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Beckmann: Obama exploits tragedy at victim’s expense

Frank Beckmann
Special to The Detroit News

It turns out President Barack Obama wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to politicize the tragedy of last week’s mass shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The president is due to visit the city today to sympathize with families of the victims, who were a virtual afterthought in his initial remarks just hours after the tragedy and now become props in his unwavering attempt to overturn the Second Amendment.

Obama’s 12-minute statement last week included 28 references to himself as he spoke even before the victims had been identified, and just a single reference to the wounded and their families just before he concluded his remarks.

The president’s visit is not being welcomed by all with the not-welcome mat being laid out by newspaper publisher David Jaques of the Roseburg Beacon who told me the trip was “disrespectful” to the families because it is simply a politicization of Obama’s gun control effort.

Who can blame any Oregon resident — or those associated with any other mass shooting — for feeling that way.

Obama claimed last week that there are simple solutions to stopping such heinous acts as the one we witnessed at Umpqua Community College but he failed to list a single one which would have prevented the tragedy. Throughout his presidency he has sought to remove the right of Americans to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution, ignoring some very basic facts in blaming that for the occasional tragedies we witness.

The first and most glaring of these is that laws are in place to offer deterrence to behavior which is deemed to be unacceptable in our society.

Laws, in and of themselves, do not prevent crime.

Laws threaten the punishment for violating the acts they oversee.

It’s illegal to steal; it’s illegal to rape; it’s illegal to deal drugs; it’s illegal to enter our country without proper documentation; and it’s illegal to shoot another person.

These acts are, nevertheless, committed routinely by those who are willing to risk incarceration or fines for the violation of the standards society has set as the norm.

What makes us think that another background check or even a complete ban on firearms is going to stop a criminal from obtaining a gun if he or she has already decided he’s going to break even more important laws by killing people?

Additionally, these mass shootings are routinely committed in so-called “gun-free zones” where people who obey the law are sitting ducks for the killers who avoid locations where potential victims might be able to protect themselves with their own weapons in favor of soft targets.

The only people truly affected by further gun control are those law-abiding citizens who might have a chance to defend themselves against these madmen who commit mayhem and who, themselves, are not responsible for the carnage like we witnessed in Oregon last week.

The frequent canards about assault weapons are equally specious given that there are no such weapons seen on the streets of the United States, only firearms that are made to look like machine guns.

Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.