On Saturday, President Obama handed over the camera and teleprompter to the mother of a victim of Sandy Hook Elementary shooter Adam Lanza. Explaining his exploitative choice via email to his entire WhiteHouse.gov email list, Obama explained:
Each week, like many presidents before me, I sit down to record a short address to the nation. It’s something I take very seriously because it offers a chance to bring focus to an issue that needs to be part of the national dialogue.
But today, I’ve asked someone to take my place.
Francine Wheeler is a mother. She and her family live in Newtown, Connecticut. Four months ago, her six year-old son Ben was murdered in his elementary school, along with 19 other children and six brave educators.
Joined by her husband David, Francine shares her perspective about the steps we can take to reduce gun violence and prevent the kind of tragedy she understands all too well.
It’s a message that every American should hear:
Watch Francine, then join her in speaking out to make our country safer.
This week, because people like Francine and like you got involved, the U.S. Senate took a step forward on commonsense reforms to reduce gun violence.
And that’s good. Because this shouldn’t be about politics. This is about doing the right thing for families that have been torn apart by gun violence, and for all our families going forward.
But we’ve got a lot of work to do before Congress finishes the job.
So if you believe that we can take sensible steps to protect more of our kids from gun violence and protect our Second Amendment rights, stand up and join us.
Wheeler’s address was emotional, as befitting the mother of a murdered child. She talked at length about her son, Ben, and described how he wanted to play piano, and become an architect or paleontologist. Then she turned to politics, praising President Obama and criticizing Senators who, in her view, had been intransigent about her preferred legislative option: gun control. “When I packed for Washington on Monday,” she said, “it looked like the Senate might not act at all. Then, after the president spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to move forward. But that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to makes sure they never do.”
It is Wheeler’s choice to appear on camera. But it is President Obama’s choice to exploit her tragedy, perversely hiding behind her grief rather than making actual arguments as to why gun control would lower the rate of incidents like those in Sandy Hook. Nothing Obama is pushing will make any child in America safer; calling on shooting victims’ family members to avoid making a rational case for legislation is the hallmark of a political bully.
To label gun rights advocates opponents of child safety is malicious propagandizing. President Obama, though, is a vicious and manipulative propagandizer. And if he has to use the tears of a grieving mother to ram through bad legislation, he has no problem doing so.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).