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Fraser Smith's Essay: December 20, 2012
December 20, 2012
Angry and still shaken by last week’s carnage in Newtown, Connecticut, the American people will be tested in the days ahead. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says President Obama will need popular support to achieve reform of the nation’s gun laws.
President Obama promises to put all the power of his office to work in search of safety for our surviving children. He seemed almost to apologize for suggesting that something must be done. Do we have a choice, he asked, inviting someone to suggest we do.
Even after 20 innocents and six of their teachers were dead the question had to be asked, I suppose. Sandy Hook was not the first time. We’ve had more than 60 similar provocations in recent years? Hadn’t the pain and heartbreak always faded into nothingness? Hadn’t the gun forces won every time – without a fight even, without a conversation?
Reporters and law enforcement officials scramble to find out why the shooter did what he did. Surely they must. But there’s a more important question: Why do we allow it – without even talking about it?
Neither presidential candidate, including a now-stricken Obama, gave the gun issue much time during the in the recent campaign. The politics would not allow it. Votes might have been lost – and entire election, as well. So there was near silence from the men who offered themselves as leaders.
He’s leading now. On Sunday in Newtown, the President said: “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?”
We’ll see precisely where he wants to go soon. Not everyone will like it. So, as he frequently says, he can’t do it alone. He needs the rest of us.
Will Sandy Hook be the moment when we finally say, Enough? Be certain of this: jut saying it won’t be nearly enough.
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