OPINION: Shooting deaths and a time for anger

BY COLE WHITE | Opinion Editor | The Statesman  

It has been yet another week. It has been yet another mass shooting. It has been yet another outpouring of grief for a devastated community. It has been yet another speech that the president had to give.

Out of all of those reoccurrences, only the last one has changed.

The nation saw a new president when he spoke to the nation. After all the deaths, after all these years, President Obama finally took the gloves off and became angry.

Now why haven’t we?

Every time these mass shootings happen, we all offer our prayers and condolences to the communities involved. We share their grief. Those dead could just as well be our families and friends.

In the president’s speech he made a point to say that “…our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” He’s right. They are not. This is not a time for grief. This is not a time for quiet reflection. His anger in that speech should be our anger. This is a time for outrage.

Through all the slogans and buzzwords we forget that we should be furious. We need to be angry with this. We need to stay angry with this. The fact that it took this many years for us as a nation to finally break the president down into displaying that anger speaks to how terrible we as a nation have been in dealing with this.

The president’s words were powerful, but he wasn’t the only person who spoke honestly about this. The country pounced on the chance to feign outrage when presidential candidate Jeb Bush responded to the shooting with the remark that “stuff happens.” We immediately capitalized on the chance to point out the callousness of that comment.

But all Bush did was vocalize what has been the national mentality for the past decades.

That is our problem. We have become so accustomed to these incidents we have almost started to look at them as natural disasters. We accept that these are things that do and will happen.

But it wasn’t a tornado that swept through Umpqua Community College in Oregon. It wasn’t a fire that struck an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. It wasn’t a hurricane that slammed into Sandy Hook Elementary School. People did this.

These are not inevitable, acceptable happenings in American life. We cannot let them be. It’s time for us to finally do something.

Our politics and our partisanship don’t let us take away what needs to be seen. What we need to see is that in his address President Obama played the role of the stern father, scolding us, the children for our outrageous negligence, irresponsibility and inaction.

So to the president and all my readers: please stay angry, and never become tired of talking about this.

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