“We’ve Become Numb To This”: Barack Obama Delivers Devastating Speech After The Oregon Mass Shooting

"Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response, here, at this podium, ends up being routine."

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News came through this morning that yet another mass shooting has taken place in America, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. At least thirteen people are believed to have been killed, including the shooter.

As has become familiar in the aftermath of events like these, President Barack Obama has delivered a statement expressing grief at the tragedy and asking why Congress refuses to pass even the mildest of gun restrictions. It’s the fifteenth time he’s had to take the podium after a mass shooting, and he’s clearly running out of ways to make the same basic points about gun violence and the inexplicable refusal of many in America to countenance the possibility that gun laws may make people safer.

Visibly upset and angry, Obama delivered a caustic and weary assessment of the gun debate in America, decrying the lack of political courage and needless lassitude that allows massacres like this to keep happening.

“As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from inflicted someplace else in America. Next week or a couple months from now,” Obama said.

“Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings. And later that day there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day.

“Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response, here, at this podium, ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become…numb to this. We’ve talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston.

“Right now, I can imagine the press release is being cranked out. ‘We need more more guns,’ they’ll argue. ‘Fewer gun safety laws’. Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country, they know that’s not true.

“We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours. Great Britain. Australia. Countries like ours.

“And of course, what’s also routine is that someone somewhere will comment and say ‘Obama politicised this issue’. Well, this is something we should politicise. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.

“I would ask news organisations: tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed in terrorist attacks over the last decade, and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on those news reports.

“We spend over $1 trillion and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?

“This is a political choice that we make.”