Barack Obama

Over at the National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke says that President Obama was giving a pretty good speech at the memorial for fallen Dallas, Texas cops when he made a critical error. The president made the mistake of introducing divisive rhetoric into a solemn occasion when he asserted that it’s sometimes easier for kids to get access to a Glock than a computer or a book.

Twenty minutes ago, almost everyone I know thought that the president was doing a good job with his address. Now, at least half of them are irritated and upset. On Twitter, a debate over books and Glocks has broken out. People are shouting at one another. Where there was harmony, now there is discord. This, remember, was a funeral — a funeral for one of the police officers who was murdered last Thursday. It wasn’t a rally. It wasn’t a White House press conference. It wasn’t a public statement, hastily arranged on the airport tarmac. It was a funeral. Presumably, those attending had all sorts of political opinions. Presumably, some of the cops were Republicans. Presumably, there was some serious disagreement in that room as to how the country should move forward. Wouldn’t it have been better to wait until the proceedings were over to call for change? Wouldn’t it have been more politically effective for the president to have made his push somewhere else?

This is just another example of aggressively missing the point. I don’t know how easy it is for a twelve year old living in the North Philly ghetto to get access to a MacBook Pro, but it’s not an impossible task to find a firearm. But, who really cares about the absolute literal accuracy of the president’s comments?

The Dallas shooter once bought an AK-47 for $600 from someone he met on Facebook. The sale took place in a Target parking lot. The seller is hoping that it’s not the weapon he used to kill and wound police officers, but that’s his personal business. The rest of us just know that you can go on Facebook and find a semiautomatic rifle in a few minutes, and there’s no regulation of these kinds of sales.

We’re all supposedly endowed by our creator with the inalienable right to buy or sell highly lethal firearms, and then the police have to deal with the consequences.

And even this wasn’t the whole point that the president was trying to make. He wasn’t just talking about the easy availability of guns. He was also talking about the lack of positive resources that we provide for our most vulnerable kids.

To get back to Mr. Cooke’s objection, I have to ask what he’s really objecting to. Is he really quibbling that it’s a bit harder to buy a Glock than check out a book at the library?

Meanwhile, the notoriously racist National Review is churning out one post after another after another after another that dismisses the validity of Black Lives Matters’ complaints and accuses them of racial divisiveness and radicalism.

Given their sordid history and sorry record on race, you’d think they’d be at least a little more reticent about demonizing the most prominent and active black civil rights movement we have in this country right now. But that’s not how they roll.

In context, it’s hard to accept that Charles C.W. Cooke was willing to listen to anything the president had to say in Dallas with an open mind.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at