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An emotional Pres. Obama addressed the nation Friday afternoon about the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took the lives of at least 20 children and six adults.
Hitting the proper note, the President said he was responding not as the president but as a parent. Wiping away a tear or two and speaking haltingly, he observed that most of the victims were "beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."
He went on: "Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children. And for the families of the adults who were lost."
He also said his thoughts were with the parents and children who survived, knowing the trauma and loss of innocence they endured.
He said he and the First Lady tonight would do what parents all over the country are going to do, which is to hug their loved ones a little tighter.
But he did also speak as the President, saying: "As a country, we have been through this too many times." He mentioned "a shopping mall in Oregon, a temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago." And he said, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action and prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
On one TV screen I was watching, a ticker read: "Pres. orders flags at half-staff."
While appropriate, that can't be the "meaningful action" he rightly said was needed.
And I'm reminded that during the Presidential campaign, he studiously dodged the issue of gun control.
He -- and we -- can dodge it no longer.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Mazal Tov to Dan Savage and Terry Miller on Their Wedding."
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