President Barack Obama said Thursday that Americans are becoming numb to gun violence after 10 people were killed at an Oregon community college.
In an impassioned address, Obama said he would bring up the issue of gun control each time there is a mass shooting — anytime four or more people are shot at one time — in the United States.
“Each time this happens, I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it,” he said. “But we are going to have to change our laws. This is not something I can do by myself.”
The gunman was identified as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, by The Oregonian. Mercer allegedly opened fire at Umpqua Community College on Thursday, killing 10 and wounding about seven before being shot dead by police.
The school is located about a three-hour drive from Portland.
According to the White House, Thursday’s address was the 15th Obama has made after a shooting.
“This has become routine,” Obama said. “The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation and the aftermath of it, we’ve become numb to this.”
Obama said the responsibility for the shootings falls on him and other lawmakers whose inaction has not solved the problem. He asked each American to consider if their lawmakers and “the organization that suggested its speaking for you” are doing their jobs.
Obama said anyone who commits a mass shooting has a sickness in their head, but other countries who have the similar mental care issues do not see large-scale shootings.
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) October 1, 2015
“We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people,” he said. “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.”
The president offered his thoughts and prayers to the families, but said they are inadequate.
“It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel,” he said.
“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,” he said. “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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