‘Our prayers are not enough’: Obama condemns US Oregon shooting

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Oct 02, 2015 08:21 IST
Authorities carry a shooting victim away from the scene after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. (AP Photo)

“There’s been another mass shooting in America -- this time, in a community college in Oregon.” That opening sentence from President Barack Obama’s remarks captured his frustration.

“As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

“It’s not enough,” he said in an address from the pressroom, grim-faced, making no attempt to conceal his anger and frustration at continued mass shootings because of lax gun laws.

A lone gunman went classroom to classroom at a community college in Oregon shooting people, before being killed in an exchange of fire with police officers.

The shooter was identified as Charles Harper Mercer, 26, late Thursday night, but there was still no word about his motives.

This was the 45th mass shooting in the US this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit set up by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Another group, Mass Shooting Tracker, which defines mass shooting as any incident in which four more people die, has said there have been 294 mass shooting this year.

Obama was informed of the shooting, and his spokesman Josh Earnest said “sensible steps” to protect communities from gun violence remained a top priority.

That was before Obama came to the podium himself. “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.”

Obama lobbied hard for what are called commonsense gun laws after the Newtown massacre of first graders in 2013, but saw himself stymied by the power gun lobby.

But the president never gave up, making a pitch for gun control laws at every opportunity presented by every such tragedy, however unfortunate.

And that’s how he ended his speech.

“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. And it can change.”

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