A person’s actions often speak louder than their words, as does their inaction. Many of us were mystified by President Obama’s five-day delay ordering flags flown at half-mast following the tragic murder of five U.S. service members earlier this summer in Chattanooga, Tenn. In contrast, President Obama has moved quickly to lower them in the wake of yesterday’s horrific mass shooting in Oregon.
As The Hill reports:
President Obama is ordering flags on public buildings and grounds to be flown at half-staff until Tuesday following the deadly mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.
American flags will be lowered at the White House and public buildings and military installations across the country as well as at U.S. embassies and posts abroad.
Obama delivered his proclamation shortly after he finished a press conference at the White House where he discussed the school shooting for the second time in two days.“The politics has to change,” Obama told reporters, saying he would continue talking about gun control measures for the remainder of his term. His presidential proclamation is intended as “a mark of respect for the victims of gun violence perpetrated” Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.
Of course, the question that comes to mind is, why the delay in ordering flags at half-staff to honor our slain servicemen, while such prompt action on this most recent tragedy? Could it be that the president was sensitive to the outrage he endured following Chattanooga — and now moving to be more responsive? That would suggest our current president is one who actually listens to and incorporates feedback, even when it goes against his instincts. Yeah… don’t think so.
No, I think a more likely interpretation of the president’s marked difference in promptness calling for this public honoring of victims is that he’s chosen yesterday’s tragedy as a tool to further his own agenda of increased gun control. Yep, never let a good tragedy go to waste. The Chattanooga shooting, on the other hand, didn’t fit so well — not such a “good” tragedy — as it was wrapped up in our men and women in uniform, not to mention that niggling issue of arming them to protect themselves.
So could this explain why President Obama has now spoken about the Oregon shooting twice in two days since the shooting happened — whereas, immediately after the slaying of U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga, President Obama issued a Ramadan greeting? And why, today, the president promptly ordered flags flown at half-staff — after waiting for five full days before doing so after Chattanooga?
Both the shootings in Oregon and Tennessee are tragic, to be sure. But just one represents a political opportunity for our president. And it shows.