Politicize this

Early Thursday evening, before the dead had been counted, before their bodies were cold, before the relevant facts were known, President Obama chose to make a characteristically obnoxious statement on the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon (video below, text here). Obama’s remarks are deserving of the derision that John heaped on them in “Obama: Never let a mass shooting go to waste.”

Why would Obama speak before the facts were known? It could be that he was seizing the opportunity to distract attention from the profound humiliation to which he and we have been subjected by Vladimir Putin this week. The shootings gave Obama something else to talk about.

I can also posit another explanation. Nero supposedly fiddled while Rome burned. Obama yammers while the United States declines. Obama loves the sound of his own voice. It’s music to his ears.

Rome burned for six days in 64 A.D. The United States has declined for the six years of Obama’s rule. The comparison of Nero to Obama is somewhat unfair to Nero.

In a candid moment of his remarks on Thursday, Obama bluntly avowed that he would “politicize” the issue of gun control. “Poiticization” has heretofore constituted a term of disparagement. Obama thinks he can turn the issue to his own uses by expressly stating what he is doing. I doubt it, but we’ll see.

Yesterday at his press conference vowed to keep talking; he will yammer on. His “politicization” of the issue will continue. Among the man’s vain boasts and empty threats, this is one you can take to the bank.

Just before his self-avowed “politicization” of the Oregon massacre, Obama said this:

We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.

I didn’t understand exactly what Obama was referring to. NR’s Charles Cooke usefully explicates the text. Obama, he explains, “is openly praising two countries that confiscated — yes, confiscated — firearms.”

Why does this matter? This matters, Cooke argues:

Well, because the president’s defenders like to mock those among his critics who argue that he wants to “take their guns away.” As of today, they will no longer be able to do so. This is not “hysteria” or “a matter of opinion.” This is a cold, hard fact. If you praise Great Britain or Australia, you are praising confiscation. Before yesterday, Obama has always alluded to Australia in passing. Now he is praising it directly and adding Great Britain into the mix. That’s a significant change.

Is there any issue on which Obama has made an argument that has tended to change minds in his favor? I can’t think of one offhand and I don’t think gun control, or gun confiscation, will be any different as long as we can make clear what he is talking about.

UPDATE: An Australian reader has asked me to clarify that Australia’s confiscation law did not apply to “all guns,” an assertion neither Cooke nor I made. Australia’s law is discussed in detail in the NR column “Australia’s 1996 gun confiscation didn’t work…”


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