Obama, Romney Can't Avoid the Gun Issue
The Colorado movie-theater shootings could and should alter the dynamic of the presidential election.
"Obama did not talk about ways to address the problem in his statement Friday morning from Fort Myers, Fla.," Froomkin observed. "Despite being an outspoken advocate of tougher gun measures earlier in his political career, he has almost never raised the topic as president."
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told Froomkin much the same, saying that Obama "has not asserted his voice or leadership in that dialogue."
That also probably just changed.
Both Obama and Romney were just about pitch-perfect in their responses to Friday's horrors, but their statements will eventually be seen as hollow and expedient if, in the wake of the worst single mass shooting in the nation's history, both men navigate back to what they think is business as usual on the campaign trail.
There's no good reason to think that what happened Friday won't or shouldn't be part of what they talk about from now until Election Day. Reason? What happened on Friday is never far enough off the national radar.
Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, told the Huffington Post that, with the ballistic force that's readily available to anyone, Friday's tragedy was more or less an inevitability. "You put a military level of firepower in the hands of civilians, and this is the natural result," she said.
The consequences of that firepower, of our gun culture, of the muzzle velocity of the gun lobby within our politics, deserve to join everything else we've been talking about -- jobs, the economy, abortion rights, immigration -- in a jam-packed election year.
As of 12:39 a.m. Mountain Time on Friday morning, "business as usual" changed. What we talk about -- and what the candidates had better be talking about -- will be changing, too.