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June 16, 2016

On Sunday our President addressed the nation for the 16th time in the wake of a horrible mass shooting. He has gone from offering sympathy, to struggling to hold back tears (Sandy Hook) to crying outright (Charleston) to speaking with a mixture of resignation and barely contained anger.

His words were measured, his delivery somber, but I heard him say quite clearly “For God’s sake America, how many times do I have to do this?”

He talked about an attack on any American being an attack on all Americans.  He talked about this being a reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that allows them to shoot fellow Americans in schools and churches and nightclubs.  Then in just 14 words, he expressed his frustration and despair and offered a challenge to the country:

We have to decide if this is the kind of country we want to be.

For a depressingly large number of people, apparently it is.

Fortunately there are many who have said no, it is not the country we want to be.

  • Chris Murphy who stood on the Senate floor for nearly 15 hours until Republicans agreed to bring gun control measures to a vote;
  • Samantha Bee who asked her producers if she could just scream for the next 7 minutes and then delivered a scathing indictment of the gun violence situation in the US ( ending with a prayer for God to please send the NRA a plague of boils.
  • John Oliver who said “right now this just hurts…and the pain is so familiar ( ending, “And now, please enjoy our stupid show”.  It must be really hard to be funny after an unspeakable tragedy.
  • Stephen Colbert ( who talks about how nothing ever changes except for the families of the victims for whom nothing will be the same again
  • Jimmy Fallon ( who talks about how America was built on the idea that the US is a tolerant, free nation and we should be brave enough to accept that we are different.

And then there is Trevor Noah ( who talks about how the country reacted to 9/11: we did something.  He ends with the question America should ask itself:

Do you want to be a country which takes reasonable measures to protect its citizens or shall we tell the President to prepare speech #17?



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