President Obama likes to hear himself talk. That’s the only explanation for the amount of talking he does, especially when he talks the kind of vague nonsense he uttered in an online interview Tuesday after the latest school shooting. Among other things, he said his biggest frustration after one and a half terms in office is that “this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.” Really? What “basic steps” does he have in mind?
He mentioned Australia. There, a 28-year-old man killed 35 and wounded 23 others in a shooting rampage near Port Arthur in Tasmania in 1996. In response, the country banned private ownership of semiautomatic guns, confiscated many in a so-called “mandatory buy-back,” and established a 28-day waiting period for buying any firearm. There’s been no mass shooting since. But the stories on this don’t mention any before Port Arthur either.
In any case, what does Obama have in mind? Why didn’t the people taking part in that online interview ask him? “Mr. President, what are you talking about? Are you calling for the confiscation of semiautomatic firearms or what?” Instead, Obama was allowed to babble on: “We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights. But the idea that we couldn’t even get a background check bill in — to make sure that if you buy a weapon, you actually have to go through a fairly rigorous process so we know who you are, so that you can’t just walk up to a store and buy a semiautomatic weapon — makes no sense.”
Does this president know anything about the real world? Does he not know that we have an extensive background check system? No, you can’t just walk into a store and buy a weapon, at least not in Oregon. You have to fill out a long form, pay an extra fee and your name is sent to the state police, where they check your criminal history if any. You have to do the same if you want to buy a gun at a show.
Further, what’s this fascination with the idea that background checks would prevent school shootings? The young murderer at Reynolds High got his rifle from home, where it was locked up, and he stole it. The self-promoting narcissist who knifed and shot people in Isla Vista passed his background checks, and California has more gun restrictions than Oregon. When Obama keeps chattering about the need for background checks and “common sense rules,” he displays his ignorance about the law and what has happened in these killings. Or he believes the American people are so stupid that hearing gibberish from their president won’t bother them.
The best Obama could do for himself and for the country, not just on this but many other issues as well, is to shut up and wait for his term to end. (hh)