A Personal Perspective on the NRA’s Fight with Obama

In 2008, just after Barack Obama was elected president, I gave a television interview regarding what the Obamas might expect on becoming the new first family. I was asked specifically how Malia and Sasha’s lives would change. For a start, I said, they won’t play outside anymore without armed guards.

To continue reading this piece, please click here to visit The Washington Post

32 thoughts on “A Personal Perspective on the NRA’s Fight with Obama

  1. “This brilliantly diabolical non sequitur hurts more than the president and his family. It hurts our democracy by twisting the nature of the public debate” Bravo.

    Your article is well written and succinctly stated. I couldn’t agree more. Military style weapons have no place in our society outside the hands of the military.

  2. Susan, how we would all welcome the end of politicians and lobbyists seizing attention like spoiled brats by using provocatively inappropriate symbols like young children of a presidential household.

    Alas, I hold out no hope of it changing.

    In fact, the envelope was pushed some 50 plus years ago when…..guess what (don’t think you would have any personal recollection of this)…U.S. Senator Eastland of Mississippi reacted to President Eisenhower’s assertion of the right to free and equal public education of all races of children (I believe it was early on, perhaps even 1953) by declaring that Ike would not feel this way about racially-integrated public schools if his grandchildren were forced to attend one!

    Your grandfather held his temper but in reading excerpts of his reaction and Hagerty’s – man, was he steamed!

  3. Dear Susan,
    We stopped attending crowd gatherings in fear of getting caught in a shooting due to the negligence of a gun owner. We believe that we are being denied our freedom to assemble peacefully, as per the 1st Amendment, due to the safety hazard that unregulated gun ownership is causing, and we posted a petition along that position at the White House website.
    Thank you for you contribution to the debate.

  4. Thank you so much for your excellent piece on Obama’s children. God bless you! I agree with you wholeheartedly that guns have no place in our schools. For this reason, and as the culmination of four years of reflection on how to respond to gun violence in our city, I am serving as the volunteer coordinator for a Help Increase the Peace (HIP) Workshop over Presidents’ Day Weekend, Feb 16-18, 2013. …From a Quaker in Cincinnati, Ohio, who is proud to have our First Family educated at a Quaker school in DC!

  5. I appreciate that you are willing to bring so much sensitively to the difficult issues on our national front burner. “Have you no sense of decency?” …the words with which you close your piece — just six small words — were spoken by a man who believed deeply in our country’s ability to find it’s way, even in the dark of the night. I hope with all my heart that we are collectively able to find our way again, now, with integrity, and somehow with degrees of grace and acceptance, too.

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful and excellently written piece that appeared in the WaPo today. I wish every American would read it.


    Mayor Victor Varela
    Ronda, NC
    Member, Mayors Against Illegal Guns

  7. It’s good to see that there are some people in this world who understand the importance of choices and the real effect of what armed security will have on our schools… And I’m not commenting on Ms. Eisenhower’s editorial. Kim’s comment yesterday sums up the truth in parenthood, choices, and feelings of so-called “tension” in the educational environment. Children will fear the unarmed bully at lunchtime much more than the potentially friendly, helpful armed guard/SRO who patrols the halls greeting kids as they pass. God forbid there’s actually a positive role model developed in the process in hiring school security. In the case of mass murderers, we shouldn’t adopt the “if one poops his pants, we all wear diapers” approach (NY bill). I’m not willing to label the NRA as “cowardly” just because they put out an ad more tactful than any political mudslinging ad I’ve seen. Kudos to Kim, and anyone who can keep an open mind and realistic approach to gun violence in this country.

  8. Exactly how many children of the president have been shot? I believe the number is zero.

    How many times has someone attempted to shoot the child of a president? I believe that number is also zero.

    How many non-residential children have been shot? Quite a few.

    Although I do not support the idea of armed guards in schools, your argument is deeply flawed.

    One might make an argument that co-locating police sub-stations/community relations offices on school property would be worth thinking about.

