US President Barack Obama has had enough.
“Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last.
“Fort Hood. Binghamton. Aurora. Oak Creek. Newtown. The Navy Yard. Santa Barbara. Charleston. San Bernardino. Too many.”
This was the opener of a passionate speech the President made overnight announcing new gun control measures, that he was enacting without asking for permission from Congress.
“I’m not on the ballot again. I’m not looking to score some points. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable,” he said.
“We don’t need to be talking past one another. But we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now”. Because people are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice.”
At times Obama fought back tears, as he spoke about the immense loss of life in the US due to gun violence.
Over 30,000 Americans die from gun violence annually.
“The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence.
“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.
“And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarised, partisan debates.”