MSNBC's Harris-Perry Softly Hits Obama from Left on Gun Control

On the October 20 broadcast of the Melissa Harris-Perry show, her ‘Dear, Mr. President’ segment touched upon an issue that is glorified amongst liberals: gun control.  In her segment, Harris-Perry is alluded to the question about assault weapons that was included in last week’s town hall style presidential debate.  Here, the Tulane professor insinuated that the mentally disabled are unjustly criticized, like her transgendered constituency, and tried to say that the problem with gun violence is access – not the mentally ill.

While it’s refreshing to see the Left criticize President Obama, it’s disappointing that it only relates to gun control and involves a tired rehashing of the same shopworn arguments liberals have been using to curb Second Amendment rights.

What's more, her anti-gun diatribe is really watered down when she offered that the president did a “good job” at last week’s debate, cautioning that he should just be mindful not to bring up issues that can split the base.

If Harris-Perry wanted to address valid criticisms of the Obama administration, she could have looked at issues most Americans actually care about this race: the additional $6 trillion to the national debt added on the president's watch or perhaps how African-Americans are suffering skyrocketing unemployment and lack of economic opportunity in the Obama economy.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: What about this moment, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  We're not going to eliminate everybody who is mentally disturbed and we've got to make sure that they don't get weapons.

HARRIS- PERRY: I'm want sure if you meant to imply that the mentally ill are primarily responsible for gun violence, but you said that not once, not twice, but three times during the debate. Mental illness is all too often criminalized and far too often stigmatized in this country, and while some high profile cases of gun violence are traced back to an individual struggling with mental illness, statistically only 3% to 5% of violent acts are attributable to serious mental illness, and most don't involve guns at all. In fact, those with mental illness are four times more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. The shameless violence snatching the lives of young men in Chicago, which you mentioned on Tuesday, is not about so-called crazy shooters. It's about guns being easier to access than economic opportunity. Let's keep our focus on changing that equation. So, once again, good job, great job, but as you warm up for Monday, just remember what you leave out can be just as important as what you get in during the debate. Sincerely – Melissa.

2012 Presidential Debates MSNBC Journalistic Issues Melissa Harris-Perry Barack Obama

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