When the massacre at Sandy Hook occurred three years ago, I went through my own personal sea change.
To this day I cannot shake the photos of those babies from my mind, class photos that captured these tiny miracles at the moment of their first blossoming. The parade of faces captured the heartbreaking pain of future promise shattered.
I saw my nephew in those faces, a boy who carries my hopes and expectations and immense love with him on his shoulders into his own classroom every morning. Today he is 7, the age of those little martyred ones. Then, he was 4 and all I wanted to do was run home and hold him tightly while blocking out the idea that children could be shot, point blank, and ripped from the world they’d only begun to explore.
Is there anything more painful than looking at the photo of a smiling child, days and weeks and years after that child’s sudden death? I can’t think of anything, and I have never lost a son or daughter. But you don’t need to have experienced that greatest tragedy in life to understand what it takes from you.
And that is why I understand why President Obama wept this week when he talked about the victims of Sandy Hook. It is why I believe those tears were real, and not conjured for a photo-op to advance a lame duck political agenda. It is why I know this most unemotional of men broke down, even briefly, in front of the cameras.
And it is why I was angered by the reaction from friends and fellow travelers on the conservative side who ridiculed him, or challenged the authenticity of his feelings, or piled on with analogies of other deaths Barack Obama had failed to sufficiently mourn.
I read social media posts telling me I was a naive fool to think that a man who presumably had no concern for the family of border agent Brian Terry could genuinely care about dead 7-year-olds. I was told that a man who allowed one of his ambassadors to be massacred in cold blood by jihadists could not empathize with the parents of Sandy Hook. I was warned not to fall for the dog and pony show served up for the anti-gun crowd.
Finally, I was bombarded with legal treatises as to why the President’s executive orders addressing gun control were either unconstitutional, unworkable or unnecessary because they duplicated much of what was already written into existing legislation.
I happen to agree that the executive orders will probably not hold up if challenged in a court of law, primarily because they invade the jurisdiction of Congress. But then again, I was wrong about the viability of his immigration initiatives last year, which are tied up in litigation, so I’m not an expert on the likely outcome for these new executive orders.
But that’s not what bothers me the most. People can take issue with the legality of an act. If they are running for office, like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they can make statements about repealing those initiatives, and make the base happy.
That’s politics, and that’s fine.
What bothers me the most are the people who smugly come out and say that Barack Obama didn’t really mean it when he was crying about those dead babies, or that he should have cried for others, too.
This is not a zero sum game. And frankly, there is something special-horrifically so-about murdered 7-year-olds, or Amish school girls lined up and massacred by a deranged delivery man. Anyone who doesn’t cry about them is not human. Barack Obama, for whatever flaws he possesses (and I think he is greatly flawed,) is human. I believe his tears were genuine.
And suggesting otherwise says more about his critics than it does about him.
© 2015 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at [email protected]
It’s hard to believe that someone as narcissistic as Obama would cry for anyone but himself. He’s definitely delusional. Maybe he’s slipping further into psychosis.
Brian, if you ever spend hours and hours with the families of people whose loved ones were senselessly murdered, you might understand the President’s tears. Numerous reporters who covered this event all noted the intense sadness in the room and the tears on the faces of everyone present. But I doubt you care.
Brian just made the point the article was trying to make. . .try showing some compassion and empathy for those who
feel the same. Shameful comment, but not suprising when it comes from a political point of view instead of
compassion for those who lost family members.
I’m not at all sure that Brian (“It’s hard to believe that someone as narcissistic as Obama would cry for anyone but himself. He’s definitely delusional. Maybe he’s slipping further into psychosis.”) and Christine Flowers are at all on the same wave length.
Did he ‘comfort’ Kate Steinle from SF? Nah, not a big deal, she was murdered by a innocent illegal from Mexico, here for the 6th time after being deported. Did he call her parents, NO, HE DID NOT
Does he cry for these gun violence victims:
or only ones that can further his agenda?
