Editorial: Just two choices

Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 17, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.

Speaking at Sunday evening's memorial for the 20 children and six adults slaughtered Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., President Obama was forceful and articulate. He exhibited a sense of conviction and determination that we seldom see in politicians when talking about America's epidemic of gun violence.

“No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said. “But that can't be an excuse for inaction.”

“Because what choice do we have?

The choices are simple. Indeed, there are just two.

One choice is to surrender to the iron grip that the gun lobby holds on Congress. Surrender to the lethal politics of gridlock.

Surrender and allow the young victims and educators of Sandy Hook Elementary to fade from memory; to join the rolls of acceptable losses in a culture that worships guns above public safety.

The other choice is to lead.

It now falls to Obama to demonstrate that he possesses the will and the courage to refuse to surrender.

A ban on military-style assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines is the very least we should demand from Congress. But even those modest reforms will fail without the sustained backing of elected officials possessed of determination.

“What choice do we have?” Obama poses.

The choices are stark: surrender or lead. Please, Mr. President, lead.

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