Tag Archive for gun violence

Fighting Back: “We need to reduce the gun violence that’s ripping our country apart.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and addressed the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the need for Congressional action to stop gun violence and hate crimes.

(Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) of Pennsylvania, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Congressman Doyle addressed the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the need for Congressional action to stop gun violence and hate crimes.)

We need a stronger public response to the hate speech on social media that demonizes others, reinforces prejudice, and very likely incites some individuals to violence. We all have a responsibility to speak up and condemn hate speech when we see it. […]

Also, we need to come together to reduce the gun violence that’s ripping our country apart. You would think that after all of the tragedies in Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and now here in Pittsburgh, that Congress would finally come together to pass common-sense gun safety legislation.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Fighting Back: “This march cannot be a moment. It must be a movement.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

(Senator Cory Booker (NJ) delivered the Democratic weekly address, talking about gun violence.)
TRIGGER WARNING: CSPAN included the end of the “president’s” weekly address with this clip.

Senator Booker

Gun owners and non-gunowners, Republican and Democrat, old and young, agree that there are common sense things that we can do to drive down gun violence in our country, including loopholes that allow people of ill will or criminals to obtain guns, whether it is domestic violence loopholes or background check loopholes that allow people who may even be suspected of being terrorists, to load up trucks full of weapons in our country. […]

We have work to do. This march cannot be a moment. It must be a movement. […]

This is a movement that should unite all Americans. It should not divide us. This is a movement that reflects our hallowed traditions, and it is a movement that I know is on the right side of history. Let us continue in our fight. Let us not be moved as we march in the right direction. Let us bring safety and security to our communities. Let us hail the truth of our nation. That we are a place that treasures life, that will preserve liberty, and that will find for every community, from Newark to Newtown, from Camden to Columbine, from Patterson to Parkland, that we are a nation in which every one of our communities is safe, strong, and resonates with the hope and promise of America.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Fighting Back: “Children are dying in our schools … all this Congress has to say is, let’s have a moment of silence.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference and the topic was the mass shooting in Florida and the weak Republican Party response to it. She was joined by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) who is the chair of the House Democrats Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Nancy Pelosi:

Once again, we come together very sadly. Our hearts have been broken by the tragedy of gun violence, this time Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Seventeen pronounced dead, more wounded. Innocent children sending terrified texts and goodbyes to their parents. We thank God for the heroism of the teachers, the school leaders, and our first responders running into harm’s way to save lives. […]

Children are dying in our schools, in our communities, on our streets. All this Congress has to say is, let’s have a moment of silence.

Mike Thompson:

If I was a Republican Member, I would be embarrassed that my Leadership wouldn’t address this issue. […] We were elected to deal with tough issues. And this is no different than any other tough issue. Somebody has to screw up the courage to be able to look at this issue and figure out what can Congress do. […]

And the idea that all of these shootings are mental health issues? I am sure that mental health factors in, but you can’t deflect by saying, ‘Oh, it is a mental health issue,’ and then turn around and work overtime trying to repeal the mental health programs that we have in place or put out a budget that cuts the mental health budget that we so desperately need across our United States of America.

The full transcript is below.

Fighting Back: John Lewis on Gun Violence – “What will it take for the Republican Congress to wake up?”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

(Congressman John Lewis has been leading the charge for change for decades. Now, he wants Congress to do the same by taking action to end gun violence.)

Rep. Lewis:

“What will it take for the Republican Congress to wake up? They hold moments of silence and vigils. They offer thoughts and prayers but they do nothing. And when the media moves on, they peddle the lie that we need more guns to stop violence and they try to roll back protections that keep our communities safe.”[…]

“Republicans have not lifted a finger. They have not done one single thing to combat this crisis and worse they are refusing to even begin a bipartisan process to address the gun violence epidemic.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Charleston Remembered – President Obama: “We must not allow ourselves to slip into comfortable silence again”

From the Obama White House, June 27, 2015 …

President Obama travels to the College of Charleston in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and 8 other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17, 2015. June 26, 2015.

President Obama:

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.

On the Confederate flag and its removal:

For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. […]

For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

On the work ahead:

… it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

Full transcript below …

President Obama in Dallas: “Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity?”

Yesterday, President Obama spoke at an interfaith ceremony in Dallas Texas to honor the lives and service of the 5 police officers murdered last week: Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson.

He spoke also of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille whose deaths sparked nationwide protests including the protest that those police officers were part of and protecting; he spoke of systemic racism, injustice, the failures our of institutions and hardened hearts.

President Obama:

When African Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment; when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently, so that if you’re black you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested, more likely to get longer sentences, more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime; when mothers and fathers raise their kids right and have “the talk” about how to respond if stopped by a police officer — “yes, sir,” “no, sir” — but still fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door, still fear that kids being stupid and not quite doing things right might end in tragedy — when all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid. (Applause.) We can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and coworkers and fellow church members again and again and again — it hurts. Surely we can see that, all of us.

