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Anorak | The gun debate becomes all about Obama’s prohibition and his co-opted kids

The gun debate becomes all about Obama’s prohibition and his co-opted kids

by | 17th, January 2013

PA 15555720 The gun debate becomes all about Obamas prohibition and his co opted kids

BARACK Obama wants to reduce gun violence in the US. (We’ve yet to hear from a US politician who wants to increase it.) He said:

“Reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge. If there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, we have an obligation to try.”

A dissenting voice tweets:

 “Obama speaks today on the anniversary of Prohibition going into effect. I bet Prohibition saved at least one child’s life.”

The NY Times sees the children:

Surrounded by children who wrote him letters seeking curbs on guns, Mr. Obama committed himself to a high-profile and politically volatile campaign behind proposals assembled by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. that will test the administration’s strength heading into the next four years. The first big push of Mr. Obama’s second term, then, will come on an issue that was not even on his to-do list on Election Day when voters renewed his lease on the presidency.

What changed to push guns to the fore of Obama’s plans? The Sandy Hook massacre, say supporters. The deficit and economy, says the opposition:

“I will put everything I’ve got into this,” Mr. Obama said, “and so will Joe.”

The emotionally charged ceremony, attended by family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., reflected a decision by the White House to seize on public outrage to challenge the political power of the National Rifle Association and other forces that have successfully fought new gun laws for decades.

Is seizing on public outrage  the best time to make sound law?

“I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it,” Mr. Obama said. “And, by the way, that doesn’t just mean from certain parts of the country. We’re going to need voices in those areas, in those Congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong, to speak up and to say this is important. It can’t just be the usual suspects.”

Jacob Sullum says:

After a mass shooting, gun controllers push the policies they’ve always supported as if they were a logical response to that particular example of senseless violence. When skeptics say it is hard to see how the proposed measures could have prevented that attack, gun controllers (if they are honest) say that’s beside the point, because the real goal is not preventing the rare mass shootings that get all the attention but curtailing more common forms of gun violence. If so, the horrible event that supposedly makes new legislation urgently necessary does not in fact strengthen the case for that legislation one iota. If the proposed policy was a good idea before the attack, it remains a good idea; if it was a bad idea, the emotionally compelling but logically irrelevant deaths of innocents do not make it suddenly sensible. 

Who are Obama’s “people”?

According to the study, about 40 percent of the American students surveyed said they definitely planned to own firearms once they had established their own households. Another 20 percent said they were “contemplating” owning guns.

The FT Reports:

…he is also setting the stage for a fight in Congress and with the powerful pro-gun lobby. The National Rifle Association, which has aggressively campaigned against Mr Obama both before and after the Sandy Hook killings, pre-empted his statement by releasing a television advertisement blasting the president as an “elitist hypocrite”.

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the narrator asks in the advert, showing a lunchbox featuring the presidential seal. “Then why is he sceptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools?”

The White House condemned the advert. “Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” said Jay Carney, Mr Obama’s press secretary. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the President’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. What about the children stood around Obama?
The Associated Press:

Three days after six teachers and 20 students were killed by a rampaging gunman at a Connecticut elementary school, an 8-year-old Maryland boy pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote President Barack Obama, asking for “some changes in the laws with guns.”

“It’s a free country but I recommend there needs (to) be a limit with guns,” Grant Fritz said in the Dec. 17 letter. “Please don’t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that.” . . .

“I am writing to ask you to STOP gun violence,” wrote Taejah Goode, a 10-year-old from Georgia. “I am very sad about the children who lost their lives. So, I thought I would write to you to STOP gun violence.”

On Wednesday, when Obama announced a package of proposals to reduce gun violence, he was joined on stage by Grant, Taejah and two other children.

Is it too much about Obama? Talking of change, has he changed?

In 1999, State Senator Barack Obama voted “present” on a bill that would require adult prosecution for discharging a gun in or near a school. That legislation came as a response to the tragic Columbine High School shooting that year.

SB 759 provided that anyone 15 years of age or older charged with aggravated battery with a weapon in school or within 1,000 feet of a school would be charged as an adult. It passed the Illinois State Senate in a 52-1 vote, with 5 members voting present — including Obama. That vote followed a trend for the young lawmaker, whose controversial votes on crime legislation often raised eyebrows.

A Chicago Tribune editorial even accused Obama of being a “gutless sheep” for missing a vote on crime legislation in late 1999.

It’s not all about the NRA:
“I will look closely at all proposals on the table, but we must use common sense and respect our Constitution,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. Tester told the Missoulian newspaper in his home state recently that he supports background checks but doesn’t think an assault weapons ban would have stopped the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman massacred 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.
Maybe the NRA and Obama have common ground? Asa Obama said:

“Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.”

The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre said in 2012:

“Guns don’t kill people. Video games, the media and Obama’s budget kill people. […] There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like BulletstormGrand Theft AutoMortal Kombat and Splatterhouse.”

So. What the eyes sees the brain acts upon? Is it abvout good mental health? The BBC:

According to the US justice department, up to 40% of gun purchases take place without a background check – those from private sellers and some at gun shows.

Closing the loophole will weed out those with criminal or psychiatric backgrounds legally barring them from gun ownership, Mr Webster said.

But background checks would not have stopped most school shootings, in which the gunmen took legally obtained weapons from parents with spotless backgrounds, says Jack Levin, a professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University in Boston.

Many gunmen have a clean criminal history – they are just having a really bad day, he says.

He says most gun deaths are classified as manslaughter, which implies a crime committed without forethought.

“In those cases, the criminal may not have a psychiatric record or a criminal history,” says Mr Levin.

“His pathology is situational. He loses his cool, loses his temper, and in the heat of the moment he takes out his knife from the kitchen drawer or gun from his trench coat and shoots.”

And if he can reach for gun that can fire many bullets quickly…

Photo: President Barack Obama, accompanied by children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., signs executive orders, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. The children and their parents from left, Hinna Zeejah, 8, and Nadia Zeejah, Hinna’s mother, Taejah Goode, 10, and Kimberly Graves, Taejah’s mother, Julia Stokes, 11, and Dr. Theophil Stokes, Julia’s father, and Grant Fritz, 8, and Elisabeth Carlin, Grant’s mother. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)



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