Wednesday January 13, 2016
The White House kept one seat vacant in the gallery during Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday “for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.” This was part of Obama’s campaign for new federal restrictions on firearms ownership.
But shouldn’t there have also been chairs left empty to memorialize other casualties – including those “who no longer have a voice” thanks to Obama administration policies?
While trumpeting the private death toll from guns, Obama ignored the 986 people killed by police in the United States last year according to The Washington Post‘s database. Many police departments are aggressive — if not reckless — in part because the Justice Department always provides cover for them at the Supreme Court. Obama’s “Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way” to a Supreme Court hearing, The New York Times noted last year. Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently said that federally-funded police agencies should not even be required to report the number of civilians they kill.
To add a Euro flair to the evening, Obama could drape tri-color flags on a few empty seats to commemorate the 42 medical staff, patients, and others slain at a last Oct. 3 when an American AC-130 gunship blasted a French Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The US military revised its story several times but admitted in November that the carnage was the result of “avoidable … human error.” Regrettably, that bureaucratic phrase lacks the power to resurrect victims.