None of his executive “actions” will prevent innocent people from dying. They will, however, create more barriers to owning a means of protection for those in charge of protecting innocent people.
I’ve heard the president talking about all gun violence for years. So having to wait for a background check creates a barrier that no self-respecting citizen should have to undergo, or, for that matter, any would-be murderer, terrorist, or any other kind of malcontent. I understand that the background checks in Colorado last year kept guns from around 2000 people who shouldn’t have them. Why do you think unlicensed dealers at gun shows should be able to sell whatever they want to whoever they want? I’m curious.
You should go to a gun show and confirm what you are saying. If someone has a table at a gun show then they are selling for profit, which would make them a firearms dealer. Those with tables do background checks. In some states, not Colorado anymore, private individuals could sell a firearm to another private individual but that has nothing to do with a gun show. There is no such thing as a gun show loop hole. That is meme created to dupe people like you.
Criminals buy firearms on the street without getting background checks and the background check cannot tell if someone is a would be murderer or malcontent. They are useless in this respect.
Further more the state constitution says that the right to bear arms shall not be called into question. Any state back ground check calls that right into question.
The federal constitution states the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. All federal gun laws are unconstitutional.
If you don’t like this why don’t you follow the law and propose and get passed amendments to the constitution rather than promoting illegal laws.
Oooh, I’m so glad you cleared that up. Criminals NEVER buy guns at gun shows. OK, you win. I won’t go into all the legal issues since your scholarship in this area seems to show your deep knowledge of the issue. Background checks call your god-given, constitutional right into question, even if a check turns up to show you’re ineligible to pack heat. OK, got it.
And yet, can NOT bring himself to say ‘ISLAMIC TERRORISTS’ He did have the family of Bergdahl to the WH, nice, and also said about two thugs who were killed by upstanding police, ‘they could have been my sons’ and I wish they were.
And just what would that do? I’ve been very curious about the right’s obsession with this. I know you to be a wise and insightful person, so please enlighten me.
The ‘right’s obsession’? Harsher sentencing for criminals who use illegal guns, or guns to commit crime. This was Never about honest Americans who own guns, this has Always been about criminals, but this bunch can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. In Chicago, the highest murder by gun in the nation, your guy has Never said a word, not one word, but continues to harp on ‘background checks’, which criminals never indulge themselves in, you see, criminals don’t follow laws or rules. You can pretend sarcasm, but won’t listen to hard facts of what’s really taking place.
For once we agree. This isn’t about honest Americans who own guns. It’s about ferreting out the bad guys with background checks, something the political right, along with their friends at the NRA have opposed.
If you think that harsh sentences will deter someone in the act of murdering someone in a fit of passion or robbing a bank or store, you know something about human nature that I don’t. States with some of the harshest sentences for capital crimes have some of the highest murder rates.
But let’s not try to keep criminals (or would-be criminals) from ever owning a gun in the first place. Don’t want to make those ‘good guys with guns’ have to wait a day or two to buy their umpteenth firearm.
OK, I’m done. Gotta go celebrate my birthday, that is if I don’t get shot first.
The rights’ obsession with the phrase “Islamic Terrorists”. That’s what I was talking about.
That is NOT an obsession, that is who we’re fighting, that is who wants us dead, that is who murdered over 3000 innocents at the World Trade Towers, that is who tried to do the same thing earlier with bombs placed in the sub-structure in NYC, that is who may be the most despicable bunch ever to inhabit this world. And you believe your leader, Obama, who can’t bring himself to even say the words, ISLAMIC TERRORISM!
Do you think the Ku Klux Klan who lynched black people were Christian Terrorists? Or the man who murdered Dr. Tiller in his church. Was he a Christian Terrorist?
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“I happen to agree that the executive orders ”
They were not executive orders. They were executive actions. Big difference but dupes like Mrs. Flowers really don’t care about that.
No, he shouldn’t defend his ‘tears’, he should be strung up for trying to turn America into another ‘third world’ country of Muslims.