  9. Hypocrisy of the elites and ruling class are unbelievable. Background checks?? How about starting with this administration and it’s claim of Transparency??

    I strongly believe the Obama children should should be protected, but so should my grandchildren.

    Take a survey of all the elite ruling class who want to know everything about the common folk but refuse to deal with the truth and their background in a transparent manner.
    Fast and Furious??

    The common folk are told to tighten their belt while we see Governmental waste, fraud, and lavish spending by the politicians telling us to tighten our belts and leave our families unprotected. They are protected to the max by armed guards, and that includes their children. (Not just the Obama’s) I am for all to be protected, for that but how about all the children lost in Chicago with supposedly one of the most stringent gun laws in the country.

    Our president who using executive orders to deal the issue now, voted “present” on a bill in Illinois dealing with school violence after Columbine.

    The hypocrisy and class warfare continue, guess we should just eat cake.

  10. The NRA was quite correct. If the children of elites deserve to be defended then so to do ours! It is certainly more effective than punishing law abiding gun owners , which does nothing to secure our kids. And nothing anybody can say changes the fact. We will not roll over and play dead when it comes to defending our freedom or whats left of it. Attack the message all you want that will not change.

  11. Dear Susan, I simply must comment on your righteous position regarding guns.

    I am a lifelong Democrat. I don’t own guns. I cried when President Obama first got elected. But ever since he lied to the public and signed into law NDAA, ever since he picked up on Bush Jr’s drone wars (with approx 200 dead children to his honor), ever since he prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president, ever since he left Bradley Manning to illegally rot with no trial, ever since he condoned and supported killing the Libyan dictator; I cannot support this movement to curb the 2nd amendment. Before commenting or internally rebuking this letter, lets pause on DHS’s purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of bullets.

    What the heck is going on in our country? Our government is arming itself to the teeth. The police are being trained for civilian troubles. TSA continues to assault us with no due cause. Returning vets are considered to be the new Al Caida. We even use and pay the old Al Caida to “fight” for us abroad. We as a country have been at war, killing somebody somewhere for over 50 years. Non stop. Forever. Always, and with a massive military budget that dwarfs all comprehension. This leads me to Dwight.

    On the anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower’s military industrial complex speech, I find myself defending the NRA, people that support the 2nd amendment in it’s entirety, unmolested, and anyone else who finds shocking the new PC attack on law abiding citizens who feel guns are more than just a way to hunt ducks.

    I am shocked at your vitriol towards the new NRA ad. This ad is accurate and true. President Obama does send his children to a school that has armed guards. Yet you and I, well maybe just I, cannot. This idea that the NRA ad is obnoxious and a filthy use of air time is just so absurd. Is not President Obama high-fiving children the same or worse? Using children to make political speeches? Wow. This is just beyond beyond. Oh, sure the NRA killed those kids in Sandy Hook. LOL. If blame is to be spread beyond the individual who did this (if it was just one), why stop there? Why not go after our violent culture and the war on terror, where we have killed or aided in the death of perhaps over a million people. A million!! That is not small! 26 people, now that is small.

    Our whole country thrives on violence, and this violence is institutionalized with our military industrial complex system that rewards corporate greed and death, while removing the last vestiges of personal dignity from the small citizen, who is daily slapped by the facts of Wall Street bailouts, banker money laundering, Fast and Furious guns killing Mexicans by the 1000s, and those ever-leaving jobs going abroad.

    This letter may be all over the place, but so is this emotionally packed and intellectually mistaken argument that states that a man living in Utah or wherever, who owns a gun that shoots more than nine ducks is somehow responsible for pharmaceutically influenced insanity in a small town in CT. This discussion is too big, too complex, to simply attack the NRA and be done. But if you must attack on such a narrow and emotionally charged path, can I ask you to be absolutely sure you know what really happened in CT and Aurora? What role did/does mental health play? Are we sure how many shooters there were? (For those rolling your eyes right about now, I’ll ask you—why are the news reports so shoddy? is it because an agenda is afoot? Only release certain info? Only say enough to attack guns in this one way?)

