The Obamas marked the one-year anniversary of the Newtown shootings Saturday with an odd little ceremony in which the two of them dressed up in dark outfits, entered the White House Map Room at exactly 9:29 – about the moment the shootings began – lit some candles, bowed their heads and then . . . left.
Honestly, this seemed a little thrown together. Have a look.
Better planned was President Obama’s weekly address, in which he used the tragedy to promote gun control and lecture Americans, declaring, “we must change.”
From the very beginning, our efforts were led by the parents of Newtown . . . their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities.
Really? What does this mean, exactly? Did this barbaric murder happen because we’re not good enough parents and neighbors? Why are we all responsible for one deluded, sick individual?
We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.
Obama is not going to get any major new gun control legislation out of this Congress. Why not just just use the anniversary of Newtown to promote healing instead of lecturing and pressing an agenda?
Can’t our president unite us and salute the brave people of Newtown instead of hectoring us to do better when the only one who did anything wrong is currently rotting in Hell?
In a world where the gun control campaign was not heavily laced with politics, liberal vendettas against “gun-clingers,” and self-realization through sanctimony, a true effort to control gun violence would be include a major initiative to curtail kids’ access to violent video games and movies.
In a Wall Street Journal piece Thursday, Campbell Brown, whom I knew slightly when she was an NBC White House reporter, made herself one of the few members of the elite journalism establishment to raise the issue of media violence in a serious way, suggesting Obama is uniquely positioned to address the matter because of the money he gets from the entertainment industry.
The president’s campaign against gun violence has produced a stale debate marked by lots of speeches with little achieved. A more creative chief executive would have used this moment to widen the discussion by drawing attention to the increasingly graphic violence so pervasive in television shows, movies and videogames . . .
Almost a third of the $1 million-plus donors to the president’s Super PAC were entertainment and media heavyweights including producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg . . .
Campbell doesn’t quite say it – she notes only that it would take “bravery” for him to confront his supporters – but I will. The obvious reason he doesn’t is because he gets so much money from them. If the entertainment industry were Republican, I guarantee you Obama would shaming Hollywood’s moguls and Vice President Biden would be in full fulmination mode demanding to know why they are trying to poison our youth.
Campbell notes that Biden, Obama’s gun control point man, “paid lip service” to media violence by throwing a $10 million fig leaf at it for “research” by the Centers for Disease Control.
But more research is hardly needed:
Dr. Victor Strasberger, the leading researcher on media violence for the American Academy of Pediatrics, could tell the CDC and the president what to expect: “All our studies show portraying violence is extremely dangerous,” Dr. Strasberger recently told me. “Kids become desensitized, numb to suffering around them and aggressive.”
He also says that when you add in other factors like poverty, abuse or mental illness, “you have a perfect storm. This can and does lead to violence.”
And the research only supplements common sense, though I realize asking for common sense in a political debate is asking a lot.
Now, you may already be aware that “PG-13″ has become a tool used by the movie industry to get kids into what are effectively R-rated movies. But most of you grew up after video games started assaulting the sensibilities of our youth and may not fully understand – or may not want to understand – what’s going on.
If you’re a parent, you may be willfully ignorant of what your kid is doing on his iPhone or iPad, because never perhaps in the entire history of mankind has something been invented that is so effective at getting kids out of their parents’ hair than video games.
And if you’re a grandparent, you may know little about the game Johnny is playing when he barely looks up at you to say “hi” after you’ve traveled halfway across the country to see him.
Let me help.
I recently noticed a ten-year old child using what at a cursory glance looked like a cute video game called “Smash Dude.” He told me all the kids at school were playing it and they loved it.
Then I took a closer look.
I found for you a YouTube video that shows the game being played. It’s advertised in the iTunes store as a way to “add some laughs to your day.” Here, have a laugh.
Well, what could possibly go wrong with your kid after performing simulated torture 500 times?
Now, according to the iTunes applications ratings, this game “May not be suitable for children under the age of 12.” I suppose that implies that it also might be suitable. The game has been downloaded more than 3 million times.
This game, of course, is the tip of an iTunes iCeberg that includes far more graphic stuff.
Now, a riddle for you. What did our three most famous recent mass murderers, Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Jared Lee Loughner, all have in common?
Like half of all Americans, they had access to a gun. But like a very small but growing percentage of the population, they were young people who played endless, obsessive hours of violent video games.
