I'm dismayed that some residents of Roseburg are upset that President Obama is going to fly into Roseburg tomorrow to talk privately with the families of those who were shot by the UCC shooter. No family has to attend this private meeting with the President. One presumes the White House has done its due diligence by reaching out to the families and knows this closed door meeting is for reasons of compassion not politics.
I'm pleased that city and county leaders are welcoming the President's visit. One hopes he will meet with the first responders as well.
The fact that the President deliberately "politicized" the UCC killings is irrelevant to this gathering. The President was merely stating the obvious - that guns are a "political" issue in the US - the NRA has made this abundantly clear for decades by arguing again and again that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." True but this is a totally disingenuous example of NRA spin.
If guns were not so easily accessible via gun stores, gun shows, the net or private sales - then the UCC killer would not have been able to carry out his heinous crime against the innocent as have so many before him from Columbine to Sandy Hook. The question is not how to get guns out of the hands of people who are collectors, hunters or target shooters - it's how to keep them out of the hands of mentally disturbed people.
But the fanatics at the NRA will not engage in such a conversation. Evidence of this came on NPR today on the Takeaway (open link below) when the host interviewed a gun advocate who argued that gun violence is down in the USA - so why is all the attention on guns? It's obvious why we are focused on this issue - the UCC shooter had access to 14 guns - all purchased "legally" by him or his mother - an admitted gun nut.
The host of Gun Talk Radio, the only nationally syndicated radio show about firearms, condemns mass shootings, but doesn't believe the U.S. should make it harder for people to buy guns.
Even "if" gun crime is down - gun violence continues to be a major public health hazard whether in the hands of inner city gangs or in the hands of mentally disturbed persons. On top of that in my life time, guns have been the weapon of the assassins of JFK, MLK, Jr., RFK, Malcolm X and the attempted assassinations of Reagan and Wallace. The implication that gun crime is not a problem is ludicrous.
An op ed in the NYTimes posed the rhetorical question - "Do we want a society in which some 33,000 people in America lose their lives to gun violence each year and more than twice as many are injured by guns? Do we want a society in which mass shootings are routine? If we do, well, we have it..."
A final point: FBI crime statistics depend on the reporting from local police departments in the 50 states. It's well known that the integrity of these statistics is problematic at best since standards and routines of reporting vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We have no standardized national crime data base independent of what police report from city or county police agencies. Such reporting is a local "political" decision...
As reported in the Oregonian Oct. 2, 2015 page A-9 -
"According to crowd sourced counts, this is the 294th incident in the US this year in which four or more people were shot and the 45th shooting on a school or college campus..." As Roseburg's famed head football coach Thurmond Bell said - "it's sick. You wonder what's happening in this world today. In Roseburg?, in Roseburg?"
If the Potus is a bit "hot" on this issue, he has a right to be. As a Black American he knows "Black lives historically don't matter." And as the father of two female children he knows their safety is constantly at risk. Now folks in my home town know they are at risk too. So much for small town America being "different." Despite NRA spin - bullets don't distinguish between good and bad folks!
Yes problem is not guns per se, it's keeping guns out of the wrong hands!