President Obama implored the media to pay more attention to mass shootings Friday, saying “the real tragedy is the degree to which this has become routine.”
Obama’s remarks at a Florida battery factory were his first public remarks since a a shooter opened fire in a lawn mower parts factory in Hesston, Kansas Thursday, killing three people and leaving 14 wounded.
“I hope all of you pay attention to this. I hope the media pays attention to this. Once a week we have these shootings, and it doesn’t dominate the news. And that’s got to change,” Obama said Friday at an event in Jacksonville, Fla. intended to highlight the success of his 2009 economic stimulus plan.
“As long as I hold this office I’m going to keep on bringing this up, even if it’s not getting the attention that it should. And I wish I didn’t have to keep on talking about it. Lord knows I wish I didn’t have to make these phone calls and comfort families,” he said.
Earlier, Obama called Hesston Mayor David Kauffman while flying to Florida from Air Force One. The White House said the president offered his condolences for the victims and his gratitude to the off-duty police officer was first on the scene and acted quickly to save lives.
The Hesston shooting, Obama noted, follows the Kalamazoo, Mich. rampage last week that left six people dead.
“These acts may not dominate the news today but these are two more communities in America that are torn apart by grief. And I thought it was important for me to say something today because somehow, as I’ve said before, this becomes routine,” Obama said. “We cannot become numb to this.”
It’s not the first time Obama has challenged the news media to pay more attention to gun violence. After a shooting at an Oregon community college last October, he asked news organizations to “tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports.”
He also said he would speak out on every mass shooting and pledged to “politicize” the issue until Congress passed gun control legislation.
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