranoid than it is a tool to be used responsibly.

Part of the responsibility is to lock away your firearms so no one can take and use them on a pre school.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

@GaryRMcCray @Ohiolib @CerebralSmartie Really? We're overrun by drug cartels and deep-seated corruption at all levels of government? We are one short drop away from becoming a failed nation? Massive swaths of our population lack access to basic necesities, such as food, shelter, and clean water? Methinks you know little about Mexico, or anything else, for that matter. Our problems are quite different from Mexico's. And I never said they were shining examples; I said they were much better comparisons than Mexico, which is true. 

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

@Ohiolib @GaryRMcCray @CerebralSmartie 

No, Mexico is a much better comparison, in the US, the problems we have are similar to Mexico's and our ongoing history will insure that guns will always be plentifully available to criminals even if they were removed from citizens.

Our government is also continuing to further favor Corporations versus citizens due to the corrupting power of lobbies, political contributions and the 1 percent.

In the relatively short term I believe Mexico would look better than the US.

Nonetheless, England and Japan have sufficient problems of their own even in a society largely devoid of civilian guns and to hold them as shining examples seems naive at best.