Two mass shootings in a week. Barack Obama, the former President of the United States, has had enough. In a released statement, No. 44 said it’s time for the country to get serious about finding ways to reduce gun violence. In Georgia, a white male shot and killed eight people in a shooting spree at several massage parlors on March 16.
And then on March 22, another white lone gunman went ballistic and shot and killed 10 people, including 51-year-old police officer Eric Talley in Colorado. Colorado has a history of mass shootings, including the chilling Columbine High School tragedy and the unforgettable Aurora killings in a movie theater that left 70 shot and 12 people losing their lives.
As he shared his condolences for the families of the victims in the Boulder shooting, Obama called on America to rise up and do more on about gun reform.
“Michelle and I grieve with the families of the victims of the shooting in Boulder, just as we grieve with the families of the people killed in Atlanta and everyone else who has lost a loved one to gun violence.
We are also grateful for the courage of Officer Eric Talley, who ran into danger to protect others, and we hope his memory and the memory of all those we’ve lost will not be in vain. Because in addition to grief, we are also feeling a deep, familiar outrage that we as a nation continue to tolerate these kinds of random, senseless acts day in and day out without taking any significant action—an outrage that people in Colorado have known far too often over the years.
In so many ways, our lives may soon start to return to normal after a long, difficult year filled with so much loss. But in a normal life, we should be able to buy groceries without fear. We should be able to go to school, or go out with our friends, or worship together without mentally planning our escape if someone shows up with a gun. We should be able to live our lives without wondering if the next trip outside our home could be our last.
We should. But in America, we can’t.
It is long past time for those with the power to fight this epidemic of gun violence to do so. It will take time to root out the disaffection, racism and misogyny that fuels so many of these senseless acts of violence. But we can make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war. We can overcome opposition by cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any limit on the ability of anyone to assemble an arsenal. We can, and we must.
A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country. We shouldn’t have to choose between one type of tragedy and another. It’s time for leaders everywhere to listen to the American people when they say enough is enough—because this is a normal we can no longer afford.”