One of the images that I will never forget about the Sandy Hook massacre is from President Obama’s first press conference on the subject at the White House. He had to wipe tears from the corner of his eyes several times, and at some point he also had to take a long pause, in order to compose himself, saying: “The majority of those who died today were children. Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents sisters and brothers of these children.” Then, referring to the parents of the children who survived he said, ” [they] know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.”
Watching him reminded me of the First Lady’s words at the Democratic National Convention, “Being President doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” When President Obama spoke of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook elementary he revealed himself. The leader of the #1 economic and military power in the world was visibly heartbroken. He showed his humanity, and how deeply he cares for Americans and the horrible things that sometimes befall us.
This is the same man who, every night, reads letters from people all over the country to remind himself of what’s important to the American people and why he’s sitting in the Oval Office.
I am proud to have such a man as my President. But beyond pride, I feel reassurance for now, beyond any doubt, I know that we have a President whose empathy truly matches his intelligence and vision. I am sure that he’ll put all three to use in passing necessary gun control laws like re-instating the ban on assault weapons. I am also confident that he will look beyond gun control to mental health issues as press secretary Jay Carney mentioned, “It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution. No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem.”
As much as Sandy Hook revealed President Obama, it must also reveal who we are. Yesterday, when I wrote My Thoughts On Sandy Hook I wasn’t sure about what we could do. I was still in shock over the loss of so many innocent lives. But today, I’m starting to see more clearly. The only way to achieve real change is to show that the will of the people is stronger than the will of the NRA. This might be easier said than done. Huffington Post reports, “Public opinion has shifted against tougher gun control in recent years, and the gun lobby is a powerful political force, particularly in Republican primaries.”
However, it’s time for all of us, anti-gun advocates as well as responsible gun owners, to come together. We have a strong common interest: protecting our children. But, if we still need an incentive, all we have to do is look at the photos of 20 innocent souls who lost their lives too soon and in a horribly violent way.
It’s up to us now to reveal who we really are.