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Obama Speaks Out on Mass Shootings: We Should Reject Language From Leaders That Feeds Hatred

Former President Barack Obama released a scathing statement Monday following the weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

“No other nation on earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the level of gun violence that we do,” said Obama. “Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun legislation won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every derange individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places.”

He said that evidence does show stricter gun laws can stop some killings. “We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our laws, these tragedies will keep happening.”

He said that the El Paso shooting followed a “dangerous trend” of troubled individuals who follow racist ideologies and “see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy.”

Without naming names, he then condemned the rhetoric of leaders which “normalizes racist sentiments.”

“All of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy,” said Obama. “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear or hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”

He and President Donald Trump seemed to agree on one point — that these shooters were likely being radicalized by the internet. “That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups,” said Obama.

22 have now died as a result of a mass shooting in an El Paso, Texas Walmart. Based on the shooter’s manifesto, it appears that he targeted El Paso due to its high Hispanic population. The El Paso police chief  said the shooter had purchased his weapon legally. Nine were killed in Dayton, Ohio outside of a bar. The Dayton shooter had purchased his AR-15-style rifle legally online from Texas.

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