    For us to have a serious and factual conversation about guns and their place in such a society as large as ours, lets get the groundwork clear, the footing secure, and the floor clean and agenda free–as much as we can. And lets not just jump on a bandwagon of governmental abuse of power. A People did this, way back in a war that made Dwight famous.

  12. Balderdash, Susan. The NRA has never tried to insinuate that ordinary school children are at the same risk level as the Obama (or any other president’s) children. The comparison is made to refute they who ignorantly bleat that that having armed guards on ordinary school children (as the NRA suggests) will not not add to – indeed will somehow detract from – their safety. The NRA is simply pointing out that for such an absurd suggestion to bear a scintilla of legitimacy then Obama and others would not protect theirs with armed force.

    Let not your endemic political bigotry blind you to grim reality. Right or wrong, good, bad or otherwise, the genie is out of the bottle on guns in America. There are 300M to 400M guns at large in America which means that if guns were somehow unconstitutionally outlawed tomorrow, there would be guns afoot for a century. And this is before we even begin to address the massive criminal black market in guns that would ensue from a ban, ala Prohibition, This black market would, of course, offer no possibility of any ‘registration’, permits, traceability or other accountability.

    Whether you accept it or not, America has changed. The only reliable defense against nuts (and or terrorists) with guns is better armed, better trained guns on your side of the equation. You can face this and save the children, or you can remain obsessed with your perceived political superiority and yet more kids will die unnecessarily.

  13. While I cannot begin to appreciate growing up under that type of security, I could have hoped and prayed for it more than once in my youth. How many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or other family members that have lost a close family member will wish to throw you under the bus and drive over you more than once for those views. I’m sorry you had to be protected; but, I’m more sorry for the families that have lost loved ones because they couldn’t defend their loved ones. I served in the Army, like the men in your family, and I’m not sorry for helping to keep the people of this United States free so individuals like you have the ability to differ with what is right and what is wrong. The Constitution gives me the right to bear arms and whether I do or do not is none of the government’s business. I’m grateful every day, we both have the right to live our lives, differently, and feel protected. I only hope that your desires don’t stop me from trying to protect my loved ones, for then we go to war.

  14. Thanks Susan for shedding some much needed light on the subject of what has become a personal attack on the president and his family. I think many of us are aware of the real reasons behind such attacks, however, voices such as yours need to be heard. I read some of the comments on this piece in the Washington Times and cringed. In future, I’ll only read your work here.

    The idea of having armed guards in schools for the sole purpose of protecting our young so they can learn, exemplifies the real problems we are having in this country and the paranoia of the few that their precious guns will be taken away when that is not the point at all. It makes it very difficult to have a productive conversation with those who refuse to see no one is after their guns, simply regulating and/or reinstitution of laws on the books the NRA has been so successfully lobbying against.

    The American people are getting wise to the NRA and their minions in Congress whose very cause is to nullify any laws on the books while they scream there are plenty already there and their history of banning research into gun violence, which is such an obvious ploy at manipulating the system to their advantage.

    There may be 4-5 million NRA members but there are millions more joining Gabrielle Gifford’s group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, including myself, whom want some sensible solutions to what has been a run away train in the name of the NRA and to have an equal voice in the formulations of our nations gun laws.

  15. Answer: “No, we have no decency. Who needs decency when we have guns?”. The reality blast happened for me when LaPierre proposed to place an armed “good guy” in the schools. My immediate question was who’s “good guy” and with what agenda? Our society as a free people is under serious threat of control. Not by government, religion or business but by “bad guys” posing as protectors selling protection. Fear is the enemy.

