Sunday, December 16, 2012

President addresses nation from Newtown Sunday night, says we are all parents


On Sunday night, I was concluding supper at a sports bar, Thirsty Bernie’s, in Arlington VA, where Sunday night football was on the plasma TV’s.  The broadcast was punctuated when President Obama appeared at an Interfaith service in Newtown, CT to address the nation.

The gathering in the bar became completely quiet.

CNN has a story on with videos, here.  CNN has made the videos unavailable for embedding, an unusual step for this media company.

I have not yet found the complete text online.  I expect that it will appear soon at “whitehouse.gov”.
    
The president did not mention gun control specifically. However he said that parents cannot raise their children all by themselves, and that the nation would have to work together to make the environment safer for the next generation.  He made a particularly interesting statement, something like “We are all parents for all our children”.  Check the text when it appears for the exact wording. That statement would include the childless, and give them some responsibility for the actions of others.  He went on, "This is our first test, caring for our children. If we don't get that right, nothing else matters." He also said that becoming a parent is like feeling your heart go outside your body. The love of one's own kids takes one into spaces larger than oneself.  I did wonder how that applies to non-parents.  

The president allowed himself a little humor, saying that one child offered that he knew karate (like a younger Taylor Lautner).

There are a lot of other issue that, at least indirectly or in a sense of commons, affect the ability of parents to provide safety for their children besides just the availability of weapons to ordinary Americans.  I’ll save talking about the Second Amendment or the effectiveness of gun laws for another time (although someone from the NRA did tell Piers Morgan on CNN tonight that another armed civilian may have helped stopped the incident in Oregon, a fact that I had not heard yet.)

Some of the other issues that affect the common good would include violence in media, and the possible dangerous effects of unsupervised user generated content that may in practice may be very hard for parents to monitor.  That could get into the Section 230 issues that I’ve talked about on my main blog. 

It also raises the question of how any one of us might react if suddenly confronted with an unexpected challenge caused by the danger to someone else, whether by accident, natural disaster, or wrongdoing of others.  That possibility doesn’t wait just for people to become parents.  
The president used the word "comfort" at least twice.  That concept was mentioned in conjunction with Psalm 42 in church this morning. The president did refer to his Christian faith several times.  

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