Obama: There's a 'creeping resignation' about mass shootings like Navy Yard

Lesley Clark

President Barack Obama said Sunday he fears there's a "creeping resignation" that mass shootings like the deadly attack last Monday at the Washington Navy Yard are becoming the "new normal."

Speaking at a memorial service for the 12 victims, Obama noted its the fifth time as president he's sought to console a community.

"It ought to It ought to upset us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation," Obama said of the mass killings, noting that single mass shootings did so in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. "And yet here in the United States after the round-the-clock coverage on cable news, after the heartbreaking interviews with families, after all of the speeches and all of the punditry and all of the commentary, nothing happens."

And, he added, "sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal."

Obama -- who along with First Lady Michelle Obama met privately with family members before the ceremony -- noted his effort to push gun control laws and said "if we can prevent even one tragedy like this...surely we've got an obligation to try."

Yet it was Obama himself who seemed resigned. He said that the politics of gun control are "difficult" and there's a sense they're "frozen." And though he said that he doesn't accept "that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions," that "by now it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington. Change will come the only way it ever has come, and that's from the American people."

"Our tears are not enough," he told the crowd, estimated at 4,000. "If we really want to honor these 12 men and women...then we're going to have to change."

DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who preceded Obama to the lectern, told the crowd: "Our country is drowning in a sea of guns. The time has come for action."

The service was held at the Marine Barracks, the oldest active post in the Marine Corps and less than three blocks from the Navy Yard.

By Lesley Clark
McClatchy Washington Bureau