Following the news of the Connecticut shootings Friday morning, President Obama spoke at a press conference addressing the horrific deaths of 20 school children and six others at the hands of a lone gunman.
During the press conference, Obama spoke about taking preemptive action against these crimes: “As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theatre in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we are going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
Earlier Friday, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke at a press briefing and suggested that today is not the day to debate about gun control
“There is, I am sure — will be, rather — a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day,” Carney said during the briefing. Both he and Obama are in support of gun control measures, such as renewing a ban on assault weapons.
Today, in the wake of one of the more horrific shootings during Obama’s presidency, is of course a day for mourning, for volunteering, and for uplifting those personally affected by the tragedy. Yet, today is a day that illustrates that people — common, everyday American citiznes — are capable of the most sickening acts. Today is a day that illustrates how guns, in the hands of unstable individuals, can result tragedies of unfathomable magnitude.
Twenty school children were murdered today at the hands of a gunman. If this is not the day to speak about how guns can tear families apart — parents apart from their young children — then when?
Gun rights advocates will argue that it was the person, and not the gun, that killed those children. Yet, it both — it was a gun, in the hands of one unstable person, who then had the power to murder en masse.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has particularly advocated for reforming the gun industry and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence. Today, their Facebook page has been posting updates about the incident and describes on their cover photo a growing American sentiment in the wake of these shootings: “We are better than a nation with 32 gun murders every day. We know we are better than this.”
In addition, prominent activist figures are also calling out for the “meaningful action” Obama advocated for in his speech. Michael Moore, the activist filmmaker, tweeted just after the incident, “Only minutes away from pundits & politicians say, ‘This isn't the time to talk about gun control.’ Really? When is that moment?” He followed up later with additional tweets, and one reads, “The way to honor these dead children is to demand strict gun control, free mental health care, and an end to violence as public policy.”
Today is a day for mourning, yes, but it also the day to demand action for all victims of gun violence, past, present, and future.