  16. S.E. love the blog & insight always! SO HARD to believe such a “fringe group” @NRA maintains SUCH political clout in America today. They “protect” their membership $, BUT they “cherish” their gun manufacturers $$$$! If U need a “musket” to join a “militia” in PA vs. federal tyranny, you’re probably in a safe place as per “2nd amendment” ARGUMENT!! BUT owning AR-15 ($1200 @gun show/NO PAPERWORK REQUIRED)is arguable in 2013!! NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNTIL 1)150 folks killed in NRA convention hall by “upset” member w/numerous AK-47/hi-capacity clip mags, before 2)anyone can access his/her 9mm conceal-carry Sig Sauer!!! When we care far more about “our GUNS”, than “our KIDS”, this rather unique experience/experiment of American DEMOCRACY is OVER & WE as a culture are DONE!!

  17. Adulta/parents make choices. If a parent does not want their children experiencing “…loss of privacy and freedom, along with the unforeseen psychological effects of a childhood shadowed by armed bodyguards…” or to “…sacrafice…” then thee is nothing that forces them to chose to follow a career path that is public. the parents are ultimately making the CHOICE to be parents and a CHOICE to follow a public career. That IS the beauty of America, freedom of CHOICE! With choice comes persona accountability and with parenthood comes accountability to those children and their welfare. The entire point of the NRA is being dodged in this article…the President choce to have children and chose to follow a public career path. He was not forced (“at gunpoint”) to do either, he could have been a carpenter and provided his family, that he had by choice, a lovely existence and live, without the “…loss of privacy and freedom, along with the unforeseen psychological effects of a childhood shadowed by armed bodyguards…” or to “…sacrafice…”. but he CHOSE differently, and therefore he should not be taking our freedoms set forth in the Constitution away from us because a few lose cannons went haywire, as the facts are, most of us that own firearms would never, ever do something like that. Then we can go into other ways people are murdered in the world and make some factual comparisons. Stop the fuzzy wuzzy feelings and base your facts on ALL hard evidence and use that critical thinking your brain was designed to use. Each individual’s PERSONAL CHOICE is to have or not have a family (of course unless one cannot for physical purposes, then there are other options)….but in the end, the American public is NOT responsible for another’s or the President’s choices, his choices for his family, and how HIS family is affected by HIS choices. Nor is the President responsible for my choices, and the choices I make with regard to my family’s welfare…or the career path I chose. That would make him a dictator or our country communist if that was the case. Goes both way folks…critical thinking…now I’ll wait for the attack from all the whiners and the next thing I’ll be called is a racist…wait for it….P.S. I lived, worked and paid taxes for little/no services in a socialist country, so before you attack me, have your hard evidence and facts ready to lay down, as my VISA and documents still do exist…and my experience is factual, as well as my friends and family’s in socialist worlds…

  18. According to Gallup, 87% of Americans think armed guards at schools would be at least somewhat effective at reducing mass-murders at schools. Seemingly, Obama and the Democrats don’t want to talk about the idea specifically because the NRA proposed it.

    Susan- have you gotten an answer from any expert that indicated that the death toll at any of the recent mass-murders would have been reduced if Lanza or Holmes had decided to use the same weapons and attack strategy as VTech’s Cho who ended up killing many more people using only a handgun?

  19. As always Susan…Truth at the core…You experience in this matter is a tell tale to all of those inciting HATE, rage, fear and ignorance to something that really matters in this time of our Country’s History… There has been SO MANY WORST issues of personal liberty destruction that this!
    As alway Susan, thanks for being Who YOU ARE! 🙂

  20. Brilliant, as always, and especially moving, drawing on your unique personal experience. This should reach a much larger audience, e.g., a WSJ Op-Ed and major papers across the country. Maybe get on major TV interview programs, maybe even Fox News?? but more easily Morning Joe and Charlie Rose. No one has a better personal basis nor a more effective presence. I’ll comment on Twitter and FB with a link to your site..

  21. I hope all those reading read Susan’s comments are sending a link to them to all their friends. Isn’t it nice to hear such a reasonable and thoughtful voice on such explosive issues?

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