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Obama Insists 'We Have to Do Something' About Mass Shootings but Can't Say What or Why It Would Work

"Enough is enough" is not a policy.

White HouseWhite HouseAfter Friday's mass shooting at a shopping center in Colorado Springs, President Obama issued his usual vague call for more gun control:

This is not normal. We can't let it become normal. If we truly care about this—if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience—then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

We have to do something, the president says. But what exactly? It is not surprising that Obama did not bother to address that question, because there is no good answer to it.

According to people who knew him, Robert Dear, the man arrested for killing three people and injuring nine in last week's attack, was an eccentric, off-putting loner with anger issues. But he apparently did not have the sort of criminal or psychiatric record that would have prevented him from legally buying a gun. 

In 1997, The New York Times reports, Dear's then-wife "told the police that he had locked her out of her home and had 'hit her and pushed her out the window' when she tried to climb in." She did not pursue charges against him but "wanted something on record of this incident occurring." Five years later Dear was arrested "after a neighbor told the police that he had hidden in the bushes in an attempt to peer into her house." The charge against him was dropped. That seems to be the full extent of Dear's criminal record, which means he was never convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence.

It also looks like Dear never underwent court-ordered psychiatric treatment. NBC News reports that "there would have been nothing apparent in Dear's background—including a felony conviction or previous mental health issue—that would have disqualified him" from buying firearms. That means stronger enforcement of current restrictions on gun ownership, including the "universal background checks" that Obama supports, could not have prevented Dear's attack, as is typically the case with mass shootings.

What about imposing new restrictions on gun ownership? It is bad enough that current law disarms millions of Americans who would never have used a gun to harm anyone, including illegal drug users and people convicted of nonviolent felonies. It would be even worse to start stripping people of their Second Amendment rights based on unproven allegations of domestic violence or other antisocial behavior, let alone general creepiness. 

An even less promising approach would be to focus on the particular weapon that Dear used, which NBC describes as an "AK-47-style" rifle. Although Obama referred to "weapons of war" and various news accounts erroneously described the gun as an "assault rifle" (which by definition is capable of automatic fire), it was actually a so-called assault weapon (a term Obama also used), an arbitrary category defined by military-style features that do not make a firearm any more lethal in the hands of a mass shooter. Dear could have done the same damage with an ordinary hunting rifle. That means reinstating the federal "assault weapon" ban, which Obama also favors, would not have made a difference in this case, even if the law ordered the confiscation of all the military-style rifles already in circulation.

The Times describes Obama as increasingly exasperated by Congress's refusal to enact the gun controls he supports. Some of us are increasingly exasperated by Obama's failure to elucidate any logical connection between those measures and the crimes they supposedly would prevent.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's rote. Crisis means opportunity, and that opportunity must be seized no matter how crass the effort. And let's face it, the president knows he's right (there is no need for further analysis of the situation) and that everyone but wrong-thinkers agree with him. He can overpower that minority if he can only find the right coffins to stand on, ones that will give the sympathetic press the ammunition it needs to craft a narrative that energizes the enlightened.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    Many who disagree with the president just need more convincing. That's all.

  • Hunthjof||

    Isn't it amazing that the left who would normally call a Police Officer a brutal racist thug any other times are lionizing the deceased officer and how good a family man he was and oh he was a good pastor at his church. Of course any other time that same man would be deemed one of them evil bible thumpers.

  • sarcasmic||

    It all depends on what narrative they're pushing.

    Like on the one hand the left will say that by supporting charity at the point of a gun, that they are the only true Christians, and in the next breath they'll quote some obscure passage to prove that all Christians are dipshits. No intellectual honesty at all. It's just whatever fits whatever lie they're promoting at the time.

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    give the sympathetic press the ammunition it needs

    MORE GUNS IS NOT THE ANSWER, FIST!

  • Tejicano||

    OK, so is the answer more ammo? Or more magazines?

  • greasonable||

    Ban possession of paper clips?

  • d3x / dt3||

    Gaze narrowing ahead.

  • ThomasD||

    Typical Obama brain fart.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Whenever Obama says "we must do something" my first thought is "yes, we must take away your camera and teleprompter."

