In his speech on the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon last week, President Obama sounded more upset about America's gun laws than about the horrific massacre.
We barely had the preliminary facts about the shooting, the shooter and the victims, and he was already lecturing the nation again on gun control.
Instead of calling the nation to prayer, he said we would learn about the victims in the coming days and then "wrap everyone who's grieving with our prayers and our love." Those words out of the way, he immediately pivoted to complaining that "our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel (or) prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week or a couple of months from now."
We didn't hear much "heartache and grief" in his speech, but his anger was palpable. It wasn't anger at the shooter, and it wasn't sympathy for the victims. It was outrage — or apparent outrage — at America's Second Amendment advocates.
"We are the only advanced country on earth," said Obama, "that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months. ... The United States ... is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws — even in the face of repeated mass killings." He said these events happen so often that they've "become routine. ... We've become numb to this."
He may speak for himself, of course, but I don't know too many people, especially gun rights advocates, who are numb to such savagery. Many of us believe our society would be safer against gun violence if there weren't so many "gun-free" zones and if we had more armed guards.
As he has so often done before the powder is dry after similar incidents, he used his bully pulpit (emphasis on "bully") to misstate statistics as if he were trying for a record number of Pinocchios from fact-checkers.
He said: "We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don't work — or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens, and criminals will still get their guns — is not borne out by the evidence."
What he conveniently omitted is that Oregon had recently strengthened its laws on gun sales and is above average among the states on gun regulation. It is one of only 18 states that require universal background checks before the sale of any firearm.
Being a proud Chicagoan, Obama is surely aware that his beloved city, which has distinguished itself in recent years for epic gun violence and death, is in a state that has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. How, then, can he claim that gun laws work? And how would implementing his idea of "common-sense gun-safety laws" make sense?
Though the United States has a high actual number of fatalities from mass shootings given its larger population, Obama ignores that other nations — such as Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel and Switzerland, which all have restrictive gun laws — have higher ratios of such shootings per capita.
The president also fails to acknowledge author John Lott's findings as of 2010 that all the multiple-victim public shootings (where three or more were killed) in Western Europe and in the United States occurred where civilians were not allowed to carry guns.
Charles C.W. Cooke, in his "The Conservatarian Manifesto," urges that we regularly debunk "the claim that America is in the midst of a gun-violence 'epidemic'. ... Two reports, both released in May 2013, revealed a striking drop in gun crime over the past twenty years." Cooke writes that "during the very period that gun laws have been dramatically liberalized across the whole country, gun crime has dropped substantially."
In his rant, Obama didn't just distort the evidence. He effectively accused the Republican Congress of allowing these deaths by opposing gun control laws for political reasons, proving that projection is still an important weapon in his partisan arsenal. At a time when he should be using his office and his influence to urge healing and unity, Obama uses them for strident community organizing to advance his agenda.
It is instructive that Obama rages at conservatives and scapegoats the weapons themselves rather than the criminals involved or the state of the human condition that underlies their actions.
It is remarkable that he demands an unconstitutional and meaningless change in the laws purportedly to save innocent lives but vigorously opposes all laws that would protect innocent babies in the womb.
And it is disgraceful that he seeks to inflame our emotions to seduce us into ignoring the facts and suspending our critical faculties long enough to surrender our vital Second Amendment rights.