December 17, 2012
Three days after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, the White House is making clear that this time – this mass shooting, in which 20 first-graders were gunned down – is different.
But President Obama has also made clear that he is going to take a little time first to figure out exactly how to proceed. The message: Dealing with the mass shootings that have been occurring with alarming regularity is not just about gun control, or law enforcement, or mental health services. It’s about all of the above, and more.
On Sunday night, speaking at an ecumenical prayer service at Newtown High School, Mr. Obama vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to prevent future such tragedies, but did not offer specifics. On Monday, at his daily White House briefing, spokesman Jay Carney also declined to elaborate on what might be under consideration, but his message was “stay tuned,” not “stop asking.”
“It's a complex problem that will require a complex solution,” Mr. Carney said. “No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem.”
Carney also reinforced the president’s message from Sunday, which is that he intends to engage lawmakers, law-enforcement officials, mental-health professionals, and educators in addressing the issue of gun violence. Obama noted in his remarks that the massacre Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 26 people were killed, was the fourth time as president he has come to comfort a grieving community beset by a mass shooting.
“We’re not doing enough,” Obama said. “And we will have to change.”