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The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

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The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Mon Dec 17 2012, 14:52

President Obama's Speech

WASHINGTON -- Speaking before an auditorium of grieving parents, community members and others there to mourn the killing of 20 first graders and six educators from Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama pledged Sunday to use the power of the office he occupies to end the epidemic of gun violence shaking the nation.

"We're not doing enough," the president said. "And we will have to change."

"We can't tolerate this anymore," he added. "These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and it 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."

The speech was the fourth and most direct that the president has given in the wake of a major instance of gun-related violence. His day had started with a trip to see his daughter, Sasha, at her dance rehearsal at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. And as he took the stage at Newtown High School, in a quiet New England town tucked in the southwestern corner of Connecticut, it was evident that he still occupied the mindset of a father frightened at vulnerability of young children.

"If there's even one step we can take to save one child, or one parent, or one 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," the president told the auditorium.

"In the coming weeks, I'll 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 to prevent more tragedies like this," he said. "Because what choice do we have?"

These moments have become disturbingly regular for this president. His speech in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings touched on the concept of justice for such heinous acts. His address to the victims of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting that nearly took former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's (D-Ariz.) life focused on the need to renew the human spirit in the wake of seeming madness. His talk before the National Urban League convention following the shooting in Aurora, Colo., rested on the notion of community and how society can protect and better itself even amid epidemics of gun violence.

The address in Newtown offered a more stern call for cultural, or even legislative, change.

"We can't accept events like this as routine," he said. "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 the violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"

But like the three speeches before, the president stayed vague on the methods of seeing that change through. This could very well be out of a sense of proper setting. A vigil isn't always the best time to make policy points. But that may not be much comfort to those who are tired of the debate being ducked.

Obama's advocacy for gun control has, to this point, had an inverse relationship with his rise in elected politics. The state politician who once touted a comprehensive plan to get guns off the streets of Chicago was absent from the debates once he came to Washington. The Senate candidate who said it was a "scandal" that the assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse in 2004 became a president who pledged to pursue gun-control reform only within existing law.

Over time, caution was how the president became defined on the issue, his eloquent words of sympathy no longer sufficing.

"The president's tears were nice," said Toby Hoover, director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, shortly after Obama addressed the Newtown shootings in a statement on Friday. Hoover lost her husband to gun violence when she was 30 years old, and was attending a candlelight vigil outside the White House gates. "But he was supposed to lead us. He told us that if we elected him, he'd give us hope. I need hope."

Whether the president's remarks on Sunday will change the viewpoints of Hoover or others -- or whether it will alter the contours of the gun control debate -- will be clearer in the weeks ahead. But certainly there is more room to operate.

Americans' support for stricter gun control laws appeared to grow in the days following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to a poll conducted by YouGov and The Huffington Post, 50 percent of respondents support stricter gun control laws, up from 43 percent in August.

This January, congressional Democrats plan to introduce identical bills in the House and Senate to renew the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was allowed to lapse in 2004 after 10 years. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) said on Sunday that the bills would be introduced on the first day that Congress reconvenes next year.

Whether the ban would have changed the course of the Sandy Hook shootings is a complicated question. Authorities said Sunday that a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle was one of the weapons that 20-year-old Adam Lanza used to commit Friday's murders, and that it was purchased legally.

Connecticut has a statewide ban on certain types of assault weapons, but in the decade since the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban, gun manufacturers have devised numerous ways to get around state bans like the one in Connecticut by making small alterations.

Feinstein initially called for renewing the assault weapons ban in July, following the massacre of 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. In the wake of this and other instances of gun violence, the White House has usually reaffirmed the president's support for the legislation, which President George W. Bush declined to renew when it expired. But that support is always accompanied by lines -- usually from the serving press secretary -- that the administration would work within existing law, rather than revisit old ones. Obama has actually loosened gun restrictions while in office and declined to pursue others that were recommended by his own Justice Department.

Feinstein and her caucus face a powerful and well-funded opposition to any legislation designed to curtail access to firearms.

