Shorter Question Everything
Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
• How the Right Has Twisted the 2nd Amendment: The American Right is fond of putting itself inside the minds of America’s Founders and intuiting what was their “original intent” in writing the U.S. Constitution and its early additions, like the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” But, surely, James Madison and the others weren’t envisioning people with modern weapons mowing down children in a movie theater or a shopping mall or now a kindergarten. Indeed, when the Second Amendment was passed in the First Congress as part of the Bill of Rights, firearms were single-shot mechanisms that took time to load and reload. It was also clear that Madison and the others viewed the “right to bear arms” in the context of “a well-regulated militia” to defend communities from massacres, not as a means to enable such massacres. The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Thus, the point of the Second Amendment is to ensure “security,” not undermine it.
• In the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newton, CT, Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Meet the Press host David Gregory that she plans to introduce a bill that would ban military style assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress.
• There’s been some level of mystery about just why Adam Lanza’s first victim, Nancy Lanza, had such a stock of weapons, particularly military style weapons like the .223 Bushmaster, the weapon we now know was actually used in the killings. She wasn’t just into guns. She was apparently stocked up for when the economy collapses and when everyone’s on their own with their guns. Yeah, like that.
• A man in northern Indiana was arrested Saturday after threatening an elementary school near his home. Cedar Lake police officers found 47 guns and ammunition in the home of 60-year-old Von Meyer following his arrest, according to the Associated Press. Police were called after he allegedly threatened to set his wife on fire and “kill as many people as he could” at the Jane Ball Elementary School less than 1,000 feet from his home.
In other news
• Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church: “The Westboro Baptist Church stated earlier this week that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of Newtown Connecticut’s tragic shooting in an effort to bring awareness to their hate messages. In response, the Anonymous hacker collective has hacked their website and posted the personal information of all of its members.”
• The Ugly, Asinine American: Donald Trump Links Wind Farms To Terrorism: The ad
above is part of Trump’s effort to kill a wind farm in Scotland near one of his golf courses. He thinks it will hamper the view of the snooty elitists batting little balls around his exclusive club. But it’s not enough that Trump’s dishonest and self-serving ad misrepresents the value of renewable energy resources, Trump goes further to associate an advocate of wind power with the terrorist who brought down an airliner over Lockerbie.
• Criticism of Liberal MP Justin Trudeau’s planned appearance at an Islamic conference has prompted a sponsor to bow out after scrutiny of the event highlighted the group’s stripped charity status. The organizers of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference say the decision for IRFAN-Canada to withdraw was made after the Liberal leadership hopeful came under fire for his plans to attend the annual event. IRFAN had its status revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency in 2011 for allegedly using deceptive fundraising to send nearly $15 million in donations to organizations with ties to the Islamic militant group Hamas. IRFAN denies any wrongdoing, is challenging the ruling and the group’s lawyer said it decided to withdraw from the upcoming conference to avoid causing further controversy.
• The finance chairman for the Republican National Committee was caught on tape saying that Democratic voters in Detroit are picked up in pool halls and barbershops and bused to multiple polling precincts where they vote multiple times, the Detroit Free Press reports. Ron Weiser, a major Republican fundraiser who also served as chairman of the Michigan GOP, made the comments at an August tea party event that was taped by a Democratic operative. Weiser said Friday that he meant no offense after the released comments drew sharp criticism.
• A Republican Senate aide spelled out the situation for me more clearly, on condition he not be identified. “Voting for higher taxes is a tough vote,” he said. “Opposing Susan Rice is a way to score points, even though it’s a sideshow.”
• President Hugo Chavez’s top rival survived a tough test Sunday, winning re-election as governor, but he allowed that losses in other state-level races were a “tough moment” for Venezuela’s opposition. Henrique Capriles, the prominent opposition leader whose political life was on the line after losing his presidential bid to Chavez in October, won re-election as Miranda state governor. But Chavez’s party gained four other governorships, said electoral officials in this OPEC nation with the world’s top proven oil reserves.