‘we must seek agreement on gun reforms’

Arizona Daily Star, March 13, 2011 – By Barack Obama

Time: It’s been more than two months since the tragedy in Tucson stunned the nation. It was a moment when we came together as one people to mourn and to pray for those we lost. And in the attack’s turbulent wake, Americans by and large rightly refrained from finger-pointing, assigning blame or playing politics with other people’s pain.

But one clear and terrible fact remains. A man our Army rejected as unfit for service; a man one of our colleges deemed too unstable for studies; a man apparently bent on violence, was able to walk into a store and buy a gun.

He used it to murder six people and wound 13 others. And if not for the heroism of bystanders and a brilliant surgical team, it would have been far worse.

But since that day, we have lost perhaps another 2,000 members of our American family to gun violence. Thousands more have been wounded. We lose the same number of young people to guns every day and a half as we did at Columbine, and every four days as we did at Virginia Tech.

Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it.

…I know that every time we try to talk about guns, it can reinforce stark divides. People shout at one another, which makes it impossible to listen. We mire ourselves in stalemate, which makes it impossible to get to where we need to go as a country.

….our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.

….Clearly, there’s more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.

I know some aren’t interested in participating. Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody’s guns. And such hyperbole will become the fodder for overheated fundraising letters.

But I have more faith in the American people than that. Most gun-control advocates know that most gun owners are responsible citizens. Most gun owners know that the word “commonsense” isn’t a code word for “confiscation.” And none of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television.

As long as those whose lives are shattered by gun violence don’t get to look away and move on, neither can we.

We owe the victims of the tragedy in Tucson and the countless unheralded tragedies each year nothing less than our best efforts – to seek consensus, to prevent future bloodshed, to forge a nation worthy of our children’s futures.

Full article here

9 Responses to “‘we must seek agreement on gun reforms’”

  1. 1 Hachikō
    March 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    God, guns, and teh gays. We never seem to be able to rise above the hate, violence, xenophobia, and oppression via religion. This country has so much potential, and unless we can allow ourselves to be guided by our better angels instead of our worst demons, we’ll never realize that potential.

    The President is setting an example for us to follow, if only we’d follow…

  2. 3 Sue in Minnesota
    March 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    How can one argue against this? Sensible, responsible, balanced approach…excellent editorial.

  3. 4 Tulips
    March 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    This will the Monday morning talk.

  4. 5 DoNoHarm
    March 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Get this: Gov. Walker, R-WI, on 1/03/2011, 8:01 a.m., sent a memo, one of many, to the legislature that would allow guns on school property. I don’t know yet what they’re doing with it. The only way something will get done is if a senator’s grandchild is shot, make that a repub sen. No, I don’t wish it but during Bush’s admin. a repub senator was aghast at his mother having to dish out so much for her Rx; along came Bush’s Rx bill.

    Also, from truthout: “The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) sent a notice to the Wisconsin Legislature, explaining that its attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers is illegal.” I’m still verifying the story but at least there’s a chance and truthout is good. We’re still supporting the recall. truth-out.org

    The rally in Madison was wonderful. We couldn’t get anywhere near the Capital Bldg. but first time I saw a real tractor, a lot of tractors with fun drivers. Very muddy and that was okay. Lots of police. We were told if anyone tried funny stuff to get to the nearest police–don’t handle it yourself. Well organized. Stewart & Colbert rally was different, wonderful too, but different. That’s okay. 9 hrs. to Chicago and 4 hrs. to get to Madison. But it was energizing. Repubs were there too in support of public unions. They felt Walker overstepped his authority–they do not want him recalled. President Obama said, “Yes, We Can.” Tuesday we’re having our little MoveOn rally in this town. If 10 people show up it’ll be a nice surprise, tho we did have over 300 in our capital end of Feb. Chipsticks, and all you posters, thought of all of you. One other point, during their speeches, they made a point of bringing up the POTUS not coming to WI and all agreed too much attention would be paid to him rather than their cause. Lots of applause, shouting and chanting. It was so good. I don’t mean to be so long. Thanks.

    • 6 Sue in Minnesota
      March 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      DoNoHarm…thanks for the update. I applaud you for getting involved.

      Just watching the collection of videos, reading about the event, and the movement to move money from the M&I Banking system was inspiring and exciting. My time is currently not my own, if it was I would have driven from Minneapolis to participate in what I feel is an urgent and important movement. So again I applaud your participation and thank you for “taking it to the streets.”

  5. 7 Dorothy Rissman
    March 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I say bravo. Thank you PBO for writing this moving and sensible letter. And who was it that said Obama did not have the guts to do with gun control. I hope lawrence and ed catch wind of this. Of course it will not make a difference because it is too little and too late. We know the routine.

    Thanks for this Chipsticks. It cheered me up–as well talk at the gridiron club.

    • 8 Sue in Minnesota
      March 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      All our cable pundits suscribe to hurry up and do it yesterday. The exist in a warped and alternate reality. I don’t have the patience for their lack of perspective or scope.

  6. 9 EDP4BHO
    March 14, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Absolutely nothing there to argue with . “NOTHING, ya hear rethugs?”

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