Even out of office, President Obama continues to play the role of comforter in chief to a nation grieving after multiple mass shootings.
While Trump insisted Monday that video games and mental illness, but “not the gun,” are to blame for the two shootings that have claimed the lives of 31 people and counting, the former president condemned the refusal of those in power to do anything at all to restrict access to guns in this country.
“Every time this happens,” Obama wrote in a statement posted to Facebook, “we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.”
While in office, Obama repeatedly called on the GOP-controlled Congress to take action to prevent further mass shootings. But even bills supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans — including Republican voters and even gun owners — were blocked by Republicans in Congress.
The former president also condemned the racist rhetoric and ideology that appears to have fueled the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.
“Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy,” Obama said. “Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.”
While the former president did not call out Trump by name, he called on Americans to reject the kind of hateful language and ideas that Trump regularly spouts on social media and at his MAGA rallies.
“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people,” Obama said.
“Such language isn’t new — it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans,” Obama continued. “It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.”
Published with permission of The American Independent.