President Obama expressed his “deep sorrow” over the mass murder in South Carolina last night. Nine victims died in the shooting, including the pastor of the historically black church, who was also a state senator. The shooter was a young white supremacist who has since been taken into custody.
President Obama personally knew Pastor Pickney of Emanuel AME Churchand and was deeply saddened by his death.
Obama spoke about the church’s past, saying:
Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery. When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret. When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps. This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.
President Obama continued in his speech reaching out to the country to rethink our gun laws, which allow such mass murder to happen:
At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
Our country experiences on average over 11,000 gun murders per year, every year. Many more are accidental shootings and very few are guns being used in self-defense, yet we continue to ignore this fact and keep allowing guns to be free and available to any deranged killer who wants one.
The President also spoke about the undertones of racism which allegedly spurred this act of senseless violence:
The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked. And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.
The President seemed almost tired while he stood at the podium. He seemed tired to be making this same speech, for the same reason over and over again several times a year, every single year he’s been in office. And quite frankly, I’m sick of hearing it, because as we look to our European neighbors to the east, we don’t see them having this problem and it’s due mostly to their tight regulation of firearms in their countries.
In 2015 alone we’ve had 5,766 gun-related murders in our country. Guns have only been used 564 times in self-defense this year. South Carolina has some of the most extremely relaxed gun laws in the country and according to the NRA’s philosophy, freer access to guns is supposed to make towns safer. But that’s just NOT the case, and anybody with some sense can see it.
I’m tired of it just like Obama is. Are you?
See the full speech here:
Featured image via YouTube screen capture