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.

More

A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Kenneth Goldsmith / Twitter

The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

The media played right into it turning Clinton — one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office — appear just as unworthy of the presidency as Trump, a vulgar, politically-inexperienced pathological liar.

The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

Clinton was never criminally charged, however FBI director James Comey said she was "extremely careless."

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens