The image became devastatingly familiar—President Obama appearing at the podium, addressing the American people following another mass shooting in the United States. In his administration alone—in nearly eight years—there have been 14 mass shootings in the United States.
Obama himself has acknowledged the uneasy familiarity of the trend. Following the mass shooting in a community college in Oregon in October, the president said “somehow this has become routine. The reporting has become routine. My response here, from this podium, has become routine.”
The idea of 14 mass shootings, where a total of 170 people were killed, being “routine,” is chilling.
Each of the 14 shootings garnered a national address by the president, where he joined the American people in mourning the loss of lives cut short. One striking instance of this was the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 28 people were killed, most of them children.
“The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams,” the president said following the shootings.
The subject of gun control legislation, which the president has often mentioned during his administration, has resurfaced with the Sunday shooting massacre in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed in the worst shooting in U.S. history.
“Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well,” the president said, following the Orlando shootings.