It was frighteningly familiar: people going about their business during a typical week day when suddenly gunfire erupts, killing and wounding innocent civilians.
This time it happened at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. Fourteen people are dead, numerous others wounded and two suspects – a young Muslim couple – were shot and killed by police. Terrorism has not been ruled out. Neither has the possibility that the male suspect was a disgruntled employee.
Once again, President Barack Obama appeared on television to offer condolences and press for stricter gun laws. Obama also pointed out that these incidents are unique to America. “We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”
On Guns, We’re Not Even Trying
Nicolas Kristof – The New York Times
Astonishingly, it’s perfectly legal even for people on the terrorism watch list to buy guns in the United States.
More than 2,000 terrorism suspects did indeed purchase guns in the United States between 2004 and 2014, according to the Government Accountability Office and The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Democrats have repeatedly proposed closing that loophole, but the National Rifle Association and its Republican allies have blocked those efforts, so it’s still legal….
Ronald Reagan, hailed by Republicans in every other context, favored gun regulations, including mandatory waiting periods for purchases. “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns,” Reagan wrote in a New York Times op-ed in 1991 backing gun restrictions. “This level of violence must be stopped.”
Obama’s statement on San Bernardino:
Mass Shootings and Gun Control
John R. Lott Jr. – The National Review
The American background-check system is supposed to prevent the purchase of a gun by anyone who has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors. The Feinstein amendment would also ban the sale of guns to anyone who is on the terrorist watch list. Now, being on the watch list sure sounds bad, but it doesn’t mean that a person has been convicted of anything…. You can be on it simply because the FBI wants to interview you about someone you might know….
As of 2014, about 50,000 people were on the no-fly list. This is a ten-fold increase since Obama became president. Between February 2004 and December 2014, over 2,000 people on the watch list bought one or more guns. The government has not identified a single one of these people as using a gun in a crime….
Putting people on a list and prohibiting them from legally purchasing guns doesn’t really stop them from getting weapons. The fact that people are prohibited from buying certain drugs doesn’t mean people can’t get them. It’s the same with guns.
Obama’s Resigned Anger After San Bernardino
David A. Graham – The National Journal
Obama conveys a sense of despair. He is a man who has pushed hard for stricter gun laws. Despite overwhelming public support for some of the measures he has proposed, he has achieved nothing legislatively…
The reasons for those failures are complicated, ranging from his own broken trust with conservatives to the political power of the National Rifle Association….
“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,” he said after Umpqua. “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.”
Obama has kept his promise to keep saying so. Two months later, there’s no reason for the public to think he’s any closer to having a Congress willing to work with him, no reason to believe that will change, and no reason to believe Obama has any hope it will change.
There’s Been a Shooting … Again
Brooke Baldwin – CNN
I know it’s my job as a journalist. But in situations like these, I’m getting sick of speaking the words “active shooter situation.” …Often I’m already on air and unaware of what’s brewing behind the scenes. Blissfully ignorant. Full steam ahead on a two-hour show my team and I spent the day preparing. That is until CNN confirms the reports and then I hear that dreaded voice in my ear.That voice is almost always that of my trusted executive producer Eric Hall. He’s already anticipated my reaction to what he’s about to tell me. He knows — better than anyone — how sick of these stories I’ve gotten. But he has to do his job. And so do I. So, in a calm, strong voice, Eric tells me some version of this: “Brooke, there’s been a shooting…”I’ll never forget coming home after covering Sandy Hook. Seeing the faces of family members. The firefighters who could never unsee the unthinkable. Those tiny caskets. I came home, sat in my dark apartment because I didn’t even bother to turn the lights on, and wept.