Led by the National Rifle Association, pro-gun lobbying groups in Washington have donated more than $5 million to House and Senate candidates since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. In 2012, the NRA's political action committee made more than $600,000 in federal campaign donations, overwhelmingly directed towards Republicans. The NRA has been largely silent in the wake of Friday's mass shooting, and an NRA spokeswoman said that the group would not release any comments "until the facts are thoroughly known."

In the meantime, the pro-gun lobby faced an ongoing barrage of criticism on Sunday from a wide range of public figures. As Feinstein was calling on Congress to act on gun control, across town, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Very Rev. Gary Hall called on people of faith to "serve as a counterweight to the gun lobby," and "stand together with our leaders and support them as they act to take assault weapons off the streets."

View the full speech at the top of the story, link provided:


Last edited by Lighterside on Mon Dec 17 2012, 14:58; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Mon Dec 17 2012, 14:57

And this is a very moving speech given by former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-FL) about how his views have changed regarding stricter gun laws since this tragedy:

Joe Scarborough: Newtown Shooting Made 'Ideologies Of My Past' On Guns Irrelevant (VIDEO)

Joe Scarborough said on Monday that the massacre in Newtown had forced him to rethink his "long-held" belief about gun rights.

In a lengthy monologue, Scarborough talked about how shaken up he had been by the killing of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. He noted that his children's ages averaged that of some of the murdered victims.

"From this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again," he said. "... Let this be our true landmark ... politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo."

He said that he was a "conservative Republican" who had been solidly aligned with the NRA during his time in Congress, and had previously held libertarian views on the Second Amendment. But he added that Friday "changed everything":

"I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want.
It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It's time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we're losing the war at home ... For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change."

Video of full speech here at link:
Joe Scarborough's speech

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Dec 17 2012, 15:06

The President could not have made a better and more compassionate and heartfelt speech in the wake of such dreadful violence.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if he could seize the initiative, and with the will of the powerbrokers, achieve something groundbreaking out of this awful tragedy?l

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Mon Dec 17 2012, 15:35

party animal - not! wrote:The President could not have made a better and more compassionate and heartfelt speech in the wake of such dreadful violence.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if he could seize the initiative, and with the will of the powerbrokers, achieve something groundbreaking out of this awful tragedy?l

My sentiments exactly! Thumbs up!

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by silly girl on Mon Dec 17 2012, 15:53

I thought he spoke wonderfully too. It was very moving.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by melbert on Tue Dec 18 2012, 01:54

Thanks Lighter for posting these! Just wonderful!

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Missa on Tue Dec 18 2012, 01:58

His speech was wonderful. And when he started reciting the children's names...I didn't think either one of us would get through it. I just love him.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by suebee on Tue Dec 18 2012, 02:16

There was a beautiful tribute in the voice show tonight.gy

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by LornaDoone on Tue Dec 18 2012, 04:19

Lovely tribute but gun control needs to be addressed. I think one of the reasons President Obama is not be specific is that he understands he's not the one that it will change the law. That lies in the hands of the Congress and Senate.

I will bet he will use this as a bargain chip with the Republicans for backing off on the taxation of the rich.

What really needs to be done though is people need to start telling their congressmen and senators that they want stricter gun laws. And organizations that support stronger gun control need to get as much money backing them as the NRA so that they have a chance to make a difference by supporting gun control candidates.

I'm not saying ban all guns but no one needs a Bushmaster to hunt. I say follow the lead of countries like Canada who tightly control the process of getting a gun. It helps to keep guns out of the hands of people who are in the heat of anger, who may have mental issues and one that I really like, asks about a person's marital status and the condition of their marriage. The purchase must be signed off by the spouse if they are married. The spouse has to sign off that they are comfortable with their spouse having a gun.

