American Elephants

The Proliferation of Presidential Posturing by The Elephant's Child

If you looked into the exit polls from the recent election, you will discover that the economy and jobs were the primary concern for voters and they thought that Gov. Romney would be better about that, but they thought that Obama cared about people like them, and Romney didn’t. Many people have suggested that Obama’s putting in an appearance at the devastation of Superstorm Sandy gained a lot of votes for him. Obama’s very presence showed that he cared.

Another way for a president to show his concern is to set up a commission. We have heard endlessly about Vice President Biden’s committee’s meetings and investigations into ways to prevent gun violence. Obama has turned to executive orders to show how concerned he is, and of course he will urge Congress to — take steps. He has issued 23 Executive Orders, and 9 ‘legislative ideas’ that the president wants to push through Congress, beginning, of course with the more pliable Senate.

The issuance of Executive Orders was accompanied by four children who have written letters to the White House about gun violence, ‘unexpectedly’ from four different ethnic groups.  The orders themselves are remarkably free of anything that would have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary or any other school, but if you are going to make an event out of the signing, it’s nice to have some kids on hand.

The NRA which did suggest something that would help to prevent gun violence, which is to have an armed guard in schools, and pointed out that the president’s children were protected by a number of armed guards. The White House responded:

Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

That’s why the president signed the executive orders surrounded by children who are being used as pawns in a political fight.

The White House has released the list of executive orders, but the annotated list (exactly the same, with added comment) is way more fun. Here’s what he wants Congress to do:

  • Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the “gun show loophole.”)
  • Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.
  • Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
  • Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.
  • Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
  • End the freeze on gun violence research.
  • Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.
  • Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.
  • Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.

The gun show “loophole” really isn’t much of a loophole, and sounds more threatening than it is. The reason we discarded the assault weapons ban is because it accomplished nothing at all. Magazines or clips can be changed in about 2 seconds, so reducing the number of bullets in a magazine is not a big deal. The semiautomatic that Adam Lanza used to shoot 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults, complied with Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, and the boy did not buy the gun himself. President Obama said his goal is “to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can’t walk into a school and gun down a bunch of children in a shockingly rapid fashion.”

The president , surrounded by children argues that the Sandy Hook massacre demonstrates the need for gun control policies that have nothing to do with the Sandy Hook massacre. Our schools would not be mad safer with more school resource officers and counselors, unless they happen to be armed. It took 20 minutes for police to arrive, which may be a simple problem of distance.

Major Nidal Hassan, who committed the Fort Hood massacre, was a psychiatrist, supervised by other psychiatrists. Timothy McVeigh didn’t use guns at all, but fertilizer. Most people who decide or plan to carry out a mass murder are pretty good at keeping their intent secret. One thing we do know from statistics is that perpetrators usually avoid any venue where they might be shot.  They head for gun-free zones.

To complete the posturing, the president subtly suggests that those who oppose his ideas — don’t care about the children.


2 Comments so far
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The orders themselves are remarkably free of anything that would have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary or any other school, but if you are going to make an event out of the signing, it’s nice to have some kids on hand.

That’s my biggest beef.

In my job I often press people to ask the right questions and gather the right data.

Neither has been done here by Biden or Obama.


Comment by pino

I’m not sure that there are any right answers, but it helps if you start with the right questions and data. I’ve seen two pleas from single mothers who are scared by their disturbed children, yet cannot get help. Politicians will posture as long as it works, and it seems to.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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