In the wake of the murder of 9 people at historic Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, President Obama gave a statement to the press. In situations such as this, that is appropriate. But Mr. Obama should have controlled himself and left the gun control issue unspoken. Now is not the time, and it served no purpose.
If one is going to speak, one should also be correct – and the President was not.
First, the President talked about illegally obtained guns. Reports are that this young man used a gun legally purchased by his mother or a gun legally purchased by his father and given to him as a gift.
Second, Mr. Obama said the US must acknowledge this type of mass violence does not occur in other “advanced countries”. Apparently, his memory is very short. What about the shooting at a French magazine’s offices** or the massacre in Norway that killed a number of children?
Besides the mistakes, the idea that greater gun control will stop mass killings is a fantasy. If guns were totally outlawed, those who want to do harm could use explosive devices. Instructions are readily available on the Internet, and it is easier to purchase the supplies than to purchase a gun. (e.g. Oklahoma City Federal Building)
We need to address the societal conditions that lead to people feeling they must kill. We need to better address mental health problems. We need to teach ethical behavior to our children, not situational ethics (which teaches that an action can be wrong in one situation, but not in others).
My prayers go up to heaven for the survivors and the families of the victims in Charleston. They need our love and encouragement right now. Arguments over gun control will just cause strife and stress that will bring more pain. Mr. Obama, please stop worrying about your agenda for a just few minutes.
* Mr. Obama’s use of “advanced countries” is insulting. So-called “third world” or “developing” countries have many “advanced” citizens, intelligent people with great ideas for their nations. What is missing in these countries is the science and technology infrastructure to bring these ideas to fruition.
** The shooting in Paris was clearly Islamic extremist terrorism, but the evil/crime was committed with guns.