Obama calls for gun control: ‘We are not helpless’ to stop attacks – AOL
Former President Barack Obama called for stricter gun control laws in a Monday statement after two mass shootings over the weekend left more than 30 people dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“We are not helpless here,” Obama said in a statement posted on Twitter. “And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.”
Obama said the El Paso shooting followed a “dangerous trend” of violence motivated by racist ideologies. He compared white supremacist websites to terrorist groups like ISIS and called on law enforcement and internet platforms to reduce the influence of hate groups.
The El Paso shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime after an anti-immigrant “manifesto” posted online was connected to the alleged gunman. Posts on 8chan, an online messaging board used by right-wing extremists, have also been connected to the alleged gunman. Law enforcement officials said on Saturday that the suspect told them he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible.
Obama also called on Americans to “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.” He didn’t specify which leaders he was talking about. President Trump is known for anti-immigrant rhetoric, repeatedly referring to a migrant caravan at the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invasion.”
Obama noted that hateful rhetoric and language that demonizes others isn’t new but has been at the “root of most human tragedy.”
“It has no place in our politics and our public life,” he wrote. “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.”
Obama has said that his inability to strengthen gun laws was the “biggest frustration” of his presidency. He was often moved to tears when he addressed the country after a mass shooting. In 2017, he said the “toughest day” of his tenure was when he met with the families of the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
Two unidentified nuns on December 14, 2012 leave the scene at the aftermath of a school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that brought police swarming into the leafy neighborhood, while other area schools were put under lock-down, police and local media said. Local media quoted that the gunman had died at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, northeast of New York City. At least 27 people, including 18 children, were killed on Friday when at least one shooter opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, CBS News reported, citing unnamed officials. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
State Police inspect the area on December 14, 2012 at the aftermath of a school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that brought police swarming into the leafy neighborhood, while other area schools were put under lock-down, police and local media said. Local media quoted that the gunman had died at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, northeast of New York City. At least 27 people, including 18 children, were killed on Friday when at least one shooter opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, CBS News reported, citing unnamed officials. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEWTOWN, CT – DECEMBER 19:
Area firefighters, including first responders from the Sandy Hook Fire Department, stand by for the passing of the funeral procession of Sandy Hook Elementary School student Daniel Gerard Barden in the town center of Sandy Hook on Tuesday, December 19, 2012, in Newtown, CT. Police say Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown and killed 20 children, six adults and himself.
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Nelba Marquez-Greene (L) the mother of Ana Grace Marques-Greene, 6, and Nicole Hockley, the mother of Dylan Hockley, 6, victims of the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, comfort each other on stage during the launch of The Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit created in response to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin (UNITED STATES – Tags: EDUCATION CRIME LAW)
A photo of Caroline Previdi, one of the victim from an elementary school shooting is set up at a makeshift shrine to the victims of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 17, 2012. Funerals began Monday in the little Connecticut town of Newtown after the school massacre that took the lives of 20 small children and six staff, triggering new momentum for a change to America’s gun culture. The first burials, held under raw, wet skies, were for two six-year-old boys who were among those shot in Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Tuesday, the first of the girls, also aged six, was due to be laid to rest. There were no Monday classes at all across Newtown, and the blood-soaked elementary school was to remain a closed crime scene indefinitely, authorities said. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND
/ AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Jennifer Hensel (L) and Jeremy Richman, the parents of Avielle Richman, 6, and David Wheeler (R), the father of Benjamin Wheeler, 6, victims of the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, attend the launch of The Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit created in response to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin (UNITED STATES – Tags: EDUCATION CRIME LAW)
DENVER, CO. – FEBRUARY 05: Jane Dougherty holds a photo of her sister, Mary Sherlach, who was killed at Sandy Hook, during a press conference to unveil gun legislation aimed at curbing gun violence, February, 04, 2013, at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Dougherty, who lives in Colorado, was joined by family members who lost loved ones in the Aurora theater shooting and at Columbine High School. (Photo By RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
STRATFORD, CT – DECEMBER 15: Donna Soto (R), mother of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was shot and killed while protecting her students, hugs her daughter Karly (second from right) while mourning their loss with Victoria’s other two siblings, Jillian (far left) and Matthew Soto (second from left), at a candlelight vigil at Stratford High School on December 15, 2012 in Stratford, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire in the school. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza was found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Trump delivered remarks at the White House on Monday morning, condemning the attacks as “evil” and “wicked.” While he cited “racist hate” in the manifesto, he blamed the shootings on mental illness, violent video games and the internet.
“We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts,“ Trump said. “We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start.”