Mr. President, until you get serious about this, spare us the White House sob story events with kids and the mothers of shooting victims. Or at least, give us one where your Hollywood and Silicon Chip Valley donors are also on hand to try to explain themselves.
The National Rifle Association emerged from a meeting today with Vice President Biden convinced that the Obama administration has nothing in mind other than restricting access to firearms.
Biden leads the White House task force on guns.
In a blistering statement, the NRA accused the White House of bad faith and declared itself ready to flex its significant lobbying muscle to thwart President Obama’s intentions.
We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.
We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.
We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.
No doubt, the meeting was little more than window dressing, since Biden said before the session he plans to deliver his recommendations to Obama Tuesday. It’s just not credible that he is making serious revisions to his plans at this late date.
Biden suggested that among the recommendations will be universal background checks and limiting the availability of high-capacity magazines.
And while he said he wants the federal government to conduct more research into gun violence, Biden made clear that the administration’s actions would require little in the way of hard evidence that they would reduce killings.
“I’m not sure we can guarantee this will never happen again, but as the president said even if we can only save one life it would make sense,” said Biden, who added that the goal would be “to not solve every problem but diminish the probability” of mass shootings.
Society does not make rules based on the prospect of saving a single life. When it does, please turn your automobile in to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
A petition on the White House website calling for NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory to be arrested for illegal possession of gun ammo is gaining signatures at lightening speed, reaching nearly 10,000 names as of Thursday morning.
It was just last Sunday that Gregory displayed on the air what appeared to be a 30-round magazine in an effort to add some drama to his cross examination of National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre.
According to Politico, the Washington DC police told NBC not to show the high-capacity magazine on the program and are now investigating Gregory for doing so.
The petition states:
Press charges against David Gregory for possession of a 30-round, high capacity assault rifle magazine in Washington D.C
David Gregory is not above the law; he is a journalist, and must be held accountable to the same law as every other person.
DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines – D.C. Official Code 7-2506.01
(b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term large capacity ammunition feeding device means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
We The People demand that he be formally charged for violation of this law on “Meet The Press.”
The petition was created just four days ago, on December 23. It is already 40 percent of the way to the 25,000 signatures required in 30 days to elicit a formal response from the White House.
President Obama today justified his failure to address gun control earlier in his administration by saying he was busy with other issues.
“I’ve been president of the United States,” Obama said defensively in response to a question by ABC’s Jake Tapper, who had asked, “Where were you?” The president asserted he had to deal with priorities like the economy and health care. “I don’t think I’ve been on vacation,” he said
Obama spoke at a White House briefing room press conference staged after he had announced a new task force led by Vice President Biden that will come up with recommendations by January for for addressing the massacre last week in Newtown, Connecticut.
Obama seemed to acknowledge that he might have erred in waiting so long.
“I think all of us have to do some reflection on how we prioritize what we do here in Washington,” he said.
In announcing his new task force, Obama mentioned the need to look at access to mental health services and to address a culture that “glorifies” guns and violence. But he made clear that the panel’s focus will be on gun control, asserting that most Americans support curbs on “assault weapons,” background checks for private gun sales, and restrictions on high capacity ammunition clips.
Obama said that he would move promptly once he gets the recommendations next month, and that he expects Congress to act “in a timely manner” this year to pass new legislation.
The president did not mention any executive orders or other unilateral actions he might take, but he did raise the specter of such things, saying, “I will use all the powers of this office” to curb gun violence.
Obama also sought to reassure Americans that he does not want to ban guns. “I believe that the second amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms,” he said.
First of all, it proves that Soledad O’Brien is – gosh, I don’t want to call her stupid – let’s just say that she may have been deprived at birth of several IQ points she might have found useful. She doesn’t seem to even be processing any of the points made by her guest, John Lott, a leading pro-gun rights expert. She doesn’t have to agree, but one would expect a CNN anchor to at least be able to grasp reasoned arguments.
Secondly, CNN, starting with Anderson Cooper and extending to other champion emoters like Don Lemon, Soledad and probably others – I don’t watch it that often – has abandoned any pretense of conducting serious journalism in favor the much more entertaining news strategy of having reporters brim with feelings, generally of the politically liberal sort.
Notice how upset poor Soledad seems to be. Standing out in the cold, she literally appears to be breathing fire through her nostrils.
And finally, if even CNN is going this route on guns, then there will be no rational debate about gun control. The debate will be about whether you love children, or not. And guess which side of the gun debate will be classified under “not”?
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