  • Hank Ferrous||

    And the fucking 'selfie stick.' Although, if we're going to 'do something,' it is an opportunity for pondering how the ACA has fucked up health care costs for those with behavioral health issues. Dear may not have needed the care, but I would argue that a few of the other recent shooters might have. And, yes I am biased, 7.5 years of condescending Obamasplaining will do that to anyone.

  • Mrs. Lemuel Struthers||

    Obama lives in a perpetual state of exasperation with the American people. We constantly disappoint him :-(

    He's just not that into us.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    It's because we fail to appreciate his parental concern.

  • Tejicano||

    But when his Uncle Sam poster states that he "wants you" you have to think carefully about what way he wants you .definitely nothing legitimate.

  • ||

    Wehavetodosomethingism is problematic.

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's actually been determined to not be a condition in of itself but a prominant symptom of several different conditions.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    A shadow syndrome.

  • Hunthjof||

    #wehavetodosomething

  • Vampire||

    Why don't they fire their security details, and disarm themselves. Somehow they believe only their lives and the lives of their families matter over the individual.

    Hell, the private schools most politicianssend their kids to have armed guards too.

    But private education, and protecting one's self, family, and property are only reserved for politicians and the elites. Everyone else should be disarmed and indoctrinated by a public educational system so they can be good wards of the state.

  • d3x / dt3||

    You're hired!

    /Obama speechwriters

  • dantheserene||

    I recall reading the Sidwell Friends School (where the Obama girls go) insisting that they had no armed security. That may be true up to a point since why pay for your own guards when half a dozen agencies will provide armed security in excess of that available to many heads of state at no cost to the school?

  • Sheriff Bart||

    My sister had an apartment in a building across the street from the Sidwell playground. There were security personnel stationed at the intersection. I'm sure there were many more on the perimeter of the grounds.

  • Sheriff Bart||

    My sister had an apartment in a building across the street from the Sidwell playground. There were security personnel stationed at the intersection. I'm sure there were many more on the perimeter of the grounds.

  • kbolino||

    Indeed, it's a technical point. They already have the best security money could buy, but they get it for free since all the politicians' kids go there.

  • ||

  • ||

    That was supposed to be in response to Vampire.

  • Vampire||

    Thanks Rufus. I got you a new red tinted monocle for Christmas. Apple never decided to make the iMonocle I invented, so it's custom made just for you.

  • ||

    RED TINTED IS AWESOME!

  • DenverJ||

    I'm getting tired of the snow. It ruined my weekend. Global warming my ass. OTOH: Suck it New England!

  • ||

    Yeh well Denver got some ridiculous calls their way. Give me NE in the playoffs - provided they're healthy which looks like may not be the case!

  • DenverJ||

    Not to talk shit about the great Peyton Manning, but it seems easier to win games when he's not throwing the ball to the other team.

  • F. Iron-Ass Stupidity, Jr.||

    Yeah, if they get beat up any worse they'll set fire to Paul Le Mat's bed.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Don't you worry, lil' Bronco. We'll cheat our way to another championship playoff, just you wait.

  • ||

    Cheatriots is it? All I know is the Patriots emasculate teams hence all the whining!

  • Swiss Servator||

    "We"....

    Say, are you on Belichick's staff?!

    *squints suspiciously*

  • d3x / dt3||

    Guy is a worthless lame duck.

    And I noticed he didn't say anything about the multiple recent homicides in ChicagoLand. I guess it matters a lot of the perpetrator is a weird white dude.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    8 killed, 18 wounded in Thanksgiving weekend shootings across Chicago

    He must have run out of time before he could bloviate on these shootings, right?

  • Tejicano||

    Why would he know anything about Chi-town? Has he ever even been there?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    From CNN:

    Extreme weather kills 10 across country

    Oh Gaia! Please forgive us our carbon sins! Quick! Someone find a virgin to throw into a volcano or something! The Earth is angry!!!!

    Black ice and treacherous road conditions led to the deaths of five people in Kansas.

    *narrows eyes*

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    Ban black ice, now!

  • ||

    Calling it black ice is racist.

  • Swiss Servator||

    "Ice of color"?

  • SIV||

    This was a thing in the ATL a few years back.

