Well done

Well done July 20, 2012

One of the tasks of the Presidency is to act as National Pastor/Grief Therapist/Voice of Reassurance to the nation when it faces a trauma of national proportions. It’s been that way since forever (see, for instance, speeches ranging from the Gettysburg Address to Reagan’s beautiful tribute to the crew of the Challenger). I think Obama handled that task admirably here. There are other days for politics. Today we grieve and remember that we must love one another.

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  • Mark Shea

    PS. To the combox warrior political junkie of the Right: Do us all a kindness and refrain from acting on any impulse you may feel to talk about your ungovernable loathing for Obama or to pick apart his remarks here to score some political point.

    To the combox warrior political junkie of the Left: Do us all a kindness and refrain from acting on any impulse you may feel to talk about gun control, the NRA, right wing gun nuts or the Tea party to score some political point.

    Give it a freaking rest. People are dead. It can wait.

  • Ted Seeber

    Did you see the lady at the right at 2:56, the moment of silence?

    If one thing will get us through tragedies like this one, it will be the reflexive remembrance of our childhood faith.

    • Rosemarie


      :- ) That is nice to see.

      So far, both candidates have acted admirably, even suspending their campaigns.

  • Ron

    No matter which political leaning one has we all look to the president at times like this. All of us should be grateful for his graciousness and desire to pull us together as a nation. Thank you Mr. President. Indeed there are other times to talk politics…for everything there is a season Solomon taught us.

  • JB

    As this event has n0thing to do with politics, it’s none of Obama’s business.

    • Mark Shea

      Of *course* it’s his business. He’s the leader of a nation in mourning. Had he said nothing it would have been an affront to the victims–all 300 million of us.

      • JB

        I’m not combox warring here. Let’s agree to disagree. I don’t believe this event is properly a national one; in other words the fact that it’s extraordinarily shocking does not equate to national significance any more than international significance. A a legal matter it’s under state jurisdiction, not federal. As a moral matter it’s none of any government’s business.

        In other words part of what bothers me is the American habit (btw I’m American born and raised) of ascribing a role of moral leadership to the head of state. Moral responsibility yes, but moral leadership no.

        And is “the nation” really in mourning? For what? Not personally over those personal deaths, except for the handful who knew them. Granted, all decent persons of ALL nations ought to be shocked, but how is this particulary a US national event rather than a local one, or one concering all Mankind? What makes it peculiarly national?

        • Lennie

          Correct. And how about all those innumerable innocent souls out there who have been murdered by creeps who are addicted to pornography? This miserable “social” menace to society is available now 24/7 with childhood exposure beginning at around age 10. Is there a “political” outcry to keep it in check or to even limit it in some way? NO. None of the candidates are concerned—or have held a press conference bemoaning the irrefutable fact that it’s turning this society into a generation of perverts and the number of victims (both alive and dead) continues to grow.
          Mr. Santorum at least mentioned the possibility of wanting to DO something about its strangle-hold on society, but of course that’s the last we’ll hear of that.

          While I’m being so critical, I may as well mention that’s it’s also a shame that people continue to be wasting their time on sci-fi movies like Batman that serve no purpose whatsoever. As the Scripture predicted, in the last days, men will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

          • Adolfo

            What do you mean “wasting their time on movies like Batman that serve no purpose”? What were you doing this weekend, curing cancer?

          • Ted Seeber

            Sci-Fi movies often serve a purpose- they give us utopias to dream for, and dystopias to avoid.

            In fact, I’m willing to bet that you have quite a few pieces of technology in your life that you depend on, that started out as plot elements in sci-fi shows. The obvious one is the personal communicator aka the cellular phone. Only took about 75 years to go from science fiction to absolute common fact.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              For me, you’re undercutting your argument. So skiffy is responsible for the boatload of technology that threatens to enslave me?

              Full disclosure, over a decade ago, in another life, I was on the bellsouth.net team that brought asyncronous digital subscriber line to market for internet. Even then, I wouldn’t carry the cell phone they provided me until answering it everytime my boss called was the only way to keep the job.

              I don’t need an electric leash. You’re making me hate Bradbury, even. 😉

        • Meggan

          Maybe it’s an event that happened to a relatively small group of people in one community in the whole United States, but it IS a national event. That’s all that was on TV news yesterday. Everywhere I went yesterday people were talking about it. Comments from so many people on Facebook and Twitter. The nation noticed it, even if it wasn’t technically a “national event.”
          I’m glad our President spoke to it. He didn’t call a press conference, he made comments during a regular campaign stop. Bravo President Obama.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Got it. Only New Yorkers can mourn 9-11. Only Coloradans can mourn this, or Columbine.

