President Barack Obama urged gun control legislation early Thursday afternoon from the White House in his heartfelt remarks concerning the murder of nine churchgoers at the historic, predominantly black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. by suspected gunman Dylann Roof.
“Let’s be clear: At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Obama said, with Vice President Joe Biden standing dourly by his side.
“It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” Obama then said, after a slight a pause.
Obama then used the attack in the church — a gun-free zone — to call on Americans to call for stricter gun control.
“And it is in our power to do something about it,” the president said. “At some point it is going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”
Also, as Mother Jones notes, Obama had previously cited his inability to enact strict gun-control laws as the “biggest frustration” of his two-term presidency. (RELATED: Remember When Obama Was The Messiah?)
Obama’s contention that “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries” stands in stark contrast to the actual, recent history of other advanced countries — which explains, perhaps, why he felt compelled to pause and then add the mitigating words “with this kind of frequency.”
A truly cursory search shows that since 2010, Obama’s second year in office, mass killings have occurred in at least 10 civilized nations just in Western and Central Europe. These incidents have resulted in the deaths of about 160 people. Scores more were seriously injured.
The most notorious of these European mass murders occurred in Norway in 2011. Anders Breivik, a self-proclaimed anti-Muslim militant, set off a van bomb targeting government buildings in Oslo, then went to a nearby summer camp and shot 69 children to death.
In January of this year, in France, a series of terrorist attacks collectively called the Île-de-France attacks caused the deaths of 14 people. Among the victims were several employees of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
In February 2015, a 63-year-old gunman, Zdeněk Kovář, killed nine people at a restaurant in small town in the southeastern corner of the Czech Republic. Police described the man as mentally ill.
The same month, gunmen opened fire in a Copenhagen, Denmark café, killing one person. Like the incidents in France, the Copenhagen event was related to artists attempting to render images of Muhammad, Islam’s prophet.
In 2013, 59-year-old Ljubiša Bogdanović killed 13 people and tried to kill his wife during a shooting spree in a tiny town in Serbia. Most of the victims were the killer’s family members. He killed them as they were sleeping. One victim was a two-year-old child. Locals described Bogdanović, a war veteran, as quiet.
Also in 2013, Muslim radicals Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, hacked British soldier Lee Rigby to death with meat cleavers while unarmed bystanders looked on. (RELATED: Why Did British Bystanders Watch A Soldier Get Hacked To Death?)
In 2012, Matthew Tvrdon, a resident of Cardiff, Wales, killed a mother of three children and injured 17 more people with his van over the course of 30 frenetic minutes involving hit-and-run incidents. Tvrdon had beem diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic prior to the murder-and-injury spree.
Also in 2012, three attacks occurred in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse in France which resulted in the deaths of seven people and serious injuries for four others. Three children, all of them Jewish, were among the dead. The gunman was Mohammed Merah, 23, a Frenchman of Algerian descent. Police believe his motive was anti-Semitism.
In 2011, a man named Nordine Amrani armed with grenades and a rifle killed six people and injured dozens more on the main square in Liege, Belgium. He had also killed a woman earlier in the day. Amrani, then 33, had a long criminal history. His motive remains murky.
Also in 2011, a 24-year-old man named Tristan van der Vlis killed six people and injured 17 more in a mass shooting at a mall about 20 miles outside of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. He drove up to the mall in his black Mercedes-Benz. The shooter had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
In 2010, Derrick Bird, a 52-year-old taxi driver killed a dozen people and injured 11 more at several locations across the English county of Cumbria. Some of Bird’s murders were targeted. Others appeared to have been random. Bird’s motives are unclear. Speculation includes anger of getting fired for theft from a job way back in 1990 and, more recently, the fact that he sent about $1,500 to a girl he met in Thailand who later broke up with him via text.
Also in 2010, Ľubomír Harman, a man in his late forties, killed seven people and injured at least 17 more in a mass killing in a suburb of Bratislava, Slovakia. Harman knew none of his victims, police determined. His motive remains unclear. Police say it may have involved disputes he had with neighbors.
The same year, in a small town in the southwestern corner of Germany, a 41-year-old woman named Sabine Radmacher shot (and stabbed) three people to death. The victims were her son, her son’s father and a nurse. The incident occurred at a hospital in Lörrach (pop.: 48,160). Radmacher may have been involved in an explosion earlier in the day as well, which caused the deaths of two people. Police blamed this mass killing on disputes with neighbors, too.
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