The link below is to commentary from one blogger about Canadian gun laws. It was re-tweeted many times after the Sandy Hook massacre.

http://kellyoxford.tumblr.com/post/2700711323/how-to-buy-a-gun-in-canada-and-other-rational-things


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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by lucy on Tue Dec 18 2012, 06:33

YES LornaDoone, why does anyone need a weapon that fires bullets by seconds. Except for the military, or a swat team, but I live in Texas, not born or raised. Move here in 1986, so I have lived here half of my life, and there is one thing I have learned, and that is republicans will never vote for gun control. So dems we need to unite and make some changes.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Tue Dec 18 2012, 14:13

It would help to pass legislation already in the Congress; there are about a dozen bills stalled there ALL for stricter gun control. The one I would LOVE to see enacted is the one where EVERY gun is shot BEFORE it's sold and the ballistics are recorded into a gun registry. That way EVERY crime scene where guns were used would have a path right to the prepetrators via the bullet information provided from the registry. People wouldn't use guns to kill other people if they KNEW without a doubt that they would get caught.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by silly girl on Tue Dec 18 2012, 14:30

That's a great idea Lighterside. I hadn't thought about that. They should also have mandatory training and need to carry insurance. Just like car owners and drivers.

Oh and I don't believe anyone needs to own an assault rifle at all. The ban should come back. (I don't think anyone needs guns to begin with but we need to start somewhere).


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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Tue Dec 18 2012, 14:37

Yes, I agree silly girl...there is no reason for a private citizen to carry an assault rifle, except to "assualt" humans in gross numbers...as there is no point to a magazine that holds a hundred rounds, unless you want to mass murder.

Deer hunters don't need guns like that...people hunters do!

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Joanna on Tue Dec 18 2012, 15:00

I heard a comment on the BBC radio which was interesting.
The amendment to the Constitution allowing guns to be owned by American Citizens is based on just 20 years of American history, when the frontiers needed protecting from outlaws etc etc and before the introduction of railways and sheriffs.
Maybe someone will correct me if that's incorrect ?

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Tue Dec 18 2012, 15:15

Yes Joanna, the second amendment was added only a few years after our independence was achieved in 1791...in fact, I looked it up when you asked about it and it was 221 years ago on the 15th.

Our forefathers had no idea what the country would become or how our safety would be imperiled by this amendment, at the time they conceived it. They were living in a perilous time, when people needed guns to hunt for food and to keep themselves and their families safe in the wild, untamed country they had just fled to for freedom. That law protected the use of a flintlock musket or rifles, which took some time to reload.

Had they known that eventually much of the country would become a "concrete jungle" I think they would have worded that amendment a little differently....especially since they had never dreamed of a day when automatic assault weapons would be sold that could conceivably kill hundreds of humans a minute!

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Missa on Wed Dec 19 2012, 02:47

And even if you read the amendment as written, it allows for a "well-regulated militia". Gun advocates seem to only see the latter part of that phrase. It's time to regulate the hell of it.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Katiedot on Wed Dec 19 2012, 05:21

From what I understand, it was written in because the founding fathers couldn't be sure of the future safety of their country (and as they were dealing with the British government of the time, who could blame them for suspecting a re-match further down the line?!) so wanted to ensure they could raise a standing army quickly if needed to defend the country.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by OofOof on Wed Dec 19 2012, 05:28

Yes, Katie that was a big reason for the 2nd Amendment. Like Lighterside, I seriously doubt they would be for anyone able to buy semi-automatic weapons ONLINE via Walmart. The Bushmaster semi automatic rifle the gunman used was being sold ONLINE at Walmart. Apparently, they've removed it from their online sales. Walmart sells more guns than any other store in the US.

I live in a rural area where people hunt for food. None of the hunters I know use semi-automatic weapons to hunt. I hope this horrible shooting wakes Americans up. I just hope that after a few weeks or months, we all don't just go back to sleep.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

Post by Lighterside on Wed Dec 19 2012, 14:34

Not this time Oof...not this time! There are too many people who have been gun rights advocates saying that the time has come to change the laws of the land. Everyone recognizes that these types of weapons are for war, not protection or hunting for pleasure/food. No one wants innocent women and children gunned down in public spaces, which should be safe under any other circumstance.

The first priority of a government is to keep their citizens SAFE....we are failing miserably on that count.

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Re: The President's Speech at the Newtown Connecticut Vigil for the victims

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