          Solidarity be damned. Who cares about our fellow countrymen?

        • Imrahil

          Neither am I combox-warring here, but if you say

          part of what bothers me is the American habit (btw I’m American born and raised) of ascribing a role of moral leadership to the head of state.

          you can replace “American” by “all-human”. And I’m just thinking about whether it is modern man or all men of all times, and I do guess it is all men of all times; it was at least all European men of not only modern but also monarchical times.

  • kim

    Good for Obama. Good for Mark for a gracious, apropo point about seasons and Obama’s role.
    But don’t ask me to look to Obama for leadership or comfort. I do not look to this president, I simply agree to be silent and respect his leadership role.

  • Glad he said something, and I sincerely congratulate Mr. Obama for waiting till next week to politicize this.

    • Mark Shea

      Shut up. Give it a rest.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    300 Million victims? Doesn’t that cheapen brutal murder? I mean, I understand that people who frequent theatres might be scared to go now. A lot of us have had illusions of peace shattered. It’s just not on par with a bullet to the cranium.

    Maybe National Therapist is one of the reasons you elect for this position, but its not inherent in the job, and just seems like a lot of sentimentalism for no good reason.

    I guess at most I will say it’s a mark in this particular president’s favor that he didn’t use this politically, yet.

    • Mark Shea

      With respect. Shut Up. People are dead. Give it a freaking rest.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        With respect, I’m not saying anything left or right. I’m saying let’s mourn the dead, not ourselves. We, you and I, aren’t victims of this, in any way. And the people who did die deserve better than our histrionics. So frankly, it may be your house, Mark, but you shut up. I’ll take my leave.

        • Mark Shea

          Don’t leave. Just respect the fact that a lot people are in mourning.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            I’ve not disrespected mourners, Mark. And I’m sorry if anyone felt I was. But the mourners aren’t the guy being loaded in the hearse. He’s the victim there. And I can still comfort mourners while keeping it straight in my head that they aren’t the victim.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Sorry to have to strongly disagree here. All the people who mourn a victim are also victims. I have done some reading recently about the often permanent damage to the families of such victims of crime, damage that can be carried even through generations. I have some experience of it: My mother’s already fragile mental state was immeasurably made worse after my dad’s sister has been the victim of a crime; in turn this seriously affected my own life, and my brother’s life, for decades, and my brother’s problem have probably affected his own children…
              And another point: Sure, the person being loaded in the hearse is the victim. But does not our faith tell us that this life is not all there is, that the Lord can recall any of us back to Him, at any time. With that point of view, it is those who are left behind that need all the support we can give them. They will be affected for the rest of their mortal lives. For the “actual”victims, we can all pray that they were ready to meet Jesus, and/or that Divine Mercy will meet them and bring them to God.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Then we’re all just victims, Martha, don’t you see? I watched a dear friend blow his own head off 10 feet from me at 18. Watched Death stalk my Dad (my only parent, mind you) for 6 long hard years. Walked in to find my house in disarray and my girl crying in the bathroom over what a stranger did to her.

                I’m no victim. I am Man.

                • Bill

                  I agree with you completely Marthe.

    • Ted Seeber

      It’s 4 days later, so I hope this is appropriate.

      As far as I’m concerned, “National Therapist” has been in the Job Description since the Civil War. It really heated up with the Siege of the Bonus Army in the Depression, and with the JFK Assassination where it was passed to the Vice President as well. It’s gotten worse now that we have mass communication and can actually get news from New York to Oregon in under a week.

  • Elaine S.

    “What makes it peculiarly national?”
    Maybe the fact that in terms of total casualties — deaths (12) AND injuries (70+) — it’s the bloodiest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Though fewer people died, MORE people apparently got hit by the bullets in this incident than at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, or any other non-war-related mass shooting incident. Plus it also happens to be linked to one of the most highly anticipated entertainment events of the year — on a par, in terms of movie fan interest, with Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc.

    • JB

      None of which makes it National.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Maybe it does. But its a reminder just how foreign the nation currently inhabiting my Patria is to me.

        I’ll grant that huge amounts of senseless carnage are American as apple pie. I’ll grant you that a desire for mindless entertainment of the most brutal sort is a unifying feature of the American people.

        Ok, you win. It’s a national event.

    • Ted Seeber

      That just makes the shooter a better aim

  • Bill

    Anytime we hear of people being killed it should be a national issue. These are our brothers and sisters who were killed. We all mourn for them

    And this is why we have a President and not a Prime Minister. He is the Head of State and, like of or not, this is part of that particular office.