We also know what Chief Brown has said is true: That so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves. (Applause.) As a society, we choose to underinvest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. (Applause.) We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs. (Applause.) We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book — (applause) — and then we tell the police “you’re a social worker, you’re the parent, you’re the teacher, you’re the drug counselor.” We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs, and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience. Don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind. And then we feign surprise when, periodically, the tensions boil over.

He concluded with a call to open our hearts and forge consensus to fight cynicism and make changes:

That’s what we must pray for, each of us: a new heart. Not a heart of stone, but a heart open to the fears and hopes and challenges of our fellow citizens. That’s what we’ve seen in Dallas these past few days. That’s what we must sustain.

Because with an open heart, we can learn to stand in each other’s shoes and look at the world through each other’s eyes, so that maybe the police officer sees his own son in that teenager with a hoodie who’s kind of goofing off but not dangerous — (applause) — and the teenager — maybe the teenager will see in the police officer the same words and values and authority of his parents. […]

In the end, it’s not about finding policies that work; it’s about forging consensus, and fighting cynicism, and finding the will to make change.

Can we do this? Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other? Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us? And it doesn’t make anybody perfectly good or perfectly bad, it just makes us human. […]

For all of us, life presents challenges and suffering — accidents, illnesses, the loss of loved ones. There are times when we are overwhelmed by sudden calamity, natural or manmade. All of us, we make mistakes. And at times we are lost. And as we get older, we learn we don’t always have control of things — not even a President does. But we do have control over how we respond to the world. We do have control over how we treat one another.

America does not ask us to be perfect. Precisely because of our individual imperfections, our founders gave us institutions to guard against tyranny and ensure no one is above the law; a democracy that gives us the space to work through our differences and debate them peacefully, to make things better, even if it doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like. America gives us the capacity to change.

But as the men we mourn today — these five heroes — knew better than most, we cannot take the blessings of this nation for granted. Only by working together can we preserve those institutions of family and community, rights and responsibilities, law and self-government that is the hallmark of this nation. For, it turns out, we do not persevere alone. Our character is not found in isolation. Hope does not arise by putting our fellow man down; it is found by lifting others up.

Full transcript below along with raw video of the entire ceremony.

President Obama: “We must not allow ourselves to slip into comfortable silence again”

Reposted from June 27, 2015 – to honor those who were brutally murdered a year ago today.

From the White House:

President Obama travels to the College of Charleston in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and 8 other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17, 2015. June 26, 2015.

President Obama:

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.

On the Confederate flag and its removal:

For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. […]

For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

On the work ahead:

… it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

Full transcript below …

President Obama Speaks on New Initiatives Aimed at Reducing Gun Violence #StopGunViolence UPDATED with Transcript

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer

(Video of the live event includes remarks from a Newtown parent and the president arriving and leaving – event starts at 36:35 on this video, with the president speaking at 42:30)

President Obama (at 1:11:00 in this video):

All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important — Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely –- that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. (Applause.) And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. (Applause.) They had rights, too. (Applause.)

Our right to peaceful assembly -– that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -– those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day. (Applause.)

The answer? Vote … make this issue a campaign issue:

Ninety percent of Americans supported [the idea of expanded background checks]. Ninety percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea. But [the post-Sandy Hook reforms] failed because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against that idea. […] The bill before Congress three years ago met [the test of saving more lives]. Unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs. […]

So the gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. (Applause.) We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. (Applause.) […]

Yes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time. Well, you know what, the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate. We have to be just as organized in defense of our kids. This is not that complicated. The reason Congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. And if you make it hard for them to win an election if they block those laws, they’ll change course, I promise you.

Full transcript below.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Making America Safer for Our Children

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President reflected on the progress of the past year, and looked forward to working on unfinished business in the coming year, particularly when it comes to the epidemic of gun violence. As he has many times before, the President reminded us that Congress has repeatedly failed to take action and pass laws that would reduce gun violence. That’s why the President a few months ago tasked his White House team with identifying new actions he can take to help reduce gun violence, and on Monday will meet with the Attorney General to discuss the options. In his address, the President called on everyone to join him in the fight to reduce gun violence, because it’s going to take all of us to make America safer for our children.

Weekly Address: President Obama – “We will not be terrorized” – UPDATED

UPDATE – Statement by the White House Press Secretary:

On Sunday, December 6th at 8:00PM EST, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office about the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe. The President will provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino. The President will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it.

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President offered his condolences to the families and community of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting. He recognized the possibility that the two attackers may have been radicalized, a reminder to all of us that we need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to attempts by extremist organizations to encourage violence. The President called on Congress to close the loophole that allows people on the No-Fly list to purchase guns, a simple and logical step that would make it harder for potential terrorists to acquire weapons. And he reminded us that we cannot accept mass shootings like this one as routine in our country, and emphasized that above all else, his priority is the safety and security of the American people.