Morning Must Read – My Lifelong Struggle With Asperger’s Syndrome via Pundit Matt Rozsa. “I'm writing this article because Adam Lanza — the mass murderer who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, — 20 of them children — has been reported to have had Asperger's Syndrome. Let's begin with the most important point: Asperger's was not responsible for what Lanza did in Connecticut. Even if it turns out that Lanza was actually diagnosed with Asperger's — even if it is revealed that his struggles with Asperger's played a role in why he acted as he did — it will still remain true that Asperger's was not responsible for his actions. Asperger's causes obliviousness, not maliciousness. How you process the world around you is a result of your neural wiring and life experiences. Whether you choose to do good or evil is a product of your soul.”
President Obama Speaks at Sandy Hook Interfaith Prayer Vigil in Newtown – Watch the full video here – "We're not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I've been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. ... And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America ... We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can't be an excuse for inaction.
“Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try. In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens -- from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators -- in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
Mayor Bloomberg Assails the NRA – During an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for strict gun control legislation. Bloomberg, who co-chairs Mayors Against Guns, has been one of the country's most outspoken advocates for gun control. "We've got to really question whether military-style weapons with big magazines belong on the streets of America in this day and age. Nobody questions the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. But we don't think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon. And I think the president, through his leadership, could get a bill like that through Congress."
"What's the political cost? The NRA's number one objective this time was to defeat Barack Obama for a second term. Last time I checked the election results, he won and he won comfortably. This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true."
Dianne Feinstein to Introduce Assault Weapons Ban in 2013 – Also speaking on Meet the Press, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein promised to introduce a new assault weapons ban on the first day of the new Congress. Feinstein sponsored the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, and has been working on a new ban since the Aurora movie theater shooting in July. “I can tell you that [Obama] is going to have a bill to lead on because it’s a first-day bill I’m going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill is going to be introduced in the House. A bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the importation, and the possession — not retroactively but perspectively. And it will ban the same of big clips, drums, or strips of big bullets. So there will be a bill. We’ve been working on it now a year.”
This is Obama’s Moment – (via The New Yorker) “Obama[’s] ... speech had words of comfort and tribute … but also of regret. It was the fourth time in his Presidency he had found himself playing the role of a comforter after a mass shooting, … and he was tired of it. After a first term of inaction … Obama still has to do something other than speak. … [T]here are many practical barriers to reform, including the number of guns already around. But in some ways that makes it easier, too: when it comes to gun control, it is not as though the low-hanging fruit has all been picked. Our laws are so lax and even absurd—not only those about gun ownership but about where one can carry and whom one can shoot—that even just dealing with the blatant loopholes and most extreme measures will be a start.”
Top PolicyMic Stories – How the Media Screwed Up the Reporting of This Tragedy (Stephen Robert Morse) – In the quest to report the news first, rather than to report the news best, the media have failed.
Why the Media Should Strip the Name and Photograph of the Newtown Murderer (Lewis Fallis)– News stories about such incidents should refer simply to "the murderer" or "the suspect." To refer to such killers by name is already a form of lionization.
John Kerry Should Not Be the Next Secretary of State: Here Are 4 Other Candidates That Could (O.C. Nwanevu) – Nominating Kerry for Secretary of State would hand the GOP a chance to take back the Massachusetts Senate seat. The President has other options. Here are four.
Electoral College Casts Ballots Today, Reminding Us That Founders Were Wary of Democracy(Lenny DeFranco) – The Electoral College, which will officially re-elect Barack Obama on Monday, remains a uniquely direct engagement that our modern politics has with the Founders.
What We’re Reading – On the Sandy Hook Shooting: Do we have the courage to stop this? (NY Times, Nicholas Kristof); What gun control can and can’t do (The Week); Why aren’t news sites better designed for tragedies? (The Atlantic); Thinking the unthinkable (Anarchist Soccer Mom); Some of the world’s safest countries love guns (Daily Mail); 26 moments that restored our faith in humanity this year (Buzzfeed). Others: Secretaries of safe (Foreign Policy); Thesecular idiot’s guide to Syria’s jihadist groups (Karl reMarks); A simple graph showing the American manufacturing worker is suddenly an incredible bargain (The Atlantic); 15 reasons why growing up is pretty much the worst (Thought Catalog, tip-off Chloe White); Why 2012 was the best year ever (Spectator).