    It’s also why the Holy Father had so many distinct titles. The Petrine Office contains multitudes. The Presidency does too.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      America is a confessional state, I’ll grant you that.

  • JB

    Bill wrote: “Anytime we hear of people being killed it should be a national issue.”
    WHY NATIONAL? Why not “state”, or more broadly a WORLD issue?
    Why should any NATION be the MAIN focus of evil and murder?
    That would only make sense IF you equate the NATION with the standard of good and evil!
    As for me, I don’t look to the USA for moral guidance. Rather, I look to the Church.

    • Bill

      It should be a world issue. Anytime people are killed we should mourn. Here, in Syria, anywhere.

      And nobody here is not looking to the Church for guidance.

      But we are also all Americans, and this touches us all.

      I don’t understand why you’re getting so riled up about this.

  • JB

    (Rant on):
    DON’T YOU GET iT? Christ’s Kingdom is NOT oF THIS WORLD!

    Government is an inevitable condiion of this fallen, sinful world, but NO government has ANYthing to do with Jesus Christ’s Kingdom!

    DO – or WILL – you Americans ever understand? GOD’S KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD! And mutatis mutandis, AMERICA IS NOT SPECIAL!

    • Meggan

      No man is an island.

    • Ted Seeber

      Every time I hear a person say Christ’s Kingdom is not of This World, I wonder what they are doing online to begin with.

  • JB

    To follow my above rants:
    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  • Bill

    Not one person here is saying Christ’s Kingdom is of this world.

    We are saying that our fellow countrymen were gunned down and we’re mourning. And there is a person who holds an office that has a component element that is meant to unite everyone who lives here. And, unfortunately, not everyone is Catholic. So considering that the US isn’t a part of the Papal States the President takes on that responsibility as Head of State.

  • Pansy Moss

    This happened in the town I live in yesterday: http://www.leaderherald.com/page/content.detail/id/548771/Police–Teen-took-rifle–killed-two-in-town.html?nav=5011
    I worked with the aunts of each of the victims. Wondered why the police didn’t care to investigate when the boys went missing. We all feel a personal loss here and with the Colorado event, yesterday was a horrible day to scrape through even though none in my family were injured in either event.

    Something has gone very wrong when these things happen and we all wonder what, if we could’ve prevented anything. And we all feel slightly traumatized. I think the notion these events don’t affect us wrong and jaded. I think we are more interconnected in ways we care to acknowledge or can understand, in the very least to wonder “what if it were me or mine; how scary because it very well could’ve been”.

  • Pansy Moss

    Also, I thought the president’s talk was well done as well.

  • Dave G.

    For me, I prefer to remember and pray for the victims, those dead and those left alive to mourn. And I guess prayers for the country are in order as well.

  • JB

    “…there is a person who holds an office that has a component element that is meant to unite everyone who lives here.”

    There is no such office in the US Constitution. The office of President was intended to be strictly an administrative one, and one with very limited powers too.

    And I’m appalled – but not surprised – by the inability or unwilligness of otherwise well educated American Catholics to understand how and why the Federal government of the USA has absolutely zero moral authority nor any spiritual role whatsoever. Nationalism has demented the American mind.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      But who’s talking about moral authority here? Does the president represent US citizens or doesn’t he?

      You’re so desperate to take a shot at Obama over this that you’ve taken a stunningly indefensible position.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Nope, I’ll wager most of us taking this position would hold it if Ronnie Raygun himself were to rise form his crypt and comfort the nation. In fact, the person you responded to gave absolutely NO indication one way or the other about his feelings for Obama.

        I’m curious what causes your bias, Andy?

    • Dave G.

      If that’s the case, the first person considered for office of the President would have been the congressional clerk. Instead they found someone who was a leader, who inspired, who was loved, and who was a great many things not laid out in the Constitution.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Or rather, the richest dude in the room, the one who showed up in his Blue and Brass military uniform to remind everyone how he had conducted himself in the French and Indian War. Which wasn’t too spectacular to begin with.

        Only in America can a super-wealthy self-aggrandizing toothless slaver be remember in such great fashion.

  • Todd Weaver

    That day is today. He has shutdown huge sectors of airspace while he makes this a campaign issue thus inconveniencing thousands of travelers in CO and CA later today along with NV.
    I almost wish he’d stay home in his public housing but he can do even more damage there

    • Ted Seeber

      Link? I see no shutdown, but I was on vacation this weekend and not paying attention to the news.

  • A couple days, and already folks are staking their ideological claims on this event. It’s a reminder that we are a nation of pundits, not principles.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      I don’t think you can accurately define ‘ideology’ with Webster’s in your hand, frankly.

  • Todd Weaver

    Dave G.
    Yes indeed