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Libération, France

Newtown: A Test of
Obama’s Political Courage

By Fabrice Rousselot

Translated By Diana Huet de Guerville

17 December 2012

Edited by Hana Livingston


France - Libération - Original Article (French)

"We can't take it anymore. Children were killed in a school. It's madness if the president doesn't do something now. This can't go on."* On Saturday, this woman came to St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown to light a candle for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Even through her tears, her anger was palpable.

Many Americans feel the same way. The Newtown tragedy will serve as a test of Obama's political courage in the face of the never-ending gun control problem in the U.S. This weekend, even a former police officer in the small Connecticut town declared, "If he doesn't do anything now, he's a coward."*

For a number of commentators, the fact that the victims were children changes everything. Even conservative commentators, as quoted by USA Today, admitted on Monday, "We have reached a critical moment in the debate.”

After the shooting in Aurora, Colo., Obama took over a week to bring up the need for action. On Sunday night, in the Newton High School auditorium, the president promised to use “whatever power this office holds" to put an end to these massacres – without once mentioning the word "guns."

Now is the time for Obama to show that he can act. Reinstating the assault weapons ban would be a good start. But Obama must go further. He must initiate a national dialogue on gun control in Congress and the entire country.

He must do this despite the power of the gun lobby, in particular the National Rifle Association. Polls show that, even in America, opinions are changing, especially among women.

It is now up to the president to take this tragic opportunity to be presidential. This time, words are not enough.

* These quotes, while accurately translated, could not be verified.



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