On Thursday morning, our nation suffered the latest in a never-ending series of mass shooting tragedies when 26 year-old Chris Harper Mercer opened fire at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon, killing 10 and injuring 7. As is usually the case with these (now routine) stories, details of the shootings themselves are much more sparse than those about the killer, who left an extensiveonlinefootprint.
President Obama took to the podium of the Brady Briefing Room one more time Thursday night, and delivered yet another frustrated statement on a mass shooting. This one had an even angrier edge than usual:
And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic. I would ask news organizations -- because I won't put these facts forward -- have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won't be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
We also have Sheriffs and others who, like gun-nut Kim Davises, refuse to enforce federal gun laws that they, themselves, see as violating the 2nd amendment. Among them is Sheriff John Hanlin, whose office is handling the investigation. Hanlin was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo Friday morning, and tried his best not to engage in any discussion of gun policy because he wanted to "give the community an opportunity to heal," but a dogged Cuomo finally got him to admit that his views on the subject have not changed in the wake of this incident:
"I want to ensure that this community has an opportunity to heal as well as the victims' families. right now, that is my focus."
i totally hear you on that. it's something we observe scrupulously every time. i say every time because i've been to more of these than i have probably been to anything else when it comes to news coverage. i think it is respecting the families. i do think it is part of the healing process. what they want most is to not see this again. what do you think of what president obama just said that we are fooling ourselves and we're not caring about each other if we continue to ignore the role of guns in these crimes?
"...My position on it has not changed."
"...I'm not going to waste the time today, or any time in the real near future, having the firearm debate."
If you're wondering just what Hanlin's position was (and still is), you only need to look at the letter he wrote to Vice President Joe Biden after allowing the community of Newtown a generous four weeks to heal, at which point Hanlin apparently felt it appropriate to "waste the time" on the firearms debate:
This letter serves two purposes. First, to make a formal request that you NOT tamper with or attempt to amend the 2nd Amendment. Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings. Any actions against, or in disregard for our U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights by the current administration would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people.
I fully agree with the statement made by Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller in a recent letter he sent you. He stated, “In the wake of recent criminal events, politicians are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by advocating for laws that would prevent honest, law abiding Americans from possessing certain firearms and ammunition magazines. We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.”
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that when a Sheriff chooses to enforce an unconstitutional directive, he is violating his Constitutional Oath. I will NOT violate my Constitutional Oath. Therefore, the second purpose of this letter is to make notification that any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my
deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Douglas County Oregon.
In conclusion, it is my position as Sheriff of Douglas County, Oregon that I will refuse to participate in, nor tolerate enforcement actions against citizens that are deemed unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that it is the Supreme Court which interprets the Constitution, not county officials.
Just to show you how twisted this guy is, there is one measure that Sheriff Hanlin believes will prevent future mass shootings: name control.
"I don't want to glorify the shooter. I don't want to glorify his name. I don't want to glorify his cause. In order to prevent that, I'm refusing to state his name. The Oregon state medical examiner's office will put out a notice identifying who the shooter is, but, again, that's the only information that will come out. You won't hear his name from me or from this investigation."
Sheriff Hanlin refuses to lift a finger to keep guns out of dangerous hands, which is supposed to be his job, but when someone goes on a murderous shooting rampage, he also won't tell you that person's name, which is also his job.
President Obama's frustration notwithstanding, it is hard to escape the conclusion that we get the government we deserve. Hanlin has been elected Sheriff twice with over 98% of the vote, and is once again running unopposed for Sheriff of Douglas County.