  • greasonable||

  • Tejicano||

    #blackicematters

    Yeah, like you weren't thinking it

  • kbolino||

    Well, I wasn't thinking it before...

  • Pompey||

    was an eccentric, off-putting loner


    Someone keep an eye on a Michael Hihn.

  • bacon-magic||

    Don't name him thrice...

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    It's interesting that they speak of senseless murder as if murder committed in the process of a crime is senseful. We must keep guns out of the hands of the never-been-arrested, but ignore guns carried by career criminals. Criminals shooting each other is understandable but the innocent killing the innocent is an outrage.

    I'm not crying over spilled criminal blood here, but there's a big problem mostly caused by government intervention that has a solution, while the cry-bullies are mostly concerned about random crimes that are almost unpredictable.

  • sarcasmic||

    the cry-bullies are mostly concerned about random crimes that are almost unpredictable

    Well, yeah. If they focused on things that can be predicted and prevented, then they'd be out of a job before long. They must focus on that which can not be predicted and prevented, and that way they get to make restrictive policy forever!

  • pan fried wylie||

    This is not normal.

    Correct. Moving on.....

  • ||

    We must do something? How about not bringing in tens of thousands of people that will almost certainly include mass shooters?

    That is something.

  • bassasaurusrex||

    My God he is the ultimate do nothing loser. Creatively bankrupt and just without a clue. He and W are going to go down as possibly the worst back to back presidents this country has ever known.

    None of his bans will do a thing. End the drug war. Not decriminalize something here or there, but end the whole thing. It's a sham and doesn't nothing but foment violence.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    This is not normal. We can't let it become normal.

    Yes it is. Homo sapiens sapiens murdering or otherwise victimizing members of its own species for reasons large or small is the most normal thing in the world and is a constant of human history. It is also why the RKBA movement exists.

    The only way for the physically weak to turn back the physically strong is technology. Outlaw or marginalize that technology and you have a recipe for the savagery of the ancient world punctuated by the occasional Paris-style slaughter. Which is not to say that slaughters are entirely preventable, but we'd do well not to invite them.

  • Detroit Linguist||

    Meanwhile my FB friends are bloviating about how he should be called a Christian extremist and a terrorist. Despite the complete absence of any evidence that he had any religion, and despite the only evidence he even knew what he was doing was a carefully leaked rumor that he talked about 'body parts' or something. Nothing beats a good, and handy, crisis, especially if it involves deaths.

  • Sevo||

    Whatever it ends up being, it'll have his hand on my wallet and me with new forms to fill out.

  • LV||

    Legislation, unequally applied, with a hefty dose of Taxes will "solve" this issue.....

  • biljay||

    If guns are illegal does that mean ONLY the militia can have guns and the police and politicians cannot have guns? Who will protect us from our protectors? The more security you ask the government employees to provide, the less freedom you have. Making guns illegal will be about as successful as making drugs illegal. The more laws, the more enforcers. The more enforcers, the less freedoms.

  • DesigNate||

    Since every able bodied man between the ages of 18 and 30 something? is technically part of the militia, a decent amount of the cops and security personnel would still be able to carry.

  • EvilWayz||

    18 and 45.

  • LV||

    Can we make it 18 and, oh, I don't know, say 1,000? I am getting up there and would rather not see any ageism applied to this? ;-)

  • ranrod||

    Mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin..

    Deceptive Transformation: The Truth of Soviet Influence in America and Gun Control..
    The idea of using mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin, and the social sciences, or the studying of human behavior has its roots in early twentieth century Russia when Ivan Pavlov developed his
    "classical conditioning" theories. In fact, Pavlov was disturbed that Vladimir Lenin would use these conditioning methods against the people in order to get them to accept communism. Since that time the social sciences have been used as a means of maintaining control over populations and getting them to accept their own down fall. This is happening today in the United States as our universities and public schools have long ago adopted educational techniques based on the social sciences and classical conditioning methods. Subjects like White Privilege and Multiculturalism are used to demoralize our population, create a guilt consciousness and silence us into accepting a new agenda based on the idea that we have been unfair, and our lifestyles are oppressive, and offensive to others. This agenda dates back to the early twentieth century; however, it saw some of its most major advances in the mid 1900's after the U.N. was created in 1945.

