NYTimes's Helene Cooper: Choose Between 2nd Amendment Rights or 'Kids [Being] Safe' at School

December 19th, 2012 7:09 AM

Sunday's episode of The Chris Matthews Show featured an exchange between host Pete Williams and New York Times White House reporter Helene Cooper on President Obama pushing for stronger gun control legislation the day of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Cooper laid out the issue in emotional terms, suggesting people must choose between the protection of the Second Amendment and the safety of little kids at school. As if even a total repeal could ever guarantee that.

Host Pete Williams: Helene, you cover the President. Did it sound different to you? And do you think that will make a difference?

Helene Cooper: It did sound different to me. And I think this – I think because it's horrible enough when you have, you know, some crazy person going into a movie theater with, you know, Batman and unloading on a bunch of people. It's so different when you have a classroom of 5-year-old kindergartners. That's something that is so incredibly raw. I mean, that's part of the reason why you saw President Obama on Friday, you know, struggling through a statement. There's nobody out there, including people who have children, people who don't have children, who can possibly fathom the horror of, you know, standing up a 5-year-old and saying, "put your hands up," and then shooting one after the other after the other. So I think, I suspect this will cause some sort of renewed – a different kind of national dialogue.

I think for President Obama's own sake, I mean I certainly – I think he does want to do something. I think he is probably angry enough, and I think he's hearing enough of the criticism. I mean, you know, for four years he's done nothing on gun control. He said it's politically too hard. At some point, and you are hearing that already, this demand that he stand up and show some kind of leadership. And if killing, you know, twenty 5- to 10-year-olds doesn't do it for this country, then than means the other conversation we should be having is just simply saying, "You know what? The right for older people to bear arms is more important than the right of little kids to be safe when they go to school."