Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Barack Obama's statement on the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings

Former US President Barack Obama [MARTIN BUREAU | AFP/Getty Images]
Published Aug. 6

Editor's note: This is the text of a statement that former President Barack Obama posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true.

First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we're told that tougher gun laws won't stop all murders; that they won't stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.

Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy. Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they've been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.

But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn't new — it's been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it's time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva
    What would happen if Visit Florida went away tomorrow, asks Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva?
  2. 27 minutes ago• Opinion
    Dec. 3, 2019, front page of Tampa Bay Times Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  3. Columnist Paula Dockery
    Roads to nowhere would be expensive boondoggles, Paula Dockery writes.
  4. George Buck, left, a Republican running for Congress in St. Petersburg, and Jim Waurishuk, chairman of the Hillsborough County Republican Party [Times]
    Two local Republicans add to the nation’s toxicity.
  5. 77 percent of participants in a recent public opinion poll indicated that childcare challenges caused negative impacts on their career or that of a family member. EDWARD J BOCK III  |  iStockphoto.com
    When employees struggle with child care challenges, employers are affected as well.
  6. President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci); Transcript of Trump conversation with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow) Associated Press
    Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
  7. Florida State Prison in Raiford.
    The Legislature must invest now for the sake of public safety.
  8. Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement