A supercut of Obama's response to mass shootings shows just how routine this has become.

Mass shootings have become routine, and, sadly, so have our responses to them.

"Thoughts and prayers" are offered up, but few solutions follow. In the wake of the attacks that claimed 2,977 lives on 9/11, our political leaders sprung into action, passing the PATRIOT Act, creating the Department of Homeland Security, and entering what now seems to be unending war.

In 2014, there were 12,569 gun deaths in the U.S. alone. Yet we can't seem to come to a consensus on even the smallest of changes to our lax gun laws. And after the San Bernardino, California, shooting, it seems again unlikely that anything will change.


The flag at the White House is lowered to half-staff after the San Bernardino shooting. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Nowhere is this frustration more apparent than in President Obama's changing responses to mass shootings.

Refinery29 put together a supercut of Obama's responses to mass shootings.

The 10 statements included in the video range from April 2009's mass shooting in Binghamton, New York (where 13 people were killed), to last week's attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood (where three people were killed).

President Obama reacts to the October 2015 shooting at a community college in Oregon. GIFs from the White House.

With each address to the nation, the president's emotions have visibly shifted, trending toward helplessness.

His early responses were filled with shock and sadness. Then came a call to action, asking the country to unite as it did during past tragedies.

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. GIF from Refinery29.

And finally, frustration — a sentiment many Americans agree with.

President Obama seems beside himself in responding to the Planned Parenthood shootings. GIF from Refinery29.

His frustration is not for a lack of trying. The president keeps proposing solutions, but Congress isn't acting.

Following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the president put forward a plan to reduce gun violence while keeping Americans' Second Amendment rights intact. The plan was centered on closing background check loopholes, banning "military-style assault weapons," and boosting mental health resources around the country.

In April 2013, the Senate voted down what seemed to be the most common-sense reform: shoring up the "gun show loophole." It failed, despite the fact that 81% of Americans favored universal background checks — and since then, that number has risen to 88%.

Frustration washes over the president in reaction to the Oregon shooting. GIF from Refinery29.

Most recently, the president asked Congress to bar people on the terrorist watch list/no-fly list from purchasing guns.

Surely, that's something they can agree on, right? Preventing those suspected of terrorism from owning guns and committing terrorist acts seems like a slam dunk. But Congress isn't budging, and without their action, there's little President Obama can actually accomplish.

It would be nice if instead of just flatly blocking even the most common-sense gun control measures, members of Congress could put forward a plan more detailed than "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families." Because again...

Action needs to happen. Tell your Congress member that thoughts, prayers, and words are not enough.

But wait, what did the president have to say about the San Bernardino shooting? Not much.

This is partly due to the fact that new information about the shooting, the shooters, and possible motives hasn't come to light just yet. But it also seems like it comes down to a question of how many times one man can give variations on the same speech, making the same pleas. There's not really anything new the president could add, so he kept comments extremely short.

"The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere in the world," President Obama told CBS News' Savannah Guthrie.


"There are steps we can take to make Americans safer. We should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make [mass shootings] rare as opposed to normal," he added.

You can watch Refinery29's supercut below.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Of course, there's a healthy way to approach such a potentially dangerous topic.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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