    Freedomoutpost

  • ranrod||

    While many people today view the Democrat Party as being made mostly of communists or socialists; the sad truth is that the Republican Party is just as responsible for what we are seeing in education and culture in the United States today.

    As I wrote in "Not on My Watch: Exposing the Marxist Agenda in Education," Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, two presidents that were considered American Patriots, actually signed agreements with the Soviet Union that gave them influence over U.S. education, culture, scientific and technological research, radio, television and finally, medicine. This is according to U.S. Department of Education whistle blower, Charlotte Iserbyt. It is the area of medicine that should draw your attention because as mentioned earlier, Soviet medicine revolved around the idea of mental health, and classifying people that were opposed to communist objectives as being mentally ill. This is where the Surgeon General's claims about banning guns being a part of medicine comes from. Slowly but surely, they will work to associate gun ownership with mental illness. From the 45 goals of the Communist Party USA

  • ranrod||

    Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

    (Note: Many websites are now appearing claiming this list of communist goals to be a hoax. If you read them for yourself you will see many have been accomplished and that they bear a striking resemblance to many things currently happening in the U.S. The claims that they are a hoax could be a deliberate misinformation campaign headed by the Information Regulatory Affairs office led by none other than Cass Sunstein. Just looking at the state of our society, it is clear that these goals are not a hoax.)
    While the move for an Article Five Convention seems to be gaining momentum, you should take heed. There is another constitution waiting in the winds and it won't protect your rights to keep and bear arms.

    Freedomoutpost

  • dunce||

    Obama ran on the mantra of hope and change undefined and it got him 8 years in office. I am sure more ambiguity does not bother him or his useful idiots.

  • Nick Schweitzer||

    Assault weapons actually don't by definition mean automatic. In fact, many variants of the M16 are either semi-automatic or fire with a 3 round burst, but not fully automatic.

    Assault rifle really just means that it fires a different round that a rifle. Military issue rifles used to fire rounds with much more powder in them (.30-06) which could go out a mile or more. By designing a round that carried less powder (and had less range), you could carry more ammunition with the same amount of weight on a soldier. Most soldiers don't need the reach, so its a very good compromise.

    That's it. That's an assault rifle. It fires rounds with less powder than a rifle.

  • Alan@.4||

    Nick:

    If I may, the CORRECT definition of/for "assault rifle" is as follows, Selective fire weapon, usually of rifle configuration, chambered for intermediate cartridge. Intermediate cartridge means less powerful than the full power service rifle cartridge, more powerful than the service pistol cartridge. Assault Weapon is meaningless gibberish, the forte of the Anti Gun Lobby.

  • Michael Murray||

    Remember "Black Guns Matter".

  • EvilWayz||

  • Alan@.4||

    Sounds like ever more of the usual anti firearms babel."Something" needs to be done. Don't ask me what that might be though.

  • YankeeLiberty||

    Free press, good. But the 24/7 news cycle is the Number 1 cause of the problem. Attacking a public place is primarily a way to get attention for a personal problem or a political cause. Don't give perps so much of it! Life in the USA is still fundamentally safe. Stop worrying. Turn off the news.

  • Michael Murray||

    Two words. Clueless Ideologue.

  • Chrxtoph3r||

    THAT'S right! Enough IS enough!

    800,000 dead babies a year to feed the pharmaceutical industry!

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    The hateful rhetoric coming from the Left in general, and 0bama in particular, make his statements stink of hypocrisy.
    You reap what you sow.

  • antodav||

    I remember an ad that I saw on TV when I was a kid in California. I've never been able to find a video of it online, but it went something like this:

    Politician: "We need to do something about gun violence!"

    Politicians aides: *propose a whole bunch of solutions that might actually have a chance of doing some good*

    Politician: I don't want something that works! I want something that SELLS."

    One aide: "How about a new gun law?"

    Politician: *grins*

    Cut to politician standing before a podium at a press conference, talking smugly about how his new gun law is going to save so many lives.

    Cut to a criminal at home, watching the press conference on TV, laughing his head off.

    That is basically what I think about Obama's approach to gun violence.

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