US President Barack Obama on Thursday expressed anger over the “senseless” shooting in a black church in South Carolina and said Americans had to confront the fact that frequent incidents of gun violence do not occur in other advanced countries.
Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, knew Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the historic African-American church in Charleston, who was killed along with eight others on Wednesday night.
“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 told reporters in a somber statement at the White House.
Later, he told donors at a Democratic Party fund-raiser at home of African-American actor Tyler Perry that the shootings were “a reminder that we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“If you’re dissatisfied that every few months we have a mass shooting in this country killing innocent people, then I need you to mobilize,” Obama said, urging people to elect candidates who push for change.
Obama has had to play the role of US consoler-in-chief after shootings repeatedly throughout his presidency.
Following the 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the president launched an aggressive gun control push, but his efforts largely failed in the US Congress.
The US constitution protects Americans’ rights to own a gun, but disagreements over the breadth of those rights often fall along political lines.
“It is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now,” Obama told reporters.
The president is unlikely to launch another push for gun control legislation with only one-and-a-half years left in office and the next presidential campaign already in full swing.
At the fund-raiser, in a gated neighborhood high above Los Angeles off winding Mulholland Drive, about 250 people paid between US$2,500 and US$33,400 to the Democratic National Committee to hear Obama speak.
His speech — the second of four planned events during a trip to California this week — was edged with frustration about issues on which he had been thwarted by congressional politics.
Obama said he would spend time during his final 18 months in office urging people to work harder in their own communities on issues such as gun control, climate change and racial polarization.
“It’s nice to have dialogues around race, but me making a good speech — and I’ve made some good speeches on the subject — that’s not going to solve